Lip tie is a condition wherein the tissue connecting the lip to the gums (called a frenum) is too thick or too short. Tongue tie is a similar problem, but instead, it affects the frenum between the tongue and the floor of the mouth. Treatment for these issues involves a simple surgery known as a frenectomy. Unfortunately, though, lip and tongue tie often go undiagnosed, leading to a number of complications. How can you tell if your child could benefit from a frenectomy? Here are five signs you should look out for:
An infant with a lip or tongue tie may find it difficult to latch onto their mother’s breast. This can result in slow weight gain and frequent feeding sessions. The mother may suffer from nipple pain and related symptoms. As a child grows, they may continue to have problems with eating. They may avoid certain textures of food because their oral tissues simply do not have the mobility needed to eat a wide variety of snacks and meals. Improvements in feeding usually happen immediately following a frenectomy.
Clear speech depends on complex interactions between the tongue, lips, and teeth. A tongue tie can make it challenging for a child to enunciate certain sounds, resulting in a lisp or other speech difficulties. A frenectomy can free up the tongue and pave the way for improved speech. However, your child’s speech might not instantly improve on its own. Your little one may need speech therapy or myofunctional therapy to master the ability to talk clearly.
An overly short or thick oral frenum, particularly when it affects the upper lip, can impede the mouth’s ability to close fully. This can result in habitual mouth breathing. Mouth breathing, in turn, can increase a child’s risk for dental decay and bad breath. In some cases, it can also play a role in snoring and childhood obstructive sleep apnea. A frenectomy can often remedy mouth breathing and protect a child’s oral health and the quality of their sleep.
An overly tight frenum on the upper lip can affect the way the front teeth develop, often leading to a gap at the front of the mouth. A tongue tie can cause a condition known as tongue thrust, where the tongue sits too far forward in the mouth. This may cause the lower teeth to be misaligned. A timely frenectomy has the potential to prevent such problems.
Lip tie, on either the top or bottom of the mouth, can create extra tension on the gum tissue, which may lead to gum recession. If your child’s teeth look unusually long, it may be time to ask their pediatric dentist if a frenectomy would be beneficial.
Lip and tongue tie can cause a slew of problems. Recognizing and treating them early on with a frenectomy is the smart course of action.
Meet the Practice
Dr. Veronica Martinez is a highly skilled pediatric dentist in Scottsdale. She enjoys working with patients of all ages, and she always takes great care to make children comfortable when she is performing a frenectomy. To learn more about her and how our team may be able to serve you, contact us at 480-282-6746.