What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Tongue Tie and Lip Tie and How Are They Diagnosed by Dentists or Pediatricians?

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Tongue Tie and Lip Tie and How Are They Diagnosed by Dentists or Pediatricians?

Jun 01, 2023

What Is Tongue Tie and Lip Tie?

They are medical conditions that occur when there is an abnormal attachment of the tongue or lip to the mouth.

Tongue tie, also called ankyloglossia, is a condition where the tissue (lingual frenulum) connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth is too short or thick, limiting the tongue’s range of motion. A lip tie, on the other hand, occurs when the tissue that connects the upper or lower lip to the gums is too thick or tight.

Signs and Symptoms of Tongue Tie and Lip Tie

The signs and symptoms of tongue tie and lip tie can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Tongue Tie:
  1. Difficulty sticking out the tongue past the lower front teeth
  2. Difficulty moving the tongue side to side
  3. Hardship lifting the tongue to the upper teeth or roof of the mouth
  4. Speech difficulties – particularly pronouncing certain sounds
  5. Difficulty breastfeeding or bottle feeding as an infant
  6. Inability to lick ice cream
  7. Clicking or popping sounds when moving the tongue
  • Lip Tie:
  1. Difficulty latching during breastfeeding
  2. Excessive drooling
  3. Difficulty keeping food in the mouth
  4. A gap between the two front teeth
  5. Gum recession or periodontal disease later in life
  6. Difficulty playing wind instruments

How Do Dentists or Pediatricians Diagnose Tongue Tie and Lip Tie?

Technically, not all people with tongue or lip ties may experience symptoms. In fact, some may not realize they have the condition until later in life. Therefore, you need a dental expert to diagnose the problem and offer appropriate treatment.

Dentists or pediatricians at Little Fish Dental can diagnose tongue tie and lip tie by performing a physical examination of the mouth and evaluating the range of motion of the tongue and lip.

During such a dental examination, the dentist at Children’s Dentistry in Rocklin, CA, will look for signs of a restricted frenulum. It may look like a tight band of tissue connecting the tongue or lip to the mouth. The dentist will also observe the child’s ability to move the tongue or lip while noting speech difficulties or feeding problems.

For further evaluation, a dentist may use a tongue depressor to gently push down on the tongue and observe its range of motion. (S)he may also use a lip ruler to measure the distance between the upper lip and the gum line.

In some situations, a pediatric dentist near you may suggest additional tests, such as an ultrasound or x-ray, to evaluate the extent of the condition and determine the best course of treatment.

What Follow-Up Care Is Necessary After a Tongue Tie or Lip Tie Release?

Several follow-up care steps can promote healing and improve the outcomes of a frenectomy procedure. These may include:

  1. Continue breastfeeding or bottle feeding as soon as possible after the procedure. It promotes healing and betters any feeding difficulties present before the procedure.
  2. Take medicine for pain management. After the procedure, the child will experience some pain or discomfort. Pain medications help relieve pain.
  3. Wound care – may include rinsing the mouth with salt water or using an antimicrobial rinse to help prevent infection.
  4. Dietary restrictions are necessary to prevent aggravating the wound before it heals completely.

What Steps Can Be Taken to Promote Healing and Prevent Infection?

To promote healing and prevent infection after tongue tie & lip tie releases in Rocklin, CA, consider the following steps:

  1. Disinfect the wound: Gently rinse the mouth with salt water or an antimicrobial rinse as directed by a pediatric dentist near you.
  2. Practice good oral hygiene: Brush and floss the teeth, as usual, to maintain a clean mouth while avoiding the wound site.
  3. Avoid irritating foods and liquids: Spicy or acidic foods and hot liquids may irritate the wound.
  4. Take pain medication: Over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen can help relieve pain. Follow your dentist’s instructions on when and how to take these medications.
  5. Apply a numbing gel or rinse to help with pain relief.
  6. Follow-up with a dentist: Attend all follow-up appointments for monitoring the healing process to ensure no complications.
  7. Follow dietary restrictions by your dentist for a while after the procedure to prevent irritation or infection.

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