Watch Your Mouth!: A Guide to Tongue Tie and Lip Tie

Tongue tie and lip tie are conditions that restrict the tongue or lip’s range of motion. Most commonly found in infants and young children, these anatomical abnormalities usually occur in tandem. They are also often easy to diagnose and treat by trained professionals. 

Tongue Tie


Tongue tie, or ankyloglossia, occurs when tight, connective tissue tethers the tongue to the floor of the mouth. With roughly three million cases in the U.S. per year, this condition is often genetic and is more prevalent in boys than girls. The duration can last anywhere from years to a lifetime. 


  • It can impair an infant’s ability to latch during breastfeeding and can thus impact his or her ability to gain weight. 

  • In young children, it can continue to affect their ability to eat correctly.

  • It may impact a child’s speech.

  • It can have a negative effect on the normal growth and development of the jaws and face.

  • It can contribute to problems such as mouth breathing, snoring, poor sleep and attention.


If your infant or child exhibits any of the signs listed above, you may be able to assess whether or not they may have tongue or lip ties simply by looking into their mouth.  What is the range of motion when they move their tongue side to side, up and down, or in and out? If you suspect your little one might have a tongue tie, be sure to set up an appointment with their pediatric dentist for a professional assessment.  Once they determine whether this abnormality is present, they will assess the severity and suggest treatment options. 


In some cases, as a baby gets older, a tongue tie may resolve itself. However, depending on the severity of your child’s condition, there is a surgical option. Tongue tie surgery, called a frenectomy, usually does not require anesthesia, and can often be performed in a matter of minutes!

Lip Tie


Similar to tongue tie, lip tie is a condition in which an infant or child exhibits a difference in the anatomy of his or her mouth. Lip tie occurs when the upper lip is connected to the upper gums by a tight and sometimes wide band of tissue. 


  • Newborns exhibit trouble latching during breastfeeding, subsequently impacting weight gain. 

  • The infant either becomes visibly tired or, in some cases, falls asleep while feeding. 

  • The mother experiences discomfort from breastfeeding her child. This can include pain, breast swelling, and blocked milk ducts.

  • There may be abnormally large spaces between the front teeth.

  • Cavities may form either from milk pooling under the lip or from difficulty in brushing the teeth.


If your infant is experiencing trouble breastfeeding, you can contact a lactation consultant and a pediatric dentist. Upon assessment, a professional will categorize your child’s lip tie based on severity and advise you if treatment is necessary. 


Just like tongue tie surgery, lip tie can be release can be performed by a surgical laser or scissor and is often quick and painless. 

Not all doctors are able to offer this service. However, due to Dr. Dan’s educational background and experience, Children’s Dental Specialities proudly provides tongue tie and lip tie assessments as well as treatment options. If your infant or child exhibits any of the symptoms listed above, make an appointment today!

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