Fact or Fiction: The Scoop on Lip and Tongue-Ties

April 18, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — surfsupdental @ 8:14 pm

Everyone seems to be talking about lip and tongue-ties. With health topics being something of a fad these days, you might be wondering what information has been telephoned down from the internet. Wonder no longer! Just keep reading to get the scoop from your Papillion pediatric dentist’s perspective.

Prologue: What Are Lip and Tongue-Ties?

Lip and tongue-ties are similar. A lip-tie occurs when extra tissue is stuck to an infant’s lip, holding it down. As you might guess, a tongue-tie occurs when the extra tissue is fixed to the tongue. The extra tissue is called “webbing”, and both conditions result in restricted oral movement.

Fact: Lip and Tongue-Ties Aren’t a New Health Trend

Instances of lip and tongue-tie have been recorded as far back as 1670 and have generally always been associated with certain complications. What might make the topic seem like a fad is that public awareness shifts depending on breastfeeding trends.

When more mothers breastfeed (like they are now), they’re more likely to notice and report lip and tongue-tie symptoms. This is because these two conditions can make it harder for infants to breastfeed. They might have trouble latching, fall asleep during feeding, or accidentally make Mom sore.

Fiction: There’s No Reason to Treat a Lip or Tongue-Tie

Now’s a good time to go into detail about those “certain complications”. Lip and tongue-ties can result in:

  • Difficulties breastfeeding
  • Discomfort for Mom and baby during breastfeeding
  • Colic
  • Acid reflux
  • Struggling to keep pacifier in mouth
  • Impaired speech
  • Mouth-breathing
  • Trouble with physical activity and sleep apnea

It’s easy to forget how often we use our lips and tongue. The bottom line to remember here is that even minimal oral restriction can make day-to-day activities challenging.

Fiction: Time Will Heal Lip and Tongue-Ties

Unfortunately, webbing generally doesn’t go away as children age. It also doesn’t stretch or adjust to keep up with the child, meaning symptoms will persist for as long as the tissue remains attached to the lips and tongue.

Fiction: Speech Therapy Can Fix Lip and Tongue-Tie Speech Impairments

Since lip and tongue-ties can physically prevent children from making certain sounds, a speech therapist probably won’t be able to help until the extra tissue is removed. Speech therapists are trained to help children form their mouths in specific ways, so they can learn to produce the appropriate sounds. Depending on the severity of the case, this could be very close to impossible for a lip or tongue-tied child.

Fact: Scissors Aren’t a Good Frenectomy Alternative

Technically, before modern technology, yes, the way to treat lip and tongue-ties involved clipping the extra tissue. However, this can cause the webbing to clump uncomfortably or regrow. Plus, some tissue is hidden where the human eye can’t easily see it.

Frenectomies are the safest and most precise way to treat lip and tongue-ties. Your pediatric dentist will know how to identify a lip or tongue-tie and can use a laser for swift and gentle removal. A laser might sound flashy, but they actually promote quicker and healthier healing.

If you’re worried about treating your child’s lip or tongue-tie, give your pediatric dentist a call. After all, they’re medical professionals. They’ll be happy to answer your questions and set the record straight.

About the Dentist

Dr. Bryce Cushing understands that a dental visit can be nerve-wracking for younger patients – and their parents. He ensures that both patient and parent feel comfortable and well-informed. If you want to hear more about lip and tongue-ties directly from a professional, give his office a call at 402-773-7873 or explore his website for a list of services.

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