What Being Lip-Tied or Tongue-Tied Means For Children

Child Recieving Checkup From Dentist

While being tongue-tied is a common expression, it is also an actual medical condition. Lip-tied and tongue-tied are caused by thin pieces of tissue called the frenula. In lip-tied conditions, the frenulum connects the upper lip to the upper gums; in tongue-tied conditions, the tongue connects to the bottom of the mouth. Both conditions typically occur during childhood but can affect adults if left untreated during their newborn years. When left alone, these bands of tissue that attach to the lips and tongue can cause limited movement and adversely affect how your child nurses, speaks, eats, and cause further dental problems later in life. 

Child Recieving Checkup From Dentist

Being Lip-Tied or Tongue-Tied: How The Abnormal Frenula Can Cause Problems Later in Life

A larger frenulum means that the tongue or lip cannot move freely in children. This makes it difficult for babies to latch onto breasts or bottles and causes difficulties with eating. It can cause issues with speech development, tongue thrust, voice disorders, behavioral issues, and difficulties in gaining weight. 

This is because tongue ties and lip ties cause thick, tight, and restricted movements in the mouth. It can make it almost impossible to lift the tongue and touch the roof of the mouth, making it difficult to pronounce words and chew food. Lip ties cause a large gap between the upper front teeth and can increase the risk of gum recession later on in life. 

For adults, having a larger frenulum can result in facial pain, headaches, teeth grinding, stuttering, mouth breathing, and other problems. This is because it causes long-term complications later in life, as larger frenulums can significantly interfere with a person’s growth and development. 

Luckily, there are many solutions to these problems, and oral surgeons can provide different surgeries to treat both lip ties and tongue ties. These surgeries include: 

  • Frenectomy: A frenectomy is a simple surgery using lasers to treat infants and toddlers with tongue or lip ties. The lasters work to remove the abnormal frenulum or reduce its size to free up movement in the mouth. These surgeries are often recommended for children as removing the frenulum benefits their growth and development. 
  • Frenuloplasty: As a minimally invasive procedure, frenuloplasty works for adolescents and adults with tongue ties or lip ties. Through this procedure, the surgeon will alter the frenulum and gradually release the bands of tissue within the mouth to help improve nasal breathing, speech problems, and tongue movement. 
  • Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy: Children at least four years or older can also be treated with orofacial myofunctional therapy. Through this treatment, your surgeon or dentist will help remove habits contributing to poor oral health, including thumb sucking, tongue thrusts, forward-resting tongues, and other habits. 

Visit University Oral Surgery Center For Lip-Tie or Tongue-Tie Treatment 

As a practice specializing in oral surgery in Los Angeles, CA, Dr. Ramin Shabtaie and his team can provide the best dental care and oral surgeries to help relieve conditions such as lip ties and tongue-ties. If you want to learn more about oral surgery options for these conditions, contact University Oral Surgery Center at (310) 208-3471 for more information. 

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