If you know much of anything at all about how the human body develops before birth, you’ll understand what we mean when we say that it’s a wonder that any of us are normal at all. If that’s not something you’re familiar with, just trust us on this one. Some things can go a bit differently during development sometimes, such as is the case in the development of lip and tongue ties.
A lip tie is a relatively common occurrence. It’s what happens when the frenulum, a membrane that connects the upper or lower lip to the gum is shorter, thicker (sometimes both), or formed differently in some way so that the lip does not have normal mobility. There are four classes of lip ties that are used to indicate how the anatomy connects. If you were to try to flip the lip of a baby with a lip tie, you might notice that the lip is more difficult to move in addition to the frenulum being shorter or thicker.
Tongue ties are similar to lip ties in that it’s what happen when the frenulum that connects the tongue to the base of the mouth is thicker, shorter, or formed differently. Tongue-tie affects anywhere from 3.5-5% of people born. You can identify a tongue tie by passing your finger underneath the tongue of a baby. If they have a tongue tie, you’ll probably feel a shorter, thicker, or stronger frenulum underneath.
Not all lip or tongue ties need to be corrected. Some people go their whole lives with one and live perfectly normally. If corrective measures are needed, a soft tissue laser will be used to create a precise incision to release the tie. It’s a fairly straightforward, simple procedure. Just make sure to follow the aftercare instructions carefully and be diligent about doing the stretches you’re given. Your child may not like them, but they’re important to make sure that everything heals properly.
When it comes to a developing baby, not everything goes 100% the same way every time. Some differences are big, while others are quite small. Fortunately, lip and tongue ties are on the smaller side of things. If your child has either, talk to your pediatrician and dentist so you can decide what the best thing to do for your child is.
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