Could it be a tie?
Does your baby have difficulty nursing and failure to gain weight? Your baby may have a lip or tongue tie.
During the embryologic development, this tongue is initially attached to the floor of the mouth. This attachment usually partially disappears and, in most cases, reduces naturally from the tip toward the base of the tongue. When this piece of tissue fails to reduce its attachment, it may restrict the ability of the tongue to have adequate mobility. Problems which can be associated with ankyloglossia, tongue tie, may include difficulties that exist from birth and throughout a lifetime.
This may be responsible for allowing many of the following concerns to develop.
- Poor latch
- Colic and excessive gassiness
- Inadequate milk intake
- Poor weight gain
- Falling asleep on the breast
- Extended nursing episodes
- Unable to sustain a latch or deep enough latch
- Unable to hold a pacifier
- Early weaning from the breast
- Difficulty or inability to breastfeed
- Painful compression of nipples
- Mastitis, engorgement, thrush
- Anxiety, stress and fatigue
- Postpartum depression
- Slow weight loss from pregnancy
- Early cessation of lactation
- Bleeding, cracked and flattened nipples
- Low milk supply
- Feelings of guilt
These attachments can potentially cause many problems. Infants suffer with the ability to sustain a proper latch. Large gaps between front teeth and other orthodontic problems can develop. While nursing, the infant may experience pain or develop decay on the upper front teeth. Esthetic problems and speech problems are common problems with lip and tongue ties. Adults with ties may experience poor oral hygiene, esthetic problems and even periodontal disease.
A tight upper lip frenum attachment may compromise full lip flanging and appear as a tight, tense upper lip during nursing. This can result in a shallow latch during breastfeeding. Additionally, the tight upper lip may trap milk, resulting in constant contact of the milk to the front teeth. This can result in decalcification and dental decay can develop when the milk is not cleaned off of these areas. This same issue can occur with bottle-feeding. If the frenum is attached close to the ridge or into the palate, a future diastema (gap between the teeth) can also occur.
A tight lower tongue frenum attachment may restrict the mobility of the tongue and appear as a cupping or heart-shaped tongue when the tongue is elevated. This can result in inability to get the tongue under the nipple to create a suction to draw out milk. A long-term tongue tie can result in speech problems and/or issues later with transferring food around the mouth or chewing.
If you think that your child has a tongue or lip tie, don’t hesitate to call us. Dr. Mindy would be happy to perform an exam with you knee to knee to discuss her findings and recommendations.
Thank you for being our valued patient and friend!
Photo of Shaya
Written by Alyssa Foltz