Birth is a complex process that starts long before labor pains and the child leaves the womb. The mother’s body prepares the child for birth early on to ensure that several functions are working correctly for the child to survive outside the womb. However, these processes can fail to complete, leading to complications in the child’s health when born. Two issues that commonly affect almost 15% of infants are tongue and lip ties.
Also known as ankyloglossia, tongue tie is a congenital condition that negatively impacts the ability of the child to use their tongue. The condition occurs when a thick and short band of flesh attaches the tongue to the mouth’s floor or the tip of the tongue. The thick band, lingual frenulum, impacts the ability of the child to breastfeed correctly and limits the range of motion.
A lip tie develops when the space between the lower and upper gums is not enough, similar to the tongue tie in several ways. Lip ties are less common than tongue ties, but they also have the same effect of reducing the range of motion. Typically, lip ties are not dangerous for children unless they hinder breastfeeding to the point where they are not gaining weight as they should.
Signs of a Tongue Tie:
The child is unable to lift his/her tongue when crying
The child’s tongue sticks out of the mouth past the front teeth
Your child’s tongue appears heart-shaped or is indented
Difficulty moving the tongue side to side or the upper teeth
You can see an abnormal band of tissue that seems to link the tongue to the gums
Your child is not gaining weight even if he/she is feeding or frustrated when doing it
Signs of a Lip Tie:
Breastfeeding the child is more painful than you think it should or than your previous child
Your child has a hard time latching onto your breasts
You may develop mastitis or blocked milk ducts
They fall asleep while feeding
Your child may develop a nursing blister on his/her lips
Your child makes clicking sounds when feeding
When you lift your child’s lip, his/her gums blanch white
You are constantly tired after breastfeeding, even when your child is not full
You experience pain or develop blisters on your nipples after feeding
Usually, the lingual frenulum separates while the mother’s body prepares for the birthing process. But in children with this condition, the frenulum fails to detach because of unknown reasons. It seems the condition is genetic in many cases.
Treatment for this condition is called a frenectomy, and doctors can perform it in the offices in a few minutes. Many professionals recommend performing the procedure immediately after the child is cleared to leave the hospital for the best results. Experts will usually evaluate the child before the procedure to determine whether he/she qualifies.
To learn more on whether your baby has a tongue tie or lip tie, visit Reaves Dental at our office in New Hartford, New York. Call (315) 736-0139 to book an appointment today.