What is a Lip Tie or Tongue Tie?

Most of us are born with some form of lip or tongue tie, but in many cases, these bands of tissue pose no problem as we develop into childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Over time through fetal development the frenum should separate naturally. If this band of tissue does not separate, however, from the gingiva or gums of the upper jaw or floor of the mouth, it results in babies and children having a lip or tongue that can be restricted in its movements, causing issues with breastfeeding, sleep, eating, and sinus complications.

What is a Lip Tie?

The lip frenulum (or lip tie) is a small band of tissue that connects your lip to the front of your gum. The tie ensures your lip moves properly when you smile and speak, but it can also interfere with those functions if it's too large or doesn’t separate as it should over time. Babies are often born with lip ties that keep their lower and upper lips too close to their gum tissue, but if these ties are larger than normal, they can experience difficulty securing a latch to feed. Having the lip tie trimmed allows your baby to move their lips more comfortably, leading to better feeding and sleep in most cases.

What is a Tongue Tie?

There's another small frenulum under your tongue as well, which can become problematic for both children and adults if it’s too large or doesn’t separate over time. In babies, a large tongue tie can prevent the child from pressing securely against the nipple and getting proper suction. You'll notice a lot of burping or spitting up of milk and a lack of weight gain. For adults, tongue ties interfere with sleep and can cause issues with sinuses, TMJ, headaches, and even eating and speaking. Just like with babies and children, adults can seek treatment to correct their lip or tongue tie to address these issues.  

What is a Frenectomy?

The process of cutting or trimming the frenulum is known as a frenectomy whether it involves the lips or tongue. Some patients may need a double lip frenectomy or just a single trim of the top or bottom frenulum. Babies and adults alike only experience mild discomfort for a few days after the treatment and don't need to make any major changes to their routine. At Cusp Dental Boutique in Virgina Beach, our specialized team uses a laser to perform frenectomies, benefiting patients in a number of ways such as:  

  • No sedation needed
  • Fast treatment
  • Fast recovery – You can nurse right after treatment
  • Decreased risk for infection
  • Decreased risk of bleeding, swelling, discomfort  

How Does a Frenectomy Help Babies and Mothers?

Babies who are experiencing problems with a tongue or lip tie often struggle to breastfeed, causing issues with weight gain and sleep, and sometimes pain for mothers. Other signs of issues with this kind of tie include clicking sounds during feeding, frequent spit-ups, or sustained cluster feeding.  

How Does a Frenectomy Work for Adults?

Frenectomies are not just for babies and children. If you are experiencing issues with sleep, snoring, TMJ, head & neck pain, or sinus issues, it could be related to an undiagnosed lip or tongue tie. Your Virginia Beach dentist can discuss with you your best options for treatment.

Who Should Handle the Frenectomy?

This kind of treatment should be handled by a dentist or pediatrician who specializes in frenectomies such as the Untethered care team at Cusp Dental Boutique.

If you're concerned you or your child may be having issues with a lip or tongue tie, schedule a consultation with Dr. Hamlin and our dedicated team.

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