What Can I Do About My Child’s Tongue-tie or Lip-tie?

How to deal with your child's tongue-tie

Help is on hand to quickly resolve the issue.

Research shows that as many as 11% of babies are born with a condition called ankyloglossia. If you’ve never heard of ankyloglossia, don’t be surprised as you are not alone. However, you have probably heard of babies being born with a tongue-tie or lip-tie. When a baby is young, it can make it difficult for them to open their mouth wide enough to breastfeed. And as they get older, a tongue-tie can make it challenging for children to intake food and liquid, and it can also be challenging for speech development.

What exactly is a tongue-tie or a lip-tie?

Medically speaking, a tongue-tie exists when the frenulum is abnormally bound to the bottom of the mouth so that movement is restricted. The frenulum is that small cord of tissue beneath the tongue that you can see when you open your mouth and lift your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

As we mentioned, a tongue-tie can make it difficult for a new baby to latch on and adequately breastfeed. Though breastfeeding is not impossible, it can often lead to slow weight gain or a failure to thrive in the infant. It can also be an uncomfortable situation for mothers of babies with a tongue-tie, as it can cause additional nipple soreness.

Another condition that can impact speech development and healthy feeding is a lip-tie. In this case, the lip frenulum is abnormally attached to the mouth. A severe lip-tie can impede baby teeth from coming in properly, leading to dental misalignment issues down the road.

Signs That Your Child May Have a Tongue- or Lip-tie

Parents of young children are often on the lookout for potential medical or dental concerns. Thankfully, however, if signs of a tongue-tie or lip-tie are noticed in your child, rest assured that the condition can be remedied quite simply.

The severity of tongue-tie symptoms can vary greatly. In many cases, it will not interfere with daily life. However, with infants, tongue-tie can cause the following symptoms.

  • Difficulty latching when nursing
  • Breastfeeding for longer than normal periods because the baby is unable to get enough to eat
  • Constant hunger
  • Challenges with weight gain
  • An odd clicking sound while the baby is nursing, which can indicate a poor latch

In slightly older children between the ages of 1 and 3, the symptoms of a tongue-tie may look as follows:

  • Difficulty with speech
  • Challenges with swallowing
  • Difficulty with or inability to move the tongue toward the roof of the mouth or side to side
  • Inability to lick ice cream

In some cases, your child may have a tongue-tie or lip-tie that has gone unnoticed. At your child’s first dental appointment, we will be on the lookout for this condition as well as any other conditions that may require treatment. Pediatric dentists are an excellent resource to help with your child’s ankyloglossia as we receive special training to help make your child as comfortable as possible during the procedure. At Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry, we love working with kids, and it is our goal to ensure that they experience a lifetime of good oral health.

Your dentist can help your child’s tongue-tie or lip-tie with a frenectomy procedure.

If your child is suffering from a tongue-tie or lip-tie, there is no need for worry. The procedure to fix these conditions is quite straightforward. Your pediatric dentist, such as the doctors at Must Love Kids, use special topical anesthesia and a soft tissue laser to correct the issue. The procedure takes less than five minutes in length. The best news, especially for a newborn’s parents, is that the baby is ready to breastfeed right after the procedure.

Medical professionals, including your child’s pediatrician and pediatric dentist, work together to help children suffering from tongue-tie or lip-tie. As this condition is easily correctable and the benefits are so significant, the Must Love Kids team is passionate about making the tongue-tie and lip-tie procedure widely available for those in the Vancouver, WA area.

Contact Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry if your child has a tongue-tie or lip-tie.

If your child demonstrates any of the signs or symptoms listed above, there is no reason to wait for treatment. With such a simple solution that takes five minutes or less, we can quickly remedy the condition if it wasn’t addressed at the hospital when your child was born. For more information about tongue-ties and lip-ties, talk to us at your child’s next visit. Or, you can request an appointment on our website.

We look forward to helping you and your child.