Starting right in life: Proactive, gentle, advanced care of tongue and lip ties

Tongue tie and lip tie are among a category of conditions characterized, ironically, as “TOTs.” These “tethered oral tissues” are just as their name suggests: the oral tissue may have developed in a way that resulted in it becoming tethered or connected improperly. These tethered tissues may present challenges to your child’s health and essential, basic functions. If a tongue tie and/or lip tie are suspected, a conservative approach is best. Initial consultation with a lactation specialist is highly recommended for breastfeeding babies. Likewise, children with speech concerns should be seen in conjunction with a speech pathologist prior to deciding on a frenectomy. 

Ankyloglossia is the medical term for “tongue tie.” This condition arises when the fibrous lingual frenulum band is overly short, thick, or tight. This tissue causes the tongue to be “tied” to the floor of the mouth; it restricts the movement that supports proper function. 

Maxillary labial frenulum is the medical term associated with “lip tie.” It, too, restricts movement and negatively affects function early in life. The lip frenulum that connects the gums and tissues of the upper jaw and lip may not be long enough or in the correct position to support unrestricted movement. Whenever such motion or range of movement is restricted, functional problems tend to follow. 

These problems and anatomical anomalies may further hurt a child’s development during their formative months and years. Common complications of TOTs may include:

  • Poor “latching” 
  • Challenges with breastfeeding and getting proper nutrition early in life
  • Painful swallowing
  • Disordered breathing during sleep, for instance, snoring 
  • Challenges to the healthy development of the jaws 
  • Misaligned teeth 
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Speech impediments
  • Acid reflux
  • Intense or persistent thumb-sucking and other myofunctional problems 

Fortunately, if consultation with a lactation specialist or speech pathologist recommends a frenectomy, Dr. Christensen is prepared to help resolve these and other complications of lip/tongue ties. A frenectomy is a straightforward process that involves releasing those tethered tissues responsible for a limited range of motion and an array of functional challenges. 

Now, instead of invasively cutting the tissue with a scalpel, we can use a laser system instead. This technology allows us to reshape tissues without traditionally invasive cutting techniques and instruments. Due to the highly targeted, light-touch of laser-assisted frenectomy, many of the risks associated with traditional surgical procedures are minimized. 

Our young patients enjoy a gentle procedure and fast, natural, painless healing. With their range of motion restored, healthy development and function are supported and sustained. 

What we do now to assist our pediatric patients can make a tremendous positive difference in their overall health, well-being, and quality of life into adulthood! 

Call (801) 845-3565 with questions or to schedule an appointment today at Christensen Pediatric Dental in Ogden, UT. Your child’s best health and fullest life await.