Infant Tongue Tie Treatment


Tongue and lip ties can cause infants to have difficulties feeding and they may also contribute to airway issues, malocclusions (altered bite) and speech issues. Early assessment and treatment can help mothers and their babies enjoy the amazing bond of breast-feeding while also decreasing symptoms of gas and colic in the newborn. Many newborns are referred for a tongue and or lip tie release by their pediatrician or lactation consultant.

What is a tongue-tie (ankyloglossia)?

Tongue-tie is a condition in which a cord of tissue (lingual frenum) that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth is short, causing a restricted mobility of the tongue. A normal length of the frenum allows the tongue to move freely within the mouth when eating, swallowing, sucking and talking. A short frenum may cause impaired speech and trouble feeding (breast and bottle).

What is a lip-tie?

The upper lip frenum is located under the top lip, in the centre, and attaches the lip to the upper gums. When this attachment is low it can make it more difficult for the baby to latch during breastfeeding.

How do you know if your baby is tongue or lip tied?

Check if your newborn is able to extend his or her tongue fully or if it has a heart shaped appearance on the tip. You can also try putting your finger in their mouth (pad side up) until they start sucking. Check to see if the tongue extends over the gum line to cup the bottom of your finger. If you find this, along with difficulty feeding you may want to have your infant examined.

How does having a tongue-tie affect your newborn?

The tongue plays an extremely important role in breastfeeding. A tongue tie can negatively impact feeding and it can also have an impact on the growth and development of the palate contributing to snoring, sleep apnea and speech issues.

How is tongue-tie and lip-tie treated?

The release of this tissue can be done with surgical instruments or with a laser, it is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. Performed with a laser it is a fast procedure with minimal bleeding and usually does not require sedation. The procedure is safe with minimal pain and has a fast healing time. The baby is breastfed right after the procedure. Tongue and lip stretches along with suck exercises must be performed 5 times daily for three weeks otherwise the risk for re-attachment is high. We will coach parents how to do these exercises.