Here at Sierra Pediatric Dentistry & Laser Center, we are proud to help patients who are tongue-tied or lip-tied.
Though most people use the word tongue-tied when we have trouble speaking, it can also be used to describe a medical condition that is also known as ankyloglossia. When you are tongue-tied, you are limited in the way that you can use your tongue. If you are lip-tied, your upper lip does not function the way that it should.
When we are still in the womb, a frenulum is developed to help with the development of our mouth structures. As we grow, it becomes thinner, until it is barely noticeable. However, the frenulum in some children doesn’t thin as it should, which causes either tongue or lip problems.
Since the tongue and lips are important for your mouth to function properly, children who are tongue-tied or lip-tied have a lot of trouble nursing and eating. They may also have dental and speech problems.
When Is Being Tongue-Tied or Lip-Tied a Problem That Needs Treatment?
Babies who suffer from this problem will have trouble nursing or even sucking from a bottle. Because of that, they may struggle to gain weight like they should. They may also have trouble with stomach issues because they inhale air and gas when they are trying to nurse.
Babies who suffer from tongue-tie or lip-tie often struggle to nurse. Breastfeeding can become quite painful for the mothers because their babies are sucking so hard to try to get milk. They may also have trouble latching on, so if you are having trouble with nursing, you should talk to us today. A lactation specialist will also be able to help so that you can continue to breastfeed if you want.
Many mothers decide to quit breastfeeding when their child suffers from tongue-tie and lip-tie.
As children grow older, they may have trouble with their speech because the tongue is necessary to pronounce words properly. However, some children don’t seem to have any problems.
Speech problems are usually noticeable by the time children are three. Many letters (l, r, t, d, n, th, sh, and z) can be very hard to understand when a child suffers from tongue-tie or lip-tie.
You may suspect that your child has this problem if you notice characteristics like an inability to stick out the tongue or touch the roof of the mouth with it. Your child might also have trouble moving the tongue around the mouth. Some children have a V-shaped notch at the tip of the tongue.
Children who suffer from tongue-tie or lip-tie can have many dental problems. Many have a gap between their front teeth. Moreover, the frenulum can also cause recession of the gums.
Many children also get more cavities because the frenulum traps food, plaque, and bacteria.
Tongue-Tie & Lip-Tie Revision
When a child suffers from tongue-tie and lip-tie, we offer a simple procedure called a revision. There are normally no complications. The procedure may be performed as early as the day of birth. We can perform the procedure at the hospital before your baby is discharged, and we can also do it in our office.
Dr. Sierra uses a laser to perform the revision. A cream can be applied to numb the area for the baby’s comfort. Then, the doctor uses the laser to gently remove the frenulum tissue, causing virtually no bleeding. Stitches are usually not required. Afterwards, the baby is allowed to nurse or feed immediately.
While frenulectomy is relatively simple, it can yield big results. Parents should consider how this procedure often yields even more benefit to a child than is obvious by restoring ease of speech and self-esteem.
How Do I Find Out If My Child Has Tongue-Tie or Lip-Tie?
If you notice the symptoms above or have questions about the appearance of the frenulum, you may call our office or fill out the contact form on this page.
There are links at the bottom of this page where you can download tongue-tie and lip-tie information.
Many of our patients travel great distances to see Dr. Sierra, so prior to traveling, we can arrange a phone conversation and you can email photos to us. There is no charge for phone or email consultations.
Arrangements for laser revision of the tongue-tie or lip-tie can be performed at the first visit if you desire.
If your child is having trouble, don’t hesitate to contact us at 813-889-0780 or via the form below.
Info Packet on Lip and Tongue Tie – Download & Print Packet