Lip and Tongue Tie
Many babies are born with a tongue and/or a lip tie (ankyloglossia), causing restrictions in tongue movement. Tongue ties are sometimes diagnosed during a baby’s routine newborn check, but are often missed until problems with feeding present or until examined by a TOTs trained professional.
What is tongue and lip tie?
It is a remnant of tissue in the midline between the undersurface of the tongue and floor of the mouth that develops at 10w gestation. Ideally, this piece of skin separates from the front to the back end of the tongue before they are born. If this separation doesn’t occur, it can result in functional limitations causing difficulty with breastfeeding and other health problems such as speech difficulties, airway difficulties and digestive issues.
Signs your baby/child may have a lip and/or tongue tie:
- The tip of the tongue looks notched or heart-shaped
- Unable to stick out their tongue or move it past the edge of their lower lip
- The tip of the tongue can’t reach the roof of the mouth
- Difficulty moving their tongue from side to side
- Trouble latching on or staying on the breast
- Long feeding times, or a need to top up
- Feeding feels like a full time job
- Failing to gain weight as quickly as they should
- Making a “clicking” sound when feeding
- Excessive gassiness or colic
- Excessive drooling
- Open mouth breathing and snoring
- Upper lip curls in during feeding
- Rejects a soother
- Dribbles from the bottle or breast
- Baby often sounds congested or mucusy
- Pain with nursing/latching to the mother
- Mother’s nipples are cracked, or mis-shaped after nursing
- Mother has clogged ducts, engorgement, or mastitis
- Gap between two front teeth
- Difficulty with the introduction of solids
- Poor dental hygiene
- Delay or poor speech development
Assessment of tongue and lip tie:
Diagnosis of TOTs (tethered oral tissues) can only be made by a medical doctor or a dentist. However, Dr. Andy is trained in TOTs can relay her clinical impression and guide you to the appropriate and best referrals for further diagnosis and treatment. To be noted, TOTs care is not included in any care provider’s general education, but must be sought out via continuing education. Dr. Andy has such additional education and experience to serve your baby best.
Benefits of care:
Normal tongue function is important as it is needed for a baby to latch and feed efficiently, promote normal speech and facial development, and for proper self-cleansing of the mouth. It also encourages adequate swallowing patterns and allows for proper growth and development. The whole face and airways develop around proper tongue function!
Your baby likely won’t have all the signs mentioned if they are having problems with feeding due to a tongue tie or lip tie. However, if your baby is experiencing any of the signs above, or you feel concerned that your baby may have a tongue tie or a lip tie, please do not hesitate to book a consultation.