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Where Smiles Grow - At Capital District Pediatric Dentistry

Specializing in dentistry for infants, children & adolescents.

Tongue and Lip Tie Care Services for Your Infant

lip-tie

If you’re a new parent, it can be hard to see your child have difficulty breastfeeding, eating, or gaining weight due to their tongue or lip tie. That’s where we come in. At Where Smiles Grow, our pediatric dentists are ready to help you learn more about what you can do to see if your child should be evaluated for this condition.

In this article, let’s talk more about what a lip or tongue tie is, how to catch the symptoms, and when your child may need to come into Where Smiles Grow to have them corrected.

What is a tongue and lip tie?

A lip tie is caused when the membranes in the piece of tissue behind your upper lip, frenulum, becomes too thick or stiff. This keeps the upper lip from moving freely and causes the lip tie.

On the other hand, a tongue tie is a present caused at birth that restricts the tongue’s natural range of motion. Here, a tongue tie results when an unusually short, thick, or tight band of tissue, lingual frenulum, tethers the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth in a way that prevents it from functioning properly.

While lip ties are less common than tongue ties, both are considered genetic and tend to impact more male infants than female. Sometimes, a child may have both a lip and tongue tie. All people have a lingual and labial frenum but only some cause restriction of movement.

How does a tongue and lip tie affect my infant?

Both conditions can impact an infant’s ability to breastfeed or eat. However, this doesn’t mean that a lip or tongue tie is always dangerous for your baby. As long as your child is gaining weight and successfully nursing without discomfort to them or the mother, according to their pediatrician’s guidelines, they’re doing just fine.

A severe tongue or lip tie on the other hand may cause your child to have trouble gaining weight, and later on, when they do start to eat, they may have trouble eating from a spoon or fingers. In some cases, an untreated tongue or lip tie may lead to airway development concerns, sleep apnea and even behavioral disorders.

There’s no need to worry! A tongue or lip tie once diagnosed by your pediatrician, pediatric dentist, or lactation consultant is able to be corrected and can minimize or even remove the potential effects later in life.

What are the signs my child may have lip tie?

One of the best ways to determine if your child has a lip tie is by seeing a pediatrician or pediatric dentist. In some cases, a lactation consultant may refer you to a pediatric dentist.

Some of the biggest warning signs you can look out for revolving around difficulty breastfeeding. Here, are a few of the symptoms Healthline suggests you should look out:

• Struggling to latch on to the breast
• Difficulty breathing during feeding
• Making a clicking sound while nursing
• Falling asleep often during nursing
• Acting extremely fatigued by nursing
• Slow weight gain or lack of weight gain
• Colic

These will be your best indicators that your baby is having difficulty breastfeeding. If you’re the mother, you may also experience:

• Pain during or after breastfeeding
• Breasts that feel engorged even right after nursing
• Blocked milk ducts or mastitis
• Fatigue from breastfeeding constantly even though your child never seems to be full

It’s best if you think you or your baby are exhibiting these symptoms to go see your pediatrician or pediatric dentist, who will help you determine your best next steps.

What are the signs my child may have tongue tie?

Like we mentioned earlier, seeing a pediatrician is the best way to know for sure if your child has tongue tie. Here, are a few signs and symptoms The Mayo Clinic says to look out for:

• Difficulty lifting the tongue to the upper teeth/jaw or moving the tongue from side to side
• Trouble sticking out the tongue past the lower front teeth
• A tongue that appears notched or heart-shaped when stuck out

If your child has these symptoms, go make an appointment with your pediatrician or pediatric dentist to find out what if any steps should be taken. If you go to a pediatrician, know that most of the time they’ll refer you to a pediatric dentist for treatment, like Where Smiles Grow.

When does your child need to see a pediatric dentist?

Reversing a Lip Tie

If your child has been diagnosed with a lip or tongue tie, your pediatrician may refer your infant to go see a pediatric dentist. At the pediatric dentist, your child will be examined and if indicated, a frenectomy will be performed.

Reversing a Tongue Tie

Like a lip tie, this procedure is minimally invasive, and it only takes a few minutes. In our office, we use a state of the art laser therapy technique that is much different than a snip or clip with scissors, or a scalpel. We gently remove the restrictive tissue using absolute precision, giving your child the best chance at an improved ability to live their lives and expediting the healing process, so they can get back to eating and sleeping.

What is a frenectomy

A frenectomy is a short surgical procedure that is minimally invasive and only takes a few minutes. After the procedure is complete, you and your child will be encouraged to nurse if you are comfortable. Your pediatric dentist will provide post-op instructions, such as pain relief measures and/or post-procedure exercises. The healing time for your infant is generally 24-48 hours.

Where Smiles Grow can help improve your child’s lip or tongue tie: Contact Us!

Your child’s dental and overall health is the heart of our practice. That’s why we use the latest most minimally-invasive techniques to help improve your child’s lip tie and/or tongue tie symptoms.

If you suspect you child has a lip or tongue tie or your child’s pediatrician/lactation consultant has referred them to a pediatric dentist, contact us! We’re more than happy to talk with you about the best options to improve for your child’s symptoms.

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