Have you ever heard of “lip tie” in babies? If not, then you’ve come to the right place. Lip tie is a condition that affects thousands of babies each year, and it can have a huge impact on those affected.
In this article, we will explain what a lip tie is, what causes it and how to treat it. We will also discuss how to tell if your baby has a lip tie and what you can do to help your baby if they are affected.
We understand that many parents feel overwhelmed when they first hear about lip tie, but there is help available. With the right understanding, knowledge and support, lip ties can be managed and treated successfully.
So if you’re looking for information on lip ties in babies, keep reading – this article has all the details you need!
In This Article
What Is a Lip Tie?
A lip tie, also known as ankyloglossia, is a condition where the tissue beneath your baby’s upper lip is abnormally short, tight or thick. This restriction can cause a range of problems, including difficulty with breastfeeding.
It’s a fairly common condition, affecting somewhere between 4% and 11% of newborns. It’s much more common in boys than girls and can be present on one or both sides of the upper lip.
Although less common than lip ties, you may also hear about tongue ties—a similar condition involving the frenulum at the bottom of the baby’s tongue. Your baby can have both a lip tie and tongue tie at the same time.
Do keep in mind that not every baby needs treatment for a lip tie. If your baby has no problems with their latch or their weight gain isn’t affected, you may not need to take any action. It’s important to talk to your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your baby’s health or development related to their lip or tongue tie.
Signs & Symptoms of a Lip Tie
A lip tie can be hard to pinpoint, especially in newborns, but there are some telltale signs that you can watch for. If your little one has difficulty latching or staying latched while breastfeeding, produces a clicking sound while nursing, falls asleep quickly during nursing sessions, or could not seem to remove milk effectively from the breast, these could be signs of a lip tie. Other indications include excessive fussiness while nursing and shallow latch.
Additionally, if your baby isn’t able to move their top lip past their gum line or you can see a membrane connecting the top lip to the gums when they open their mouth wide, these are both clear tell-tale signs of a lip tie. If you’re unsure whether your baby has a lip tie, visit your doctor for an evaluation.
Causes of a Lip Tie in Babies
A lip tie in babies is caused by a piece of tissue that connects the upper lip to the gums. This tissue, known as the maxillary labial frenum, can be too thick or too short, causing the baby’s upper lip to be restricted.
There are several possible causes of a lip tie in babies:
- Genetics: A lip tie can be inherited from one or both parents and is more common in certain ethnic groups.
- Position of the Baby: The position of the baby while it is developing in the uterus can cause the tissue to form abnormally.
- Medication Use During Pregnancy: Certain medications taken during pregnancy may be linked to a lip tie in babies.
- Maternal Factors: Obesity, diabetes, and other health issues experienced by a pregnant mother can increase the risk of having a baby with a lip tie.
It’s important to note that normal anatomy variation plays some role in maxillary labial frenum thickness – some babies don’t have any issue with their thicker than average frenum, while others may experience feeding difficulties or other issues due to theirs being too short or too thick. Consulting with your doctor or dentist can help you determine if your baby’s frenum requires treatment before any problems arise.
Diagnosing a Lip Tie in Babies
If you suspect your baby may have a lip tie, it is important to diagnose it properly. Generally, diagnosing a lip tie in babies involves inspecting the baby’s lips, gums and tongue. A healthcare professional like a physician or dentist should be able to diagnose a lip tie, as well as assess other factors that may be contributing to difficulty with feeding or latching on.
The assessment process for diagnosing a lip tie in babies usually follows these steps:
- Observe the area around the baby’s lips and gums (inside of the upper lip, just above the incisors) for any signs of tight tissue bands that would indicate a tight frenum.
- Observe how well the baby can open his or her mouth and move the tongue independently from side to side and up and down.
- Place a finger inside the baby’s mouth to see if there is adequate movement of both upper and lower lips away from the teeth when pressure is applied gently with your finger.
- Measure the distance between where the frenum attaches to both upper lip and gum line (known as mucosal attachment).
- Measure amount of tension on frenum when stretched gently away from its attachment point (tensile strength).
By following these steps, healthcare professional can accurately diagnose if your baby has a lip tie that would benefit from treatment options such as frenectomy or laser treatment.
Treatments for a Baby’s Lip Tie
Treatment for a baby’s lip tie depends on the severity of the condition, but typically includes stretching or laser therapy. Stretching is a manual therapy that involves increasing tension on the frenulum to eventually break it away from the gum tissue. The procedure is generally quick and painless for the baby, and can be done with no anesthesia.
Laser therapy, on the other hand, is a more invasive procedure that involves cutting away the frenulum with a specialized laser tool. This method has less discomfort for the baby than stretching and may take only a few minutes to complete. Both treatments are considered safe for babies.
It is important to note that there are risks associated with both procedures, including infection or bleeding as well as risk of damage to surrounding soft tissue or gums. Therefore, it’s important to consult with your pediatrician before opting for either procedure.
Potential Risks of Ignoring a Lip Tie
If a lip tie is left untreated, it can lead to a whole host of problems for the infant. A lip tie can cause difficulty breastfeeding and could even lead to lower weight gain if not addressed quickly. It can also leave the baby’s lips and gums feeling sore. Long-term, it can lead to problems with speech development, as well as trouble eating solids.
Additionally, an untreated lip tie can cause misalignment of the teeth as well as an overbite or underbite later on in life. This misalignment could affect the overall health of the teeth and gums by increasing the risk of cavities and other dental issues.
If you suspect your baby has a lip tie, it is important to get them assessed by a healthcare professional as soon as possible in order to avoid any long-term complications that could arise from leaving it untreated.
In conclusion, lip-ties can be uncomfortable and uncomfortable for babies, as well as their parents or caregivers. It’s important to look out for signs that your baby may have a lip tie, and to get a professional diagnosis from your doctor if you think your baby may be affected. They can then recommend the best treatment option for your baby, whether that’s self-care techniques or a procedure to help alleviate the symptoms. With the right treatment, lip-ties can be managed, and babies can go on to live healthy and happy lives.