Untangling Ties: Understanding Lip and Tongue Ties in Children

By December 21, 2023No Comments

A dentist showing a child’s tongue tieLip and tongue ties are a condition that affects a small number of children each year; around five to ten percent. These often-debilitating conditions can affect your child’s development in many ways, starting from infancy. But can you simply let them grow out of it? 

If you want to learn more about lip and tongue ties, how they can affect your child, and what to do about them, continue reading.  

What is a Lip or Tongue Tie? 

Lip and tongue ties are often lumped together, but they’re actually two separate conditions. A lip tie happens when the connective tissue for the upper lip (labial frenulum) becomes too thick. Similarly, a tongue tie occurs when the lingual frenulum—the place where your tongue connects to the bottom of your mouth, becomes too thick. 

Both of these conditions hamper the movements of the mouth and can cause problems breastfeeding, eating, or speaking. In addition, untreated ties can lead to more problems as the child ages—even into adulthood. Acid reflux, snoring, gagging, and choking while eating are all associated with lip and tongue ties. 

Can a Child Grow Out of These Conditions? 

Children with lip and tongue ties do not typically grow out of their condition. While some with more mild cases can eventually regain a little facial dexterity, they will never have full mobility. The only way to treat lip and tongue ties is through a procedure called a frenectomy. 

How are Lip and Tongue Ties Treated? 

While the thought of surgery on your child can be scary, a frenectomy is a simple procedure. The frenulum doesn’t have many nerve endings or blood vessels in it, so when the dentist uses their instruments to sever it, there is generally little to no discomfort for the child.  

Frenectomies are commonly performed by pediatric dentists or oral surgeons, and advancements in techniques have made the process quicker and more efficient. 

So, now that you know a little more about lip and tongue ties and how they’re treated, you can make an informed decision for your child. If you believe a frenectomy is the best way to restore your child’s quality of life, contact your pediatric dentist as soon as possible. The timelier the treatment, the faster your child can get back to smiling and enjoying their time with you. 

About the Practice 

Dr. Veronica Martinez and Dr. Katie Ramage are your friendly neighborhood pediatric dentists at Children’s Dental Specialty. They have extensive knowledge and warm, gentle personalities that can help your child feel at ease. Their mission is to create positive dental experiences for all of their little patients for a lifetime of good oral health. Call (480) 944-9668 to schedule a lip or tongue tie consultation or visit the website to discover other services. 

Dr. Veronica

Author Dr. Veronica

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