Tongue tie and lip tie are prevalent, often interrelated conditions that affect a baby’s ability to breastfeed and thrive physically. In most cases, they also cause pain and impact milk production for the nursing mother. While these diagnoses are easily treatable, it’s important to consult your dentist if you feel your child may have them. Alaska Dentistry for Kids treats tongue and lip tie and explains how to spot and care for these common conditions in their FAQ below.
Tongue Tie & Lip Tie FAQ
What Is Tongue & Lip Tie?
Known to children’s dentists by its medical name, ankyloglossia, tongue tie is a condition in which your baby’s frenulum is too tight. This causes difficulties in mouth movement, which cause problems with breastfeeding and potential dental, digestive, and sleep complications. Lip tie is related to tongue tie and occurs when an infant’s upper lip is secured to his or her upper gum.
How Are Lip & Tongue Tie Diagnosed?
In many cases, lip and tongue tie are diagnosed when your baby is born. However, if you think they are experiencing the effects of these conditions at home, including difficulty latching, a clicking noise while sucking, poor weight gain, and excessive drooling, your child’s dental care team can help. Other signs include plugged ducts, discomfort while nursing, and compromised milk supply on behalf of the mother.
In any case, your pediatric dentist can diagnose lip and tongue tie in just minutes at their office. He or she will look for a too tight piece of skin between the underside of their tongue and the floor of their mouth, which is easily visible to a physician.
How Are These Conditions Treated?
Tongue and lip tie are treated according to their severity and discussion between parent and dentist. While some OB-GYNs may recommend a procedure in the hospital before your baby goes home, other physicians prefer a wait-and-see approach in conjunction with the child’s dentist.
If intervention is necessary, a frenotomy can be done to snip the frenulum free. Since there are only a few nerve endings and blood vessels in the frenulum, procedure time and discomfort are minimal. If the frenulum is unusually thick, a more involved frenuloplasty may be recommended to release the skin under general anesthesia.
What Do I Do If I Think My Baby Has Them?
If you think your baby may have tongue or lip tie, call your pediatric dentist. They can examine your child and consult you on the course of action that may be right for you.
For help with tongue tie or lip tie, call Alaska Dentistry for Kids in Anchorage, AK, at (907) 274-2525. To learn more about their kids’ dental care services and tongue tie laser, visit their website.