Babies who are born with a lip or tongue tie can be affected in a number of ways. This can include nutritional issues since these babies are often unable to latch properly when breastfeeding. Mothers may also experience nipple soreness, infections of the breast and inadequate milk supply. If the issue isn’t treated early, it can cause things like speech difficulties later on.

Dr. Helaine Smith with Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry treats lip and tongue ties in babies. We spoke to her about the quick procedure that is done at her office and what parents should know.

What is a lip or tongue tie?
Ankyloglossia is the medical term for tongue tie. We all have a thin attachment under our tongues called a frenum, located toward the front of the tongue. If this attachment is too tight – the tongue is “tied” to the floor of the mouth – it restricts the tongue from being able to assist in eating and speaking.

We also have frenum attachments on our lips to our gums. When the piece of tissue behind upper lip is too thick or stiff, the upper lip does not move freely – hence, a “lip tie”.

How can parents tell if their child has a lip or tongue tie?
The health of babies who are born with a lip or tongue tie can be affected in a myriad of ways, including nutritional issues and speech. Infants will have difficulty latching and feeding. If you are using a lactation consultant, this is typically immediately observed by them. These babies often are unable to latch onto the nipple properly leading to fatigue, poor nutrition, inadequate weight gain and more. Mothers are also affected with nipple soreness, infections of the breast and inadequate milk supply. If there is dribbling of milk, the baby often gets gassy and can develop reflux and other feeding issues. These issues need to be treated early or other issues arise later such as speech difficulties. Older children will not be able to raise or protrude their tongue to full range of motion.

What should parents do if they suspect their child has a lip or tongue tie?
Always consult with a health care provider (like your pediatrician) familiar with tongue or lip tie, and if need be have it corrected.

What treatment is available at Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry?
Treatment is simple, easy, fast and offered in our office at Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry. The entire procedure actually takes less than 15 seconds and anesthesia is not required. There is very little discomfort and you will notice improvement in feeding right away.

Is anesthesia required?
For infants no anesthesia is required at all.

At what age is the procedure typically done?
It is urgent that infants can form and seal and drink milk. The procedure can be performed when it is evident the infant cannot drink.

What is recovery from the procedure like?
The recovery is painless and takes about a day for the infant to adapt to their new freedom to latch and drink.

Can you see the results immediately or does that take time?
Yes the results are immediate and are amazing to see. The tongue instantly gains mobility.

In addition to lip and tongue tie correction procedures, all routine dental procedures are available at Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry. If any procedure requires a specialist (such a root canal) a referral is made to a specialist to ensure you receive the best care.

Specializing in restorative and cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry is the management of oral health problems and restoring the mouth to a functional and esthetic state. The procedures used include fillings, veneers, crowns, bridges, dentures, and dental implants.

A cosmetic dentist like Dr. Smith, brings an understanding of esthetics to every procedure. The practice employs cosmetic principles and every procedure is done at a higher level.  Each patient’s smile is unique and to help patients achieve a beautiful smile, they have an expert understanding of facial anatomy and aesthetics. They look at the face, the shape of the lips, teeth, gums, and skin tone.

The practice also offers Botox and Fillers in addition to routine dental and family care.

At Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry, the private, modern office caters to your busy life. There are weekend appointments to accommodate work/school schedules and adhere to the strictest infection control protocols.

Dr. Smith says that their caring, thoughtful approach is what truly makes the services unique. They’d love to help you!

Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry
73 Westchester Avenue
Pound Ridge, NY 10576
(914) 764-3540

This post is sponsored by Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry.

Subscribe to our NEWSLETTER!

Stay up-to-date with what is happening in-and-around Armonk, Bedford, Chappaqua, Mount Kisco and Pleasantville, NY