Lip and tongue-tie is a condition present at birth that restricts the lip and tongue's range of motion. With tongue-tie, the lingual frenulum remains attached to the bottom of the tongue restricting movement. With a lip tie, the labial frenulum is attached to the gums creating a tight lip.
Lip and tongue ties are a very common condition that, if addressed quickly, will not hinder a child’s development. However, if left untreated, tongue-tie can result in malnourishment, speech difficulty, or poor oral hygiene.
Signs of tongue-tie and lip-tie include:
- Restriction of the tongue’s movement, making it harder to breastfeed
- Difficulty lifting the tongue up or moving it from side to side
- Difficulty sticking the tongue out
- The tongue looks notched or heart-shaped when stuck out
- Clicking sounds, latching difficulty, or pain while breastfeeding
Treatment of Lip and Tongue Ties
The treatment of lip and tongue ties for infants is a simple surgical procedure called a frenotomy. Your child’s doctor examines the lingual frenulum and then uses sterile scissors or laser to snip the frenulum free. Stitches are usually not necessary. Since there are few nerve endings or blood vessels in the lingual frenulum, only a local anesthetic is used.
Frenotomy for tongue-tie in older children and adults is similar to that for infants. Speech therapy may also be necessary.