Integrative Dental Of Denver

771 Southpark Drive Suite #100, Littleton, CO, 80120

Tongue & Lie Tie

What is a Tongue/Lip-Tie?

What is a Tongue Lip-Tie? Why does it matter?

What is a tongue-tie? Why does it matter?

Ankyloglossia, commonly referred to as tongue-tie is caused by a patient having a short lingual frenulum. The lingual frenulum is the fold of mucus membrane located directly under your tongue that connects the tongue to the floor of your mouth. It helps to stabilize the tongue and helps you perform important functions related to speech, eating, and swallowing.

Breastfeeding without tongue mobility:  A tongue-tie will often frustrate a mom’s attempts at successful breastfeeding. When an infant has a tongue-tie, it lacks the proper mobility to raise the tongue enough to create a sufficient vacuum for effective latching & sucking. 

This is why some infants will nurse for extended periods of time with only the smallest transfer of milk. This not only causes issues of undernourishment, but can also cause a mother’s milk supply to decrease, stagnate and/or become infected.  This can often result in blocked ducts, mastitis, or blebs/milk blisters.

Facial development without proper rest oral posture: When the tongue has limited mobility, facial development can suffer. The tongue is what drives the growth of the middle part of the face.  In order for the upper jaw and mid-facial bones to develop as they were designed to, a child must practice proper oral rest posture. Proper rest oral posture happens when the mouth is at rest, the lips are sealed, breathing is happening primarily through the nose and the tongue is resting on the roof of the mouth.  Because they bind the tongue to the floor of the mouth, Tongue-ties inhibit proper rest oral posture. 

The tongue as an orthodontic appliance: The tongue is a powerful muscle that, when positioned properly, shapes the upper dental arch and helps the upper jaw grow forward in the face. When the tongue is tied, the face doesn’t develop forward properly and the airway tends to be under sized. A smaller airway can lead to sleep related breathing disorders and other chronic health conditions.

Sleep Apnea and the tongue:  A tongue-tie can lead to an increased incidence of sleep apnea in not only adults, but in infants and children.  Research is now showing the infant sleep apnea can correlate with SIDS. This is why it is so important for the tongue to be free to function properly, so the face will develop as it was designed to.

Tongue-ties and speech problems:  The tongue must have full range of motion for it to be able to form certain sounds.  When the tongue is tied and tethered to the floor of their mouth, it can cause difficulty in making certain sounds and delayed speech. If a tongue is tied, speech therapy alone may not be enough to correct the issue and releasing the tongue may become necessary.

If you can identify with anything you have read about tongue ties, please contact us to schedule an appointment for an evaluation!

What is a lip-tie? Why does it matter?

It’s often much easier to see a lip-tie on your little one than it is to see a tongue-tie. 

The upper lip and breastfeeding:  The lip plays an important role in breastfeeding and needs to have proper mobility in order to phalange outward and allow for a deep enough latch. The lip attaches to the maxillary gum tissue and is called the maxillary lip (Labial) frenulum. The upper lip frenulum only becomes a concern if there isn’t sufficient mobility of the lip to allow for proper breastfeeding.  It is at this point that we would consider the upper lip tied.

How the upper lip helps with latching:  The main problem with a lip tie is that it interferes with the baby’s ability to achieve a deep enough latch. This can cause a pinching sensation for the mother as the lip–tie interferes with the baby’s ability to draw the nipple far back enough into the roof of her mouth. In addition, if the latch isn’t deep enough, your baby’s mouth will slip or pop off during feedings.  The popping off may not be a complete release but will often be associated with clicking or popping noises. These sounds are an indication of a latch that is not well established.  If the upper lip has sufficient mobility and these symptoms are not an issue, the lip tie does not need to be released.  

If you can identify with anything you have read about tongue-ties, please contact us to schedule an appointment for an evaluation!

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