When a child is born with a piece of tissue connecting their upper lip to their upper gum, they have a condition known as a lip tie. Left untreated, a lip tie can cause functional problems in a child’s mouth, restricting its mobility. Nia Pediatric specializes in the treatment of lip ties, and we’ve provided some information below to help you become more informed about the condition.
What is a Lip Tie?
A lip tie occurs when the membranes in the frenulum (the piece of tissue that is directly behind the upper lip) are too thick, keeping the upper lip from moving as it should. A lip tie is not the same as a tongue tie, which sometimes goes away on its own. A lip tie should be treated when it is found to ensure the proper development of your child.
What are the different kinds of lip tie?
The lip tie has four “levels” that describe the severity of the tie. Class 1 is the mildest and Class 4 is the most severe.
- Class 1 – Mucosal
- Class 2 – Gingival
- Class 3 – Papillary
- Class 4 – Papilla Penetrating
Lip ties can occur on the upper or the lower lip, or it can occur in both places. Lip ties often accompany tongue ties, but they should be treated as separate cases.
What are the Symptoms of a Lip Tie?
If you haven’t had your baby evaluated by a doctor, look out for these signs:
- Inability to latch deeply, if at all
- Difficulty staying on the breast
- Making a clicking sound
- Spluttering or choking on milk
- Cluster feeding
- Exhibiting poor weight gain
- Developing jaundice
Mothers may experience these symptoms:
- Feeling pain during feedings
- Having damaged or distorted nipples
- Developing engorgement, blocked, ducts, or mastitis
- Having milk supply issues
What Does a Lip Tie Look Like?
- No significant attachment
- Attachment mostly into the gum tissue
- Attachment where the future upper front teeth will be
- Attachment that extends to the palate of the mouth
What are the complications of a lip tie?
If your baby has a lip tie, they may have trouble breastfeeding because of difficulty creating an appropriate latch; this may lead to malnutrition in an infant. Mothers may also experience discomfort when breastfeeding a baby with a lip tie.
Lip ties have also been associated with tooth decay that occurs near the gumline. Lip ties interfere with the sensitive oral hygiene that a child must have in order to properly develop. Gum recession can occur with a lip tie that is not treated.
How do you feed a child with a lip tie?
Babies that have lip ties may have an easier time feeding from a bottle, however, mothers that want to breastfeed have options. It is recommended to soften the breast before feeding and practice the proper latch technique with a professional lactation consultant for best results.
How is a lip tie treated?
A successful lip tie treatment is handled through a pediatric dentist, who does a procedure called a lip-tie reversal, or frenectomy. This is a surgical procedure that is minimally painful, and takes just a few minutes.
During the procedure:
- The mom lays on the dentist chair holding her child during procedure
- The dentist applies a topical numbing agent
- The dentist uses a small handheld laser to precisely “cut” the lip tie.
- The baby is then free to nurse or be comforted by their mother
- The dentist will provide post-op instructions such as pain relief measures and post-procedure exercises
Contact Nia Pediatric for Lip Tie Treatment
Nia Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics is your one stop shop for child dental care in metro Atlanta. If you have any questions about your child’s oral health, or would like more information about lip tie treatment, contact us today for more information.