What You Need to Know About Lip Tie in Babies

Lip tie in babies is not as common as tongue ties. However, it can cause some difficulties, especially while breastfeeding and gaining weight. But, they are easy to correct after they are diagnosed.

What is a Lip Tie?

When there is insufficient space between your baby’s upper and lower gums, it is a medical condition known as a lip tie. It can be either because the labial frenulum is closely attached to one side of their upper gum or when their frenulum is too short (a condition called ankyloglossia)

There are four levels of lip ties, with level 1 being minor and level 4 being the most severe.

Lip Tie Symptoms in Babies

Your child will face difficulty in breastfeeding if they have a lip tie, but other symptoms accompany it. Although a lip tie needs to be medically diagnosed by a professional, you can still look out for:

  • trouble breathing while feeding
  • difficulty latching on to the breast
  • a clicking sound while nursing
  • dozing off while nursing
  • being fatigued by nursing
  • difficulty gaining weight
  • colic

The mother might experience these symptoms if she is breastfeeding a child with lip tie:

  • pain while breastfeeding or after it
  • sore or engorged breasts even instantly after nursing
  • mastitis or blocked milk ducts

What Problems Can a Lip Tie Cause?

Lip tie in babies, especially a severe one, can come with many complications. Not only does it make breastfeeding difficult, but it also leads to dental issues. The lip tie problems that can develop later in life are:

  • Dental Problems: Food and milk particles can get stuck between teeth because of the problematic upper lip. Moreover, bacteria might accumulate in the area, causing gum recession. Thus, cleaning the area and your baby’s teeth and gums is essential to avoid dental complications. The food particles and bacteria can cause tooth decay and dental problems. Hence, you should consult your pediatric dentist to discuss strategies to deal with lip tie.
  • Problems in Eating: Lip tie in babies can cause more complications as they grow up. They might face difficulty using a spoon to eat and their lips to manipulate food bites. This can impact their nutrition, and they might become a picky eater.

Is It Possible to Correct a Lip Tie?

A pediatric dentist can correct the lip tie in babies by performing a procedure called Frenectomy. It is a short surgical procedure in which your baby will lie on a table or a chair (they might be strapped down to restrict movement if need be). Then, the dental specialist will rub a numbing solution into your baby’s gums, preventing any discomfort. Lastly, they will cut the piece of skin connecting the lip to the gums with a handheld laser or a sterilized surgical scissor.

Some babies immediately start latching on easily, while others take time to adjust. The pediatric dentist will advise you to complete stretches like pulling the upper lip and gently rub the area with a clean finger following the procedure. This will help prevent the skin from growing back together.

Level 1 and Level 2 lip ties in babies can be fixed with therapy techniques. Level 3 and Level 4 need a Frenectomy procedure by a pediatrician or a pediatric dentist.

What’s The Takeaway?

A lip tie in babies is rare, but a pediatric dentist can correct it once diagnosed. Make sure to look out for the signs of lip tie and get immediate medical attention if you suspect it. Want to talk to a pediatric dentist about your baby’s oral health? The best pediatric dentists are available in Kids 4 Ever Pediatric Dentistry; call us at 832-300-8444.

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