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Tongue Ties and Lip Ties

child with tongue tie

Tongue and lip ties are a common issue with infants and young children and can often cause problems with feeding, speaking, and eating solid foods. Tongue ties occur when the membrane that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth is excessively thick, restricting the range of movement of the tongue. Lip ties are a similar issue, but occur when the membrane behind the upper lip is excessively thick or stiff. This interferes with proper lip movement and can cause issues with breastfeeding, which can often be the earliest sign of a lip or tongue tie. 

About Tongue Tie & Lip Tie

What are the effects of an untreated tongue or lip tie?

When left untreated, a tongue or lip tie can have a lasting effect on your child’s health and normal oral functions. The earliest symptoms of a lip or tongue tie include difficulty latching during breastfeeding. However, other symptoms and complications may occur as your child grows if the condition is left uncorrected. Early intervention by a skilled pediatric dental specialist like Dr. Andrew Richardson can help protect your child from the following issues, which may develop over time:


  • Difficulty transitioning to solid foods

  • Speech issues or impediments

  • Gapping and/or crowding of the teeth; alignment issues leading to orthodontic treatment

  • Inability to practice at-home oral hygiene properly

  • Tooth decay

What are the treatments for lip ties and tongue ties?

When your child needs a lip or tongue tie treatment, your child’s doctor or dentist will prescribe a frenectomy. This procedure helps release the tongue tie and oral tissue, which allows your child’s tongue and lips to move freely. A frenectomy is the process of snipping the membrane and providing a wider, more natural range of motion for your child’s tongue and/or lips. 

How do I know if my child needs treatment?

The most common symptom that causes a parent concern is an infant’s difficulty to properly latch onto the breast when breastfeeding. If your baby does not seem to feed effectively, is struggling to gain weight, or tends to drool excessively when feeding, this may indicate that your child has a lip or tongue tie.


If you are looking for an experienced pediatric dentist in Foley, AL, who is skilled in treating lip ties and tongue ties, call Townsley Family Dentistry today and schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Richardson. 

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