What’s a Tongue Tie?
A tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition in which a child’s tongue is attached too tightly at its base. The lower frenum (attachment) is too thick, too short, or malformed. This makes it difficult for the child to move his or her tongue freely and often causes issues with feeding and speaking.
What’s a Lip Tie?
Lip-tie is a condition where the upper lip cannot be curled or moved normally. The upper frenulum may be attached too closely to one side of the upper gum. A lip tie can limit movement and make feeding difficult.
What to look for with Infants
Both of these conditions require a diagnosis by your pediatrician or your pediatric dentist at Awesome Kids Teeth.
Below is a list of areas to look for in infants:
- Difficulty breastfeeding
- Difficulty breathing while feeding
- A noticeable clicking noise while nursing
- Pain during breastfeeding
While these signs and symptoms may not guarantee a lip or tongue tie, it’s always best to have your baby checked.
What to look for in Toddlers, Children and Adults
- You cannot easily swipe your finger beneath the child’s tongue
- Unable to fully brush top front teeth due to the thick frenum getting in the way.
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing solid foods (comes across as a fussy eater)
- Speech difficulties
- Sleep apnea
- Mouth breathing
- Possible link of ADD/ADHD due to airway obstruction
- Posture problems
- um Recession
- Headaches/neck and shoulder aches
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to have your child evaluated for tongue or lip-tie. The sooner the tongue is released the better the child is able to adapt to the new mobility of the tongue and the upper lip. A 1-week old baby will do better than a 3-week or a 12-week old baby. A 4-year-old with speech issues will do better than a 7-year-old, etc.
How a Lip and Tongue Tie Can Affect Kids
Besides having trouble during feeding times, a lip tie or tongue tie can affect babies in different ways and can even have some long-term effects as they get older. Untreated lip or tongue ties can result in speech problems, sleep apnea, and problems chewing and swallowing food. Additionally, children with a lip tie or tongue tie may have a gap between the front teeth or can have gum recession.
How to Treat Lip and Tongue Ties
Our pediatric dentists at Awesome Kids Teeth can fix a lip and or tongue tie right in our office. The procedure is called a frenectomy and it can be performed on infants up to late teens.
We use a state-of- the -art CO2 laser for the procedures. The CO2 laser is a type of gas laser, which pushes an electric current through a gas (in this case, CO2) to produce a highly concentrated beam of light which removes small sections of the frenum to release the tension. The laser is more accurate than traditional surgery methods involving scissors.
The CO2 laser is beneficial in aiding with little to no pain after the procedure, almost no bleeding, minimal scarring and no need for stitches. The procedure takes a matter of seconds. Immediately afterward, a child is able to eat and start enjoying life to a fuller extent.