A tongue-tie occurs when your child’s lingual frenulum — the tissue connecting her tongue to the floor of her mouth — is unusually short or thick. A lip-tie occurs when the tissue connecting your child’s upper or lower lip to her gums is unusually thick or short. Both conditions restrict the mobility of your child’s mouth and oral tissues. Tongue-tie and lip-tie in Dryden isn’t a medical problem per se. In many cases, it’s simply a natural anatomical variation. In other cases, though, the reduced mobility caused by the conditions can interfere with breastfeeding, speech development and speaking and maintaining good oral hygiene. Here’s what you need to be aware of for identifying a tone or lip tie.
Symptoms of a lip tie
The most common reason that new parents become concerned about a child’s potential lip tie is apparent difficulty while breastfeeding. Here are some experiences or sensations that may occur during breastfeeding that might suggest the presence of a lip tie:
● The nursing mother experiences painful or damaged nipples during breastfeeding
● Your child doesn’t seem to be able to stay latched onto the nipple due to loss of suction
● Your child seems to become exhausted while breastfeeding
● She gains weight very slowly
● Your infant makes a lot of noise while sucking, particularly a clicking sound
● She drools excessively while breastfeeding
Symptoms of a tongue tie
● The tip of your child’s tongue may look square or heart-shaped rather than pointed
● Your child is unable to extend her tongue beyond her lips
● She isn’t able to touch the roof of her mouth with the tip of her tongue
● She isn’t able to clean off her upper teeth with her tongue
● There seem to be delays in your child’s speech development due to decreased tongue mobility
How parents can look for a lip or tongue tie
If you’ve noticed any of those symptoms of a lip or tongue tie, you may want to take a close look in your child’s mouth to see if you can identify an unusually thick or short frenulum.
To examine your child’s tongue, lay her down on her back on your knees. Gently sweep your finger under their tongue and notice the membrane that connects her tongue to the bottom of her mouth. A “normal” frenulum will allow you to smoothly sweep your finger under the frenulum without any interruption. If the membrane feels short, unusually thick or noticeably strong, your child may have a tongue tie. In that case, make an appointment with a dental clinic in Dryden and ask a pediatric dentist to confirm.
To examine your child’s lip, lay her down on her back on your knees. Gently pry or fold her lip (upper and lower, one after the other) up towards her nose or down toward her chin. You should be able to do so freely. If you notice any resistance, that may mean the tissue connecting the lip to her gums may be short or thick rather than thin and flexible. If you’re not confident about what you’re seeing or want a second opinion or professional advice, make an appointment with a dentist near you.
If your dentist does identify an unusually thick, short or strong frenulum that restricts the mobility of your child’s lip(s) or tongue, your dentist will describe treatment options and may refer you to a lactation consultant for help with breastfeeding.
If you are ever concerned about any aspect of your child’s oral development, ask your dentist in Dryden to take a close look in your child’s mouth. Your dentist will offer support and advice and refer to you a specialist if treatment is warranted.