Pediatric ENT Tongue-Tie and Upper Lip Tie

Medically known as ankyloglossia, tongue-tie is a common physical condition that often appears in infancy and early childhood. Tongue or upper lip tie occurs when the frenulum, the strong cord of tissue that helps guide the development of mouth structures, is too tight, or fails to recede as the child grows and matures. If left untreated, these conditions can result in eating or speech difficulties.

Symptoms of Tongue-tie (Ankyloglossia)

Symptoms of tongue-tie in infants include:

  • Poor weight gain.
  • Difficulty latching during breast feeding.

Mothers of infants with tongue-tie may experience significant pain while nursing, as well as low milk supply. Before abandoning breast feeding entirely, women who experience these difficulties should consult their child’s pediatrician about the possibility of tongue-tie or upper lip tie.

Symptoms of tongue-tie in toddlers and older children include:

  • Speech impediments.
  • Difficulty articulating the sounds l, r, t, d, n, th, sh, and z.
  • Inability to stick the tongue out beyond the upper gums.
  • Trouble moving the tongue from side to side.
  • Inability to touch his or her tongue to the roof of the mouth.

In order to determine whether a child suffers from tongue-tie, parents may stop to consider whether their child can lick a lollipop or an ice cream cone without difficulty. If the answer is no, then it is important to consult a pediatrician or an ENT doctor.

What is upper lip tie?

This occurs when a band of tissue connects the upper lip to the soft tissue of the upper jaw. This usually does not cause problems in infants, however some children have difficulty nursing. Some mothers report decreased pain with nursing after the lip tie is corrected. In toddlers and older children, upper lip tie can cause problems with the smile line and a space between the upper teeth.

Treatment of Tongue-tie at Northwest ENT and Allergy Center

Tongue or lip tie is typically treated with an in-office procedure known as a frenectomy. This procedure can be performed in a physician’s office at Northwest ENT and Allergy Center for especially young infants (under six weeks old). For older children, general anesthesia may be recommended. Children with tongue-tie often display self-esteem problems as a result of their condition; a frenectomy can treat the emotional symptoms of tongue-tie as well as the physical ones.

Contact Northwest ENT and Allergy Center at (770) 427-0368 to schedule an appointment at one of our locations today.