As you begin to feed your child solid foods, you notice they are refusing certain ones but not others. While you might chalk this up to a situation of distaste for particular fruits, vegetables, and meats, there could be a more impactful reason that stems from a lip or tongue tie. With these tethered tissues still in place, you may find that your little one has a harder time consuming solid foods. Can a lip or tongue tie affect a baby’s eating ability? Read on to find out.
Why Release a Lip or Tongue Tie?
It’s a question often asked by many parents, but why is it necessary to have a lip or tongue tie released? The reason for this procedure, which is known as a frenectomy, is that without proper oral movement, your child can experience difficulty eating, speaking, and even breathing.
Because the restricted tissue causes the tongue and/or upper lip to have a limited range of motion, you will find that if they do not experience trouble while trying to nurse or take a bottle, it will likely become a factor in their ability to eat solid foods.
The tongue is a critical component of your child’s nutrition, as it is designed to help with digestion. As food enters the mouth, the tongue works to break it down by moving it side to side before pushing it toward the back of the mouth. This allows for easy swallowing.
What Problems Can Occur if a Lip or Tongue Tie Remains Untreated?
Apart from the frustration you and your child will experience, an untreated lip or tongue tie will likely cause them to lack the necessary nutrients their body needs to grow and develop effectively.
When they receive food that is difficult to eat, you’ll notice that they are more likely to throw it or simply refuse it altogether. If they’re attempting to eat, it may be much messier than you anticipate. All of these are red flags that a lip or tongue tie might be to blame.
What is a Frenectomy?
The moment you notice a problem forming with your child’s ability to eat solid foods, don’t delay in speaking with their pediatric dentist. You’ll discover there is a procedure that can be performed to eliminate the restricted tissues and improve their oral movement.
With a frenectomy, your child’s dentist can apply a topical numbing agent before using a soft tissue dental laser to gently release the banded tissue. This immediately improves the lip and/or tongue’s range of motion.
Using a soft tissue laser also makes the process much easier and simpler because it lessens the bleeding and swelling while also reducing the potential for a post-op infection.
By choosing a frenectomy for your little one, you’ll give them the best chance to thrive, especially when it comes to their nutritional eating habits. With a greater range of motion for their lip and/or tongue, you’ll notice an improvement that extends beyond the kitchen table.
About the Author
Dr. Veronica Martinez is a board-certified pediatric dentist in Scottsdale and Phoenix who is commonly referred to as “Dr. V, ” Working in the Valley since 2012, she works closely with parents who are concerned about their children’s lip or tongue ties. Well-versed in the struggles these children can face, she can perform frenectomies to help improve oral development and movement so that eating, speaking, breathing, and self-esteem is no longer hindered. Contact us at our Phoenix or Scottsdale office to learn more.