What is a Lip/Tongue-Tie?
In Pediatric patients as part of comprehensive examination the evaluation of soft tissues is important. A normal frenum is a connective band bringing two soft tissue pieces together. In some cases, if that band connects too tight or too low it can result in a condition known as a Tongue-Tie or a Lip-Tie. Lip and Tongue-Ties are not a new problem. In fact, a Lip or Tongue-Tie is one of the main reasons given to Moms to wean her child to a bottle instead of breastfeeding. However, having restricted mobility in a child’s lip or tongue can make certain milestones beyond breastfeeding more challenging
Consequences of Untreated Lip and Tongue-Ties
Feeding issues – Many children develop a high arch in their roof of the mouth (palate) as it does not get the benefit of proper shape and molding by the tongue. Many children struggle with transitioning from milk to purees or table foods. While some become picky eaters and have difficulty managing variable texture of table foods.
Speech impact – Many children develop air management and speech clarity or articulation problems due to limited range of motion and elevation of all parts of the tongue required to produce various sounds – l/th/d/n, st/sr/kh/gh, m/p/b and so on.
Dental consequences – Children with lip or tongue tie are prone to developing cavities on the surfaces that do not get the benefit of natural cleansing from the soft tissue of the mouth. Cavities seen on the front part of the incisors or recession of gums near the midline are often attributable to lip ties. Cavities on the chewing surface of the molars are often seen in patients that have a tongue tie and never developed the reflex to clean out the sticky foods after snacks or meals.
Sleep implications – Disordered Breathing and Sleep Apnea are often seen in children that cannot manage the proper posture and tone of the tongue muscle due to restrictions or ties. The tongue remains ‘down and back’ in the mouth which leads to restriction of the airway. Snoring, exhaustion, grinding of teeth, attention deficit disorders, behavioral issues are all now being connected back to sleep disordered breathing in the literature.
How are Tongue-Ties and Lip-Ties treated today?
At Kids World Pediatric Dentistry we use diode laser. The lasers ability to coagulate as it releases tissue allows better healing of the surgical site. Lasers virtually eliminate the need for scalpel or sutures, in most frenectomy cases.
In Kids World Pediatric Dentistry
We work hard to make sure children are comfortable in the dental chair before deciding to move forward with any treatment. This way, your child can sit comfortably while watching their favorite tv show or movie throughout the procedure. In some cases, if your child is managing other medical conditions or dental anxiety, we may discuss other options such as Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) or other forms of sedation to make sure your child is not only comfortable, but safe while receiving the best quality of treatment. We will work with you as a team to make the best decision for your child.