Can a Lip or Tongue Tie Cause Colic?

December 13, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — surfsupdental @ 4:07 pm
Mother holding her crying baby

Infants are expected to cry. Excessive crying, however, can be a major contributor to exhaustion and frustration in parents. If your baby seems to be crying more than they should, and your efforts to help them find relief are not yielding much success, it may be worth your time to have your child evaluated for a lip or tongue tie. What are these conditions, and what is their connection with colic? This blog post explains.

Lip Tie, Tongue Tie, and Colic

A lip tie occurs when the piece of tissue that connects the lip to the gums (called a frenum or frenulum) is too short or thick, resulting in limited oral movement. A tongue tie occurs when the frenum between the tongue and the floor of the mouth restricts the tongue’s movement.

Often, a lip or tongue tie is associated with long and intense crying episodes. In some cases, these episodes fit in with the definition of colic, which is generally described as occurring when a baby cries for longer than three hours per day for at least three days a week.

A lip or tongue tie can cause distress for a baby because these conditions can make it difficult for the child to latch onto their mother’s nipple or a bottle. They may not get enough calories, and they may end up swallowing air, which can cause digestive upset and reflux.

Often, physicians tell parents that the only real way to address colic is to wait it out. Usually, it goes away after 4 – 6 months. However, if lip or tongue tie is the problem, it may be possible to find relief much sooner than that.

Treatment for Lip and Tongue Tie

It is important to note that, unlike most cases of colic, lip and tongue tie do not resolve on their own. Without treatment, these problems could continue to cause issues for your baby as they grow into childhood and adolescence.

Fortunately, treatment for lip and tongue tie is usually pretty simple. Your baby’s dentist might recommend that they undergo a frenectomy, a simple and quick surgical procedure. It involves the use of a soft tissue laser to cut a short or thick frenulum and thereby free up movement of the oral tissues. Infants are encouraged to breastfeed immediately after a frenectomy.

Once your child is able to feed comfortably, you may find that episodes of intense and prolonged crying are drastically reduced.

Crying is normal and healthy for infants, but only to a certain extent. Lip or tongue tie treatment might be able to bring more peace to your family!

Meet the Practice

Dr. Bryce Cushing is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. He is proud to offer comfortable, empathetic treatment for young patients. Laser frenectomies are among the many services he offers. If you suspect that your child has a lip or tongue tie, Dr. Bryce and our team would be happy to evaluate the situation and recommend your next steps. Contact our Papillion office at 402-773-7873.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.