4 Big Hints That Your Infant Might Have a Lip or Tongue Tie

Know the signs your child has a tongue tie

Though the exact statistics are unknown, it is estimated that up to 10% of newborns are born with a condition called ankyloglossia, also known as tongue tie. In this situation, the frenulum, that thin piece of tissue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth, is too tight or too short. This results in a limited range of motion for the tongue, making it challenging for babies to breastfeed and swallow. If the tongue tie isn’t corrected during infancy, it can also lead to speech issues. 

A lip tie is a similar condition in which the thin piece of tissue that connects the upper lip to the gum tissue above the front teeth is too tight or too short, resulting in the same concerns as with a tongue tie. Thankfully, a simple frenectomy procedure can release the tongue or lip tie.

How to know if your child has a tongue tie or a lip tie. 

It can be alarming and frustrating for new parents when their baby has trouble latching on for feeding. The last thing they want is a condition that keeps their children from getting the nutrients they need to thrive. For this reason, knowing what to look for that might indicate your child has a tongue or lip tie can help you take steps to get it corrected sooner than later.

1. Struggles With Breastfeeding

The most significant indicator that your child might have one of these conditions is difficulty latching on or staying latched during feeding. They may also have trouble transferring milk effectively, resulting in poor weight gain. And ankyloglossia can be harder to detect in a child who is exclusively bottle-fed, as bottles do not have the same restriction of tongue movement as there is when breastfeeding. You may also hear abnormal clicking sounds when your baby is trying to feed.

Further, if your baby has a tongue or lip tie, the mother might experience nipple pain from the poor latch or because the baby is gumming and chewing the nipple while feeding. If you are experiencing this with your baby, talk to your dentist for babies with a tongue tie in Vancouver. 

2. Speech Delays

Tongue and lip ties can impact the development of speech, particularly the ability to produce certain sounds, such as “l,” “r,” “s,” and “th.” Because these conditions are usually caught earlier in breastfed babies, if a child was bottle-fed or was fortunate enough to breastfeed successfully, despite their tongue or lip tie, you might not realize there is a problem until your child starts learning to talk.

3. Difficulty consuming solid foods.

When your baby moves on to solid foods, you may notice that they struggle to eat solid foods or move food around their mouth. The restricted movement of their tongue can make it harder for them to chew and swallow. And kids with a tongue tie may have weaker oral muscles or difficulty coordinating their movements, which adds to the challenge of chewing and swallowing solid foods.

4. Emotional and Social Issues

Though this symptom might not occur until your child is older, it’s not uncommon for kids with a tongue tie or lip tie to become frustrated or anxious when they have difficulty eating and speaking. They may find that they don’t talk as clearly as their friends or that their friends and classmates can’t understand them.

What to do if your child has a tongue tie or lip tie?

Everyone is born with a frenulum. The membrane attaches the tongue to the base of the mouth. You’re looking for an excessively thick, short, or strong frenulum. Here’s how to check your child’s frenulum for signs of ankyloglossia.

  1. With clean, thoroughly washed hands, lift your child’s tongue or upper lip to expose the area where the frenulum is located.
  2. Look for a thin band of tissue connecting the underside of the tongue or upper lip to the mouth or gum tissue floor, respectively.
  3. Check the length and thickness of the frenulum. A normal frenulum should be thin and flexible, while a tight or thick frenulum will restrict movement and affect function. You can also feel the frenulum with your finger to assess its tension and flexibility.

If the frenulum is tight and doesn’t seem to have much movement, this is an indicator that your child could benefit from a laser frenectomy. At Must Love Kids in Vancouver, we use a diode laser for all tongue tie and lip tie surgeries. The process is quick, easy, and well-tolerated by babies and small children.

Failure to treat a lip or tongue tie can cause ongoing problems with latching and breastfeeding, and more severe cases can result in speech delays later. Laser treatment provides the following benefits:

  • Achieves optimum clinical results.
  • Provides a better experience for your little one.
  • Lets your baby heal faster than with other methods.  

Contact your dentist for babies with tongue tie in Vancouver. 

If your baby is having trouble eating or your child is a bit older and struggling to eat solid foods or speak clearly, bring up your concerns to their dentist. The frenectomy procedure is quick and can be done right in the comfort of the Must Love Kids office. Request an appointment today so your child can eat more easily and thrive.