Downtown Eagle River, Alaska
12641 Old Glenn Hwy Suite 203
Eagle River, AK 99577
(907) 622-5437

Tongue-Tie and Lip-Tie: What Are They And What Can Be Done? January 25, 2017

Downtown Eagle River, Anchorage
Tongue-Tie and Lip-Tie: What Are They And What Can Be Done?, Anchorage, Alaska

Have you been told that your newborn has a lip or tongue tie by a lactation consultant or pediatrician? We can help!

Please know that the diagnosis of a tongue or lip tie is a relatively common condition and a child can be diagnosed at any age. Some people learn to function with their tie(s) whereas others need revision in order to perform required movements for breastfeeding and speaking.

The strong cord of tissue that is centered at the upper lip or under the tongue is called a ‘frenulum’ or ‘frenum’. It is visible if you lift the upper lip or tongue.  As we grow, the tissue usually recedes and thins. However, in some children, the frenum can be short or tight causing a restriction with the mobility of the tongue or lip. Lip ties have been related to cavities on the upper front teeth, permanent gap between the two front adult teeth, low smile line of the top lip, and breastfeeding problems as an infant. Tongue ties are related to speech difficulties, poor oral hygiene, food texture issues, and breastfeeding. Not all ties need to be revised.

For Infants:

If the frenum is too short or too tight, infants may have trouble with breastfeeding leading to poor weight gain. Limited movement of the lip and/or tongue may prevent your infant from properly latching on and drawing milk from the breast. When a baby cannot get a good seal on the nipple, they may swallow air which can cause excess gas and stomach bloating.  Nursing mothers sometimes experience pain.  For mom, the frustration of unsuccessful breastfeeding can be emotional and exhausting.

For Children Ages 3 and Older:

If left untreated, they can eventually impair the child’s speech, affect tooth alignment, and may cause cavities due to inability to clean the gumline. Speech problems and the inability to articulate letters or sounds often becomes noticeable around the age of three.  Although there is no way of determining if your child will have speech problems, the following characteristics are common with lip or tongue tie patients:

-‘V’ shaped notch at the tip of the tongue

-Inability to stick out the tongue past the upper gums

-Inability to touch roof of mouth

-Difficulty moving tongue side to side

-Significant spacing or gap between upper or lower front teeth

Procedures

We utilize a laser for correcting ties. The laser can be safely used on all ages including newborns. The laser procedure gently removes the frenum tissue. It is fast, with virtually no bleeding and much less discomfort than previous methods. Your child is less likely to have tissue reattachment or scar tissue.

Typically parents bring their child in for an initial consultation after being referred by a lactation consultant, midwife, chiropractor, pediatrician, friend, etc. If you are having problems with breast/bottle feeding, or your infant is having problems with weight gain, we are here to help!

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