Tongue tie, or ankyloglossia, is a physical condition that limits the use of the tongue. Lip-tie is a condition where the upper lip cannot be curled or moved normally. Before we are born, a strong cord of tissue that guides the development of mouth structures is positioned in the center of the mouth. It is called a frenum. As we develop in the womb, this frenum is supposed to recede and thin. Everyone has a frenum, but in some people, the frenum is especially tight or fails to recede and may cause tongue/lip mobility problems.
The tongue and lip are a very complex group of muscles and are important for all oral functions. For this reason, having a tongue-tie can lead to nursing, feeding, dental, or speech problems, which may be serious in some individuals.
A new baby with a too tight tongue and/or lip frenum can have trouble latching properly and may have poor weight gain or poor transfer. If they cannot make a good seal on the nipple, they may swallow air causing gas, colic, and reflux or spitting up. You may hear clicking noises when the baby is taking the breast or a bottle. Symptoms the mother may experience include thrush, clogged ducts, mastitis, bleeding, cracking and pain. Nursing mothers who experience significant pain while nursing or whose baby has trouble latching on should have their child evaluated for tongue and lip tie.
We can easily release the tied-down tissues in the office with a dental laser with minimal to no bleeding and no stitches. If treatment is recommended, we can perform the procedure the same day in most cases.