child with liptie hugs mother

What is a Tongue-Tie or Lip-Tie?

An ankyloglossia, also called a “tongue-tie” or “lip-tie,” is a common condition that effects nearly 1 in 10 newborns. The condition restricts tongue movement, and can impede a newborn from adequately nursing. If left untreated, a tongue-tie and lip-tie can lead to other disease, and can affect how facial muscles develop. Luckily, most many pediatric dentists can quickly treat tongue-ties and lip-ties in young children. 

A Common Condition

A tongue-tie and lip-tie is a common condition that is sometimes overlooked at birth, which can cause more serious issues down the road. Essentially, a tongue-tie and lip-tie is when a child’s frenulum is too short, which can restrict movement of the tongue and lips, and can interfere with normal swallowing. The frenulum is the small fibrous attachment that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth, and the lips to the gums.

Symptoms of Tongue-tie and Lip-tie

Most of the time, a child’s tongue-tie and lip-tie is diagnosed a few days after birth. The largest indicator is that they have difficulty latching when nursing, or if the mother experiences painful nursing sessions. However, some signs aren’t as obvious. 

An infant with tongue-tie and lip-tie may display the following symptoms: 

  • Shallow latch 
  • Poor weight gain or weight loss 
  • Clicking or gulping sounds while nursing 
  • Gumming, chewing nipples, leaks milk due to inability to form latch 
  • Frequently releases 
  • Infant has nursing ulcer on lip 
  • Long nursing sessions, falls asleep mid feed 
  • Colic/Gas/Reflux 

If your child exhibits any of the symptoms above, then your child may have a tongue-tie. A child with a tongue-tie and lip-tie could develop potential speech and dental problems, including cavities, but a qualified pediatric dentist can easily treat a child with a tongue-tie and lip-tie.  

What’s a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy is the most common treatment for a child diagnosed with a tongue-tie and lip-tie, and it is simply the removal of the frenulum so that the tongue and lips can function normally. The procedure typically takes less than a minute, and can be done in a variety of ways.

Who Needs a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy should only be performed if multiple symptoms are present. There are multiple patients that have shortened frenula, but are able to nurse fine and develop without issue. However, we advise consulting with a pediatric dentist to properly diagnose a tongue-tie and lip-tie, and provide a treatment plan from there. 

It’s important to note that not only infants can undergo frenectomies, and that a lot of children may benefit from a frenectomy. 

Does Your Family have a Pediatric Dentist?

Tongue-tie and lip-tie can be remedied by a trained pediatric dentist. The procedures are usually painless, and take less than 30 minutes. 

Click here to find a pediatric dentist in your neighborhood. A pediatric dentist is trained to care for young teeth, and can properly diagnose and many are trained to treat a child with a tongue-tie.

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