Tongue and Lip-Ties

What is a Tongue or Lip-Tie?

A tongue-tie is an unusually short, thick or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) that tethers the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth, limiting mobility. Likewise, a lip-tie (labial frenulum) is a short, thick or tight band of tissue that tethers the upper lip to the upper gums, limiting the lip’s ability to flare and curl.

Infants

Symptoms of Tongue & Lip-Tie

Tongue and lip-ties are serious and lead to many oral and health risks, and most often cause pain to the breastfeeding mother. Both mother and baby will demonstrate symptoms when baby has a tongue and/or lip-tie.

Mother breast feeding her infant

Breastfeeding mothers usually notice the following when a tie is present:

  • Creased or blanched nipples after breastfeeding
  • Cracked, bruised, or blistered nipples
  • Bleeding and/or infected nipples
  • Severe pain during latch
  • Clogged milk ducts
  • Mastitis and/or nipple thrush
  • Poor/incomplete breast drainage

Breastfeeding babies usually show the following symptoms with a tie is present:

  • No latch or frequently broken latch
  • Shallow latch, sliding off the breast
  • Breaks latch seal, clicking or smacking sounds
  • Gassy, colic, and/or reflux
  • Prolonged feeding durations
  • Unsatisfied after long feeds, leaks milk
  • Gumming or chewing the nipple
  • Engorged breasts, leading to decreased milk supply
  • Poor weight gain/failure to thrive
  • Unable to hold pacifier

Common Breastfeeding Myths:

  • FALSE! – Tongue-ties do not exist
  • FALSE! – Tongue and/or lip-ties will correct themselves
  • FALSE! – Breastfeeding is not affected by tongue and/or lip-ties
  • FALSE! – Tight lingual frenums will stretch or tear without treatment
  • FALSE! – Tongue-ties do not cause maternal discomfort
  • FALSE! – Tongue-ties will not affect speech
  • FALSE! – Revisions of tongue and/or lip-ties must be conducted under general anesthesia
  • FALSE! – Children Under 3 months are not old enough for surgical revision
  • FALSE! – Colic/reflux in unrelated to tongue-ties
  • FALSE! – If an upper lip-tie is released, it will affect the roots of the baby teeth
  • FALSE! – Revisions of tongue and/or lip-ties cause damage to nerves and blood vessels
  • FALSE! – The upper lip is not important to breastfeeding
family and happy people concept - mother kissing her baby

Treating Tongue/Lip-Ties

Rather than “clipping” ties, Dr. Mahoney uses a laser that quickly severs the tissue and cauterizes the site, making the procedure and recovery faster and more comfortable. Call and schedule a consultation today!

What to expect during your visit

Our highly-trained staff takes special care to assure both child and parent comfort while visiting our office.

Upon your first visit, you may expect the following:

A tour of our facility
Meet the assistant and doctor who will evaluate your child
If your child is an infant, our assistant will weigh your baby
The doctor will look and feel in your child’s mouth to detect the presence of a tongue or lip tie

You may be asked:

Your baby’s weight gain since birth
If tongue and/or lip tie has been observed in either parent
How long you have attempted to breastfeed
The level of pain or discomfort experienced while breastfeeding

During the procedure:

The doctor will ask if you would like to be present for the procedure
If you elect to be present for the procedure, you will be asked to wear protective eyewear, specific to the laser used for treatment. Once complete, if the child is currently breastfed, the doctor and assistant will ask the mother to breastfeed before leaving the office. You will receive a thorough explanation of post-op instructions and a list of recommendations to take home.

Adults/Children

Symptoms of Tongue & Lip-Tie

Tongue-ties and lip-ties in children and adults are often overlooked conditions that can lead to a myriad of health problems. Did you know there are implications for adolescents and adults with tongue and lip-ties as well? The issues associated with ties do not improve with time, but rather result in even more problems.  These problems can impact everything from oral/dental health to social situations and self-esteem.

Children/Adolescents with untreated tongue or lip-ties may experience:

  • Inability to chew age appropriate solid food
  • Gagging, choking, vomiting, drooling
  • Delayed speech development
  • Dental health problems
  • Insufficient development of the palate (narrow archway, etc.)
  • Behavior problems
  • Formation of habits to compensate for tied tongue/lip

Adults with untreated tongue or lip-ties may experience:

  • Speech impairment (inability to speak clearly, unable to pronounce
  • certain sounds, etc.)
  • Pain, clicking, popping in the jaws
  • Migraines/Headaches
  • Protrusion of lower jaw
  • Effects on social/relationship situations
  • Dental health problems (inflamed gums, increased need for fillings, etc.)
  • Difficulty keeping denture in place
  • Embarrassment of appearance, speech
  • Sleep disordered breathing/sleep apnea

Treating Tongue/Lip-Ties

Rather than “clipping” ties, Dr. Mahoney uses a laser that quickly severs the tissue and cauterizes the site, making the procedure and recovery faster and more comfortable. Call and schedule a consultation today!

What to expect during your visit:

Our highly-trained staff takes special care to assure both child and parent comfort while visiting our office. Upon your first visit, you may expect the following:

  • A tour of our facility
  • Meet the assistant and doctor who will evaluate your child
  • If your child is an infant, our assistant will weigh your baby
  • The doctor will look and feel in your child’s mouth to detect the presence of a tongue or lip tie

You may be asked:

  • Your baby’s weight gain since birth
  • If tongue and/or lip tie has been observed in either parent
  • How long you have attempted to breastfeed
  • The level of pain or discomfort experienced while breastfeeding

During the procedure:

The doctor will ask if you would like to be present for the procedure
If you elect to be present for the procedure, you will be asked to wear protective eye wear, specific to the laser used for treatment.

Once complete, if the child is currently breastfed, the doctor and assistant will ask the mother to breastfeed before leaving the office.

You will receive a thorough explanation of post-op instructions and a list of recommendations to take home.

Young parents with their little son eating ice cream, sunny summer garden