Did you know that about 1 in 10 newborns are affected by tongue and lip-ties? These common conditions are often asked about among moms of newborns. Tongue-ties and lip-ties are sometimes missed at birth. And though they can often be easily treated, perhaps the biggest hurdles are knowing what they are and what do to about them. So I did some reading and asked Dr. Bob!
What Are Tongue-Ties and Lip-Ties?
You know that little ridge of tissue under the tongue, and between the lips and gums? That’s called a frenulum. It basically anchors the tongue inside of the mouth or the lips to the gums. A tongue-tie or lip-tie is when the frenulum is too short. This can restrict the movement of the tongue and lips, interfere with normal swallowing, and may later cause issues with a child’s ability to articulate and pronounce words. Tongue and lip-ties are usually diagnosed in newborns just a few days after they’re born, but the symptoms may not be what you’d expect.
What to Look For
Some symptoms of tongue-ties and/or lip-ties infants may include:
- A shallow latch on the breast or an inability to form an adequate seal on a bottle
- Difficulty gaining weight or weight loss
- Clicking or gulping sounds while the baby is nursing
- Baby gums or chews nipples and leaks milk due to inability to latch properly
- Frequent releases from the breast or bottle
- Nursing ulcer(s) on the lip(s)
- Long feeding sessions with the baby falling asleep mid-feed
- Colic, gas, and/or reflux
If any of these symptoms describe your experience with your child, it’s definitely worth scheduling a visit with Dr. Bob Pediatric Dentist to find out for sure. Left untreated, tongue and lip-ties can lead to difficulties with speech and cavities. His practice is geared specifically toward infants and children and his team is committed to providing the highest level of personalized care. They’ll be happy to schedule a consultation and walk with you every step of the way!
Tongue & Lip-Ties in Older Children
Lip and tongue-ties, though common, can be challenging to diagnose in infancy. Pediatricians, lactation consultants, and speech pathologists can miss them. And because lip and tongue-ties are not included in general pediatric dental education, pediatric dentists may miss them as well. As a result, older children with untreated tongue or lip ties may develop speech difficulties that may not improve over time. Dr. Bob has received extensive training and is highly qualified to diagnose and treat these conditions in children of all ages, including newborns. In fact, he checks for them at every exam so that they can be resolved as quickly as possible. It’s just one of the many things that set him and his unique boutique practice apart.
If multiple symptoms are present and a tongue and/or lip-tie is diagnosed, a frenectomy may be performed. A frenectomy is the removal of the frenulum. Some infants with shortened frenula are able to nurse and develop just fine. But for some, a frenectomy may be a major component of their individualized treatment plan. One of the specialized services Dr. Bob Pediatric Dentist is able to provide is laser frenectomies. The WaterLase iPlus Laser makes frenectomies easy for children because it is virtually pain-free and completed in only 2 minutes or less! Other benefits of the WaterLase iPlus Laser include:
- No need for anesthesia or sutures
- A significantly decreased risk of infection
- Very little bleeding
- A shorter healing/recovery time
The total expected healing time typically takes only 2 weeks in combination with the completion of prescribed stretches and at-home exercises. Following the procedure, infants and children may still benefit from the help of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) or a speech pathologist.
Let Dr. Bob be Part of Your Team!
Don’t just read this post and try to go it alone. If you are concerned that your child may have a tongue-tie or lip-tie, call Dr. Bob and his team today! Dr. Bob would be glad to examine your child and provide your family with the exceptional care your child deserves.