Tongue/Lip Tie Q & A
Up to 11% of newborn babies have tongue ties, and many others have a similar problem called lip tie. Tongue and lip tie can interfere with breastfeeding and could potentially cause dental and speech development issues later. At SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat, the board-certified ENT physicians expertly perform in-office procedures to correct tongue and lip tie. There are five convenient locations along the 405, including Long Beach, Los Alamitos, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Torrance, California. Call the office nearest you or book by using the online appointment tool today.
What is a tongue tie?
Tongue tie is an issue in which a newborn baby’s lingual frenulum, the band of tissue that anchors the tongue in place, is too small. In some cases, this tongue restriction causes symptoms, including:
- Difficulty breastfeeding
- Gap between the lower arch front teeth
- Difficulty using the tongue to get food off teeth
- Speech difficulties
- Teasing or bullying from peers
A tongue tie can also cause problems for you as the nursing mother, including nipple pain, bleeding, and cracking.
A tongue tie happens if a baby’s tongue and frenulum don’t develop in the normal way, but the reason for that isn’t known. This condition can run in families.
What is a lip tie?
A lip tie occurs when the band of tissue connecting the upper lip to the gums, the labial frenulum, is too small or tight. Tongue tie and lip tie often appear at the same time, but lip tie is less common.
As with a tongue tie, a lip tie can potentially cause breastfeeding problems. Lip ties may run in families.
How do you diagnose tongue and lip ties?
The SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat team performs a gentle mouth exam while discussing symptoms with you. If your child is old enough to respond to directions, their ENT doctor may also analyze tongue movement and shape.
After consulting medical records, the team may diagnose tongue or lip tie. Depending on symptom severity and individual needs, the team may recommend a simple in-office procedure to correct the tongue or lip tie.
What is a lingual frenulectomy?
A lingual frenulectomy is a procedure to treat tongue tie. In this procedure, the SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat team creates a careful snip in the lingual frenulum to allow normal tongue movement. If needed, they may use tiny stitches to close the incision. A lingual frenulectomy usually takes approximately 15 minutes.
What is a labial frenulectomy?
A labial frenulectomy is a procedure to treat lip ties. In this procedure, the ENT team makes a small snip in the labial frenulum to create free upper lip movement. As with lingual frenulectomy, this is a quick and easy procedure.
If your child is having feeding difficulties, reach out to SCENT – Southern California Ear, Nose, and Throat to learn whether they have a tongue or lip tie. Book online or call the office nearest you to speak with a friendly team member now.