Tongue and Lip Tie

Toungue-tie-kidAt Must Love Kids®, the best pediatric dentist Vancouver, WA has to offer, our goal is to give every child the best start at a lifetime of happy smiles and outstanding oral health. Correcting tongue tie (and lip tie) especially in newborns, could be one important step towards your child’s healthy future.

What is tongue tie?

Yes, feeling “tongue-tied” means you don’t know what to say. But medically speaking, ankyloglossia (commonly known as “tongue-tie”) is a condition in which the frenulum– a cord of tissue beneath the tongue– is abnormally bound to the floor of the mouth in a way that restricts movement.

Tongue/Lip tie is often first seen when a baby is born, and may impact a newborn’s ability to breastfeed, leading to slower weight gain and even failure to thrive. It can also impact the newborn’s nursing mother, who experiences a higher rate of nipple soreness and possible infection from an improper latch or other difficulty in the nursing partnership (dyad).

Lip tie

In addition to tongue tie, another similar condition can occur when the lip frenulum of a child is abnormally attached to the mouth. This has an equal chance of affecting breastfeeding for the newborn and should be corrected if it is. The procedure for correction is the same.

Tongue/Lip tie can also be seen in older children whose frenulums fail to recede properly with development; it can impact speech, cause orthodontic problems and difficulty eating at critical times in a child’s development. It can also contribute to dental caries on the front top teeth.

How do Drs. Gagneja help kids with tongue tie?

Tongue/Lip tie is not uncommon, and the procedure to fix it is straightforward. At Must Love Kids®, we use specially formulated topical anesthesia and a soft tissue laser to correct the tongue or lip tie by dividing the abnormal frenulum to create normal movement for the tongue or lip. All said and done, the procedure is less than 5 minutes in length and most newborns are ready to nurse immediately afterward. Parents are given special instructions for follow-up care and exercising the lip and tongue to avoid re-attachment and strengthen the oral musculature.

Medical professionals work together to help children with tongue/lip tie. At Must Love Kids® we often work with lactation specialists, who can recommend newborns who may be struggling due to a tongue/lip tie in their effort to nurse. Because this is such an easily correctable problem, and the benefits are so big for children who need and receive it, Must Love Kids® and other members of the medical community are passionate about making this procedure available to all who need it.

What should I do if I think my child has tongue/lip tie?

If you believe that your child’s speech, eating, or breastfeeding is impacted by possible tongue tie, Must Love Kids® wants to help. Often, the condition of tongue tie will be identified in the hospital where your child is born or by your lactation consultant. At Must Love Kids® our Drs. Gagneja examine each patient prior to any intervention; sometimes, even if your child has tongue tie but the condition is not causing any problems, the doctors may recommend to wait. Conservative treatment is sometimes the best because there is a chance the symptom may be transitionary and can correct itself.

Photo Credit: Rohit Rath via Compfight cc

 

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