YOU HAVE PROBABLY HEARD OF being tongue-tied, but what about lip–tied? Both are actually legitimate medical conditions, and the culprits are pieces of tissue in our mouths called frenula.
Tongue Ties And Lip Ties
We all have a frenulum (or frenum) that connects our upper lips to our upper gums, one that connects our lower lips to our lower gums, and one that connects our tongues to the floors of our mouths. Normally, they are all thin and highly elastic, allowing free movement of our lips and tongues. If someone is literally tongue–tied, it means the lingual frenulum (the one under the tongue) is large enough to restrict the movement of their tongue, creating difficulties with speech, chewing, and swallowing.
Having a “lip tie,” on the other hand, means one of the labial frenula is so thick and/or tight that it restricts movement of the lip it is attached to. Being lip-tied can lead to problems such as a large gap between the teeth, gum recession, and, in infants, not being able to latch while breastfeeding. A thick or tight labial frenula in children can restrict growth in both the upper and lower jaws, creating narrow arches that often cause problems in adulthood.
What Can We Do About It?
Luckily, a simple surgery called a frenectomy can reduce or remove an abnormal frenulum, but do not let the word “surgery” scare you. A frenectomy is definitely worth considering for anyone with these frenulum-related problems, particularly if they are experiencing pain or discomfort.
Frenectomies are relatively quick procedures with short healing times. The way it works is that the doctor will numb the area and make a small incision in the frenulum to make it smaller or remove it. Alternatively, the procedure could involve laser surgery, where the doctor removes the frenulum with a laser. Either way, that pesky lip tie or tongue tie will be gone!
Let’s Take Care Of That Frenulum
For the majority of people, frenulums will never be a problem. If you think any of you or your children’s might be thick or tight enough to cause the above problems, schedule an appointment with us. We can take a look and see if a frenectomy would be a good option. If it is, then we can remove it with a laser in the office.
Thank you for choosing us to take care of that smile!
Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.