Reviewed by Dr. Kerri Font, DDS

Welcome to our blog series on lip and tongue ties! In this four-part series, we will explain lip and tongue ties, their causes, symptoms, and potential impact on infants and children.

Our goal is to provide comprehensive information for parents so that they can better understand these conditions and make informed decisions about their child’s health.

We will also talk about these conditions in adults and the corrective procedure known as a frenectomy. Finally, we will address common myths and misconceptions surrounding these conditions.

So, let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What are Lip and Tongue Ties?

Lip and tongue ties are conditions that occur when the frenums, or connective tissues in the mouth, are too tight. The frenulum is a thin membrane that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth or the upper lip to the gums.

When these bands of tissue are overly restrictive, they can limit range of motion and cause issues with breastfeeding, speech development, and oral hygiene.

Types of Frenums

Our mouths have several frenums, but the most common ones that can cause issues are the lingual, labial and buccal.

  • The lingual frenulum is the band of tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth.
  • Labial frenulum is the tissue that connects the upper lip to the gums.
  • Buccal frenulum is the tissue connecting the cheeks to the gums.

Symptoms of Lip and Tongue Ties

Lip and tongue ties can present a variety of symptoms, including:

  • difficulty with breastfeeding or bottle feeding
  • nipple pain in mothers
  • poor latch in infants
  • clicking sound when nursing
  • decreased milk production
  • mastitis due to incomplete breast drainage

In older children, these conditions can cause:

  • speech delays
  • trouble with eating solids
  • tooth decay
  • difficulty with tongue movements, such as sticking out the tongue or moving it from side to side

It’s important to note that not all children with these conditions will experience symptoms. Some may have a mild form that does not significantly impact their health.

Causes of Lip and Tongue Ties

The exact cause is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a congenital condition. This means that the conditions are present at birth and may run in families.

In some cases, they may also be caused by genetic mutations or environmental factors during fetal development.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Ties are typically diagnosed through a physical exam by a healthcare professional. If your baby is having trouble feeding, the first thing they will look for is a lip or tongue tie.

Many healthcare professionals recommend correcting lip and tongue ties earlier rather than later to avoid potential issues with feeding, speech development, and oral hygiene.

If your pediatrician or lactation consultant suspects a lip or tongue tie, they will refer you to a specialist for further evaluation and treatment.

Our periodontists, Dr. Kerri Font and Dr. Mike Norouzinia, have extensive experience performing scalpel frenectomies for infants and children with lip and tongue ties. This procedure is safe, quick, and relatively painless.

If you suspect your child may have a lip or tongue tie, don’t hesitate to speak with your healthcare provider about possible treatment options.

Lip and Tongue Tie Specialists in Highlands Ranch

We hope this blog has provided valuable information on understanding lip and tongue ties. In the next blog, we will discuss how these conditions can affect adults and their oral health.

At Highlands Ranch Periodontics, we understand the importance of proper oral function and are dedicated to helping patients of all ages achieve optimal oral health. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Norouzinia or Dr. Font. 

If you are searching for a ‘tongue tie specialist near me,’ or ‘a pediatric tongue tie specialists near me,’ we can help. Call (303) 683-1144 to book an appointment or complete the online booking form.

FAQs About Lip and Tongues Ties

Do lip and tongue ties have to be fixed?

No, not all lip and tongue ties require treatment. It depends on the severity of the condition and any symptoms present.

At what age should a lip tie be corrected?

It is generally recommended to correct a lip tie as early as possible, preferably during infancy. However, they can be corrected at any age if symptoms arise or impact oral function. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for individualized recommendations and treatment options.

What does lip and tongue-tie affect?

Lip and tongue ties can affect a variety of functions, including breastfeeding, speech development, oral hygiene, and even chewing and swallowing. If left untreated, they may also contribute to potential dental issues such as tooth decay or misalignment. However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, these conditions can be effectively corrected to improve overall oral function and health.

How do I know if my baby has tongue or lip tie?

If your baby is having difficulty breastfeeding, has trouble latching onto the breast, or you experience nipple pain during feeding, these may be signs of a tongue or lip tie. Other symptoms may include poor weight gain and decreased milk supply. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or lactation consultant for an official diagnosis.

What does a tongue tie on a baby look like?

A tongue tie on a baby may appear as a thin, tight band of tissue connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This can sometimes be seen or felt under the tongue when gently lifting it up. It may also cause the tip of the tongue to have a heart-shaped appearance and limited range of motion. 

Categories: Periodontics