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How Do Lip Ties Impact Toddlers?

April 4, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Michael Royse @ 5:57 pm
a closeup of a toddler smiling

As parents, it’s important to be mindful of everything that can affect the health of our children – however, sometimes issues that seem innocent, small, or remain hidden end up being quite problematic! Lip ties, though often overlooked, can have a pretty significant impact on a toddler’s development and overall well-being. Here’s a closer look at what exactly this issue is, along with its potential impact and possible avenues of treatment.

What Is a Lip Tie?

A lip tie is a condition where the tissue connecting the upper lip to the gums, referred to medically as the frenulum, is too tight or too restrictive. This restriction can vary in severity, from mild restriction to a more pronounced tie that greatly limits movement of the upper lip. Tongue ties, which are similar conditions, affect the tissue that connects the bottom of the tongue to the lower lip.

How Do Lip Ties Impact Toddlers?

Although lip ties are fairly common, affecting roughly 1 in every 20 children, they can be quite problematic if left unaddressed. For example, lip ties can interfere with breastfeeding and bottle feeding, as the restricted upper lip movement may make it difficult for children to latch properly.

Likewise, lip ties can also restrict the mouth movements necessary for proper speech, and toddlers might struggle to pronounce certain sounds as they’re learning to speak, leading to impaired speech development and negatively impacted self-esteem. Lip ties can also contribute to dental problems too, including improper tooth alignment or even gaps between the front teeth. Needless to say, these issues can carry on into adulthood and worsen and trigger further complications.   

Can Lip Ties Be Treated?

Since lip ties can have a range of negative effects on children, early recognition and intervention are key. Thankfully, lip ties can be treated fairly easily with the assistance of a pediatric dentist through a procedure known as a frenectomy. This involves using a soft tissue laser to gently reshape the frenulum as needed, allowing for much greater movement and no unnatural restriction. Better yet, the process is quick, safe, and can be made to be completely pain-free.

About the Practice

The team at the Dentists at Orenco for Kids has proudly served families in the Hillsboro, OR community for several years, offering a wide range of services for young children to help them achieve radiant and healthy smiles! If you have any questions about the blog or you’d like to get in touch with the team to set up a visit for your child, you can visit their website or call them today for further information or assistance. Telephone: (503) 640-6565.  

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