What is a Lip Tie?
Lip ties — much like tongue ties — involve natural anatomy that keeps the lips from having a full range of motion.
The labial frenum is a tiny strip of skin just inside of the lip, where the center of your lip attaches to the jaw. It ties into the mouth just below the two center teeth, on both the upper and lower arches.
Generally, the frenum is loose enough that a baby or child can nurse, suck on a bottle, eat table foods, and learn to speak without an impediment. But in instances where that small strip of skin is too tight, all of those normal life skills can be challenged.
Natural Lip Tie Correction
As uncomfortable as it sounds, most children with a tight labial frenum will eventually bump or fall, naturally tearing the tissue and loosening up the lip. But sometimes that just isn’t the case, or the tissues are too tight that professional intervention is necessary.
Lip Tie Treatment
A lip tie treatment may be needed as early as 2-3 days old in an infant, or when a child is about to enter school for the first time. It depends on the symptoms noticed by parents and pediatricians.
For example, your newborn baby is especially fussy and isn’t soothed when eating. She’s losing weight and your doctor recommends pumping or supplementing with formula in a bottle. She won’t drink it. Upon examination, your pediatrician, midwife, pedodontist or family dentist observes a tight strip of skin just inside of her lip. It turns out she’s lip tied.
By loosening the labial frenum, your baby can free up her lips for a better latch. She’s immediately able to take in more milk, feel satisfied, and grow.
Depending on your doctor’s capabilities and equipment, the actual lip tie treatment is a fairly straightforward process. Numbing may not even be necessary! In less than a minute, the skin can be trimmed away and your baby can comfortably eat.
Sometimes lip ties aren’t apparent until a child is much older. If your son or daughter is in middle school and requires speech therapy for a lisp or speech impediment, your speech therapist may recommend a labial frenectomy.
For older children, a bit of numbing gel or even local anesthetic may be needed. The skin can be trimmed or lasered away.
Recovery time is minimal, and there’s no post-operative care needed. Your child will need to use special exercises to stretch and train their lips to extend, also preventing the skin from adhering back into place.
See a Dentist Trained in Lip Ties
Kois Center dentists take more into account than just the health of your teeth and gums. Everything about your oral anatomy from your lips to your jaw structure can affect your oral health and lifestyle. Lip ties are no different.
If you suspect that you have a tight labial frenum or your child is experiencing difficulty, schedule an exam with a Kois Center dentist in your area.