Have you heard an inarticulate person described as “tongue-tied” before? The origins of this idiom come from a medical condition called a lip and tongue tie. This condition is fairly common in babies and newborns, most of whom grow up to become perfectly articulate speakers and communicators! The first step is knowing what to do when your child shows signs of a lip tie.

A pediatric dentist can be a great resource when it’s time to decide on the next steps. If you are in Kentucky, our Georgetown dentist is ready and willing to support you with lip ties and other dental concerns.

Read on to learn more about lip tie in newborn babies, and how the top kids dentist in Georgetown can help.

What Is a Lip Tie?

An upper lip tie describes a small piece of tissue that connects a baby’s upper lip to their upper gum. The piece of tissue behind your child’s upper lip is the frenulum. A lip tie develops when the membranes in your child’s frenulum are too thick, restricting movement in the upper lip.

Lip ties are not the same thing as tongue ties. A tongue-tie describes a similar issue, restricting movement to the tongue. While a tongue-tie will occasionally resolve on its own, a lip tie requires intervention from a Lexington pediatric dentist.

Some children experience both a tongue tie and a lip tie. Even so, a dentist will treat them as individual conditions, each with a unique treatment. A pediatric dentist with lip tie experience can often also provide advice for how to handle a tongue tie as well.

Kinds of Lip Ties

A lip tie is often described based on its severity. There are four different tiers or levels used to describe a lip tie that can help your pediatric dentist choose the right intervention.

A class one lip tie is a mucosal lip tie, which describes the least severe case. In this instance, there may be some attachment, but it is not often severe. It can still cause issues with feeding and latching.

Class two is a gingival lip tie and class three is a papillary lip tie. A gingival lip tie involves the attachment of the gum tissue to the lip tissue. A papillary lip tie is an attachment of lip tissue where your child’s upper teeth will eventually emerge.

The most severe lip tie is a class four lip tie, also known as a papilla penetrating lip tie. This is an attachment that extends from the lip to the palate at the roof of your child’s mouth.

Any class of lip tie can occur on either the upper or lower lip. It is not uncommon for children to experience a lip tie in both places.

If you have concerns that your child may have a lip tie, you can usually see the extra tissue when you examine your child’s mouth. The more severe the lip tie, the more obvious the tissue will be.

If you have concerns, consult a pediatric dentist with tongue-tie experience near me in Georgetown and the surrounding area.

Signs and Symptoms of a Lip Tie In Your Baby

When should you contact a pediatric dentist about a possible lip-tie in your baby? Most mothers notice that something may be wrong beginning with feeding difficulties very early in life.

Children with a lip tie may struggle or fail to latch onto the breast, creating feeding challenges from the beginning. They may have difficulty gaining weight as a result, and some babies even develop jaundice. Some children have issues with choking on milk or produce a clicking sound during feeding because of the extra lip tissue.

Mothers might notice pain, damage, or distortion in the nipples, and many mothers develop mastitis or other complications.

If uncorrected, children with lip ties have issues with tooth decay near the gumline. Others may experience gum recession and struggle with lifelong tooth sensitivity. Often, children with lip ties struggle with speech and language and may deal with social and academic issues as a result.

How Does a Dentist Fix a Lip Tie?

At Pediatric Dentistry of Hamburg in Georgetown, KY, we’re experienced in helping fix lip ties in newborns and children. We do this using a procedure called a frenectomy. Sometimes we call this procedure a lip tie reversal.

We know that it’s stressful when your baby needs to undergo a procedure. A frenectomy is quick and involves just a little bit of short-term discomfort. You will be able to hold your child for the duration of the reversal procedure.

Your child’s dentist will begin by numbing the area so your child will be comfortable throughout. From there, the dentist will use a laser to quickly and efficiently cut the lip tie. Because your baby will already be in your arms, you can immediately nurse or comfort your child.

If your child does experience any pain or discomfort in the aftermath, your dentist will provide you with clear instructions to help them recover. Often, any feeding issues resolve in the aftermath of the reversal procedure. For children with a severe lip tie, this quick and simple procedure can be life-changing for entire families.

Pediatric Dentistry of Hamburg Is Here to Help

A lip tie is not uncommon in babies and newborns, but it can make early life difficult you leave it unaddressed. At Pediatric Dentistry of Hamburg in Georgetown or Lexington, we’re here to treat your child’s lip tie so they can thrive. Our experienced and professional pediatric dentists are ready to answer your questions so you can get back to enjoying your baby’s milestones.

If you’re ready to get your child some relief, you can contact us today. We can’t wait to meet your baby and support you as you decide on your child’s treatment.