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Why Is Early Detection of Lip and Tongue Tie So Important?

October 21, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — lehighvalley @ 5:58 pm
Happy young girl sticking her tongue out

Lip and tongue tie are congenital conditions that restrict the movement of the lip and/or tongue. They occur because connective tissues within the mouth, called frenulums or frenums, are too thick or short, thereby limiting how well the oral structures can function. Sadly, some cases of lip and tongue tie are not diagnosed until a person is well into childhood — some people do not receive treatment until adulthood! The earlier these conditions are recognized and treated, the better. Why exactly is early detection of lip and tongue tie so important? This blog post explains.

Negative Effects on Infants and Mothers

Untreated lip or tongue tie can cause problems both for infants and their mothers. For example, a baby may not be able to latch properly during breastfeeding. This can result in slow weight gain, fussiness, and very frequent feeding sessions. Breastfeeding moms may struggle with low milk supply, sore nipples, and blocked milk ducts.

Negative Effects on Children

If lip or tongue tie remains untreated after infancy and into early childhood, it can continue to cause problems, such as:

  • Lip tie can cause a gap between the front teeth, and tongue tie can cause the tongue to push against the front lower teeth. Such issues often lead to the need for expensive orthodontic treatment.
  • Lip and tongue tie can make it difficult for children to pronounce certain sounds.
  • A child may have aversions to certain types of food.
  • Limited tongue movement can allow food debris to remain lodged next to the teeth for an extended period of time, leading to dental decay.
  • Tongue tie is a known risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that is associated with behavioral problems in children.

The complications associated with lip and tongue tie can continue into adulthood, leading to lifelong problems.

Early Detection and Treatment Can Help

Lip and tongue tie are treated with a minimally invasive procedure known as a frenectomy, which is safe to perform on even very young infants. Within just a few minutes, a tongue tie can be released, and the baby can start to breastfeed right away. The child is likely to grow up without any further complications from their condition.

Children, teens, and adults who undergo a frenectomy may need therapy before and after their surgery to help them learn how to use their oral structures properly. They might also need braces or other treatments to improve their oral health.

Early detection and treatment of lip and tongue tie could spare your child from a lot of trouble! Be sure to have your little one evaluated for these conditions as soon as possible.

Meet the Practice

Dr. N. Garcia-DeMartino is an experienced dentist who uses advanced laser technology to treat lip and tongue tie in patients of all ages. If you believe that your child has one of these conditions, Dr. DeMartino and our team would be happy to evaluate the situation and recommend your next steps. Contact our Phillipsburg office at 908-859-5260.

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