Tongue Ties & Lip Ties in Infants

Dark haired mother holding a dark haired baby on her shoulder.

You may be familiar with the phrase "tongue-tied" but did you know that a tongue-tie is a real medical condition? There’s also such a thing as a lip-tie. Here's more information so you can identify the condition in your child and know why they may require corrective treatment.

What Is a Tongue-Tie?

The more formal name for a tongue-tie is ankyloglossia. (It's easy to see why we normally just refer to it as a tongue-tie!) A tongue-tie is the condition where there’s some sort of issue with the lingual frenulum. This is the little piece of membrane that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. If it’s too thick, too short, or shaped differently in another sort of way, it can affect how well a child can breastfeed or speak. Now you understand where the idiom tongue-tied comes from!

What Is a Lip-Tie?

A lip-tie is also related to the frenulum, but this time the one that’s right behind the upper lip. This one is called the labial frenulum. This frenulum connects the upper lip to the upper gum. If it's too thick, then the upper lip may have limited movement. This in turn can make it difficult for the infant to breastfeed since it's not as easy for them to latch on.

Treatment Options

While a tongue-tie or lip-tie can negatively affect your infant’s development, the good news is that there are treatment options available. The big one is a frenectomy, which is the procedure when the frenulum is removed. If a frenectomy is needed, our pediatric dentists are experienced at making your child comfortable while they perform this quick procedure.

Pediatric Dentistry in San Antonio

At Helotes Pediatric Dentistry in San Antonio, we provide a full suite of children’s dental services. If you think your child is dealing with a tongue-tie or a lip-tie, then we recommend you book a consultation at our office so we can assess the situation in person. A frenectomy is not always necessary since some tongue-ties can go away on their own. Additionally, some tongue-ties and lip-ties are fine to leave untreated if they’re not causing any issues. We can give you our professional recommendations for the best course of action.

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