What is a tongue-tie or lip-tie?
Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition present at birth that restricts the tongue’s range of motion. Lip-tie (lip frenulum) is when the tissue attaching your lip and gums is too tight, causing movement problems.
Before we are born, a strong cord of tissue that guides the development of mouth structures, called a frenum, is positioned in the center of the mouth. There is also one located under the upper lip. As we develop in the womb, these frena are supposed to recede and thin. The lingual (tongue) and labial (lip) frena are visible and easily felt if you look in the mirror under your tongue and lip. Everyone has these, but in some people, one or both can be incredibly tight or fail to recede, which may cause problems with tongue/lip mobility.
Tongue-tie can interfere with breastfeeding and affect the way a child eats, speaks, and swallows. If left untreated, problems can also continue into adulthood, such as neck and shoulder pain, migraines, and speech problems.
Does my child have a lip or tongue-tie?
Symptoms of tongue- or lip-tie in a baby may include difficulty nursing, difficulty taking a bottle, reflux or colic, and failure to gain weight appropriately. In older children, speech issues can be a tongue- or lip-tie symptom.
If you suspect your child may have a tongue- or lip-tie, Dr. Blake and Dr. Ryan would be happy to speak with you and answer your questions. We realize how easily this condition can go undiagnosed and how difficult it can be to live with the effects.
We are proud to have helped countless children with tongue-tie or lip-tie issues – from 1-week-old babies having difficulty gaining weight to 1-year-olds with brushing difficulty due to restricted lip movement to 14-year-olds with speech impediments.
How do the tongue-tie and lip-tie release procedures work?
The procedure of releasing tongue-tie and lip-tie is simple with virtually no complications. It takes only 10-20 seconds. It can be performed on children as early as a couple of days after birth. The laser gently removes the tight tissue with virtually no bleeding or stitches required.
When the procedure is performed by a knowledgeable provider such as Dr. Blake or Dr. Ryan, there is minimal to no risk involved, and the process is performed safely and comfortably.
Babies can nurse immediately after the procedure, and older children will experience an immediate difference in tongue mobility. Although speech will improve within a few minutes to a few weeks, speech therapy is still recommended for children four years of age and older.
If you suspect that your child may have a tongue- or lip-tie-related issue, we’re here to help! Give our office a call to schedule an exam and get all your questions answered!