Lip and tongue ties are conditions where these parts of the mouth are restricted in their movement, and they are often identified during infancy because they can make breast or bottle feeding almost impossible. However, not every child with these problems is diagnosed early, so it’s not uncommon for toddlers to be dealing with them as well. As you can imagine, the symptoms change as a child gets older, so for concerned parents, it’s important to know the signs and who to reach out to for help.
Why Lip & Tongue Ties Are Missed
When a new parent is having trouble feeding their infant (in that the baby won’t latch, can’t create a steady flow of milk, is constantly chewing the nipple, or stops suckling suddenly), one of the first things that healthcare providers look for is a lip or tongue tie. While they are often found, some slip through simply because they can be hard to detect in tiny mouths, and many people don’t have the training or experience to do so.
On the other side, many parents (especially moms) will blame themselves for feeding difficulties and not seek out professional help at all, leading a child to enter their toddler years with a lip or tongue tie.
Lip & Tongue Tie Symptoms for Toddlers
The signs of these conditions are quite different for toddlers as compared to infants:
- Difficulty Chewing: The mealtime problems persist, as a toddler with a lip or tongue tie may have trouble chewing certain food or may even experience pain when eating things like fruits, vegetables, and cooked meats.
- Digestion Problems: Because a child can’t chew properly, this starts the digestion process on the wrong foot, which can contribute to GI problems or slow weight gain.
- Speech Impediment: A child may struggle to say certain syllables because they can’t move their mouth as needed.
- Dental Issues: A lip tie often causes a large space to develop between the upper front teeth, and ties can also contribute to crowding and hamper a child’s overall oral development.
What You Can Do
Thankfully, getting a lip or tongue tie treated these days is fairly easy—all you have to do is call a pediatric dentist! They have the experience to examine a smaller mouth while keeping a child comfortable, and if they do indeed have a tie, the dentist can perform a quick and comfortable laser frenectomy to remove or loosen the offending tissue.
Typically, the procedure only takes a few minutes and can often be performed at the same appointment as the exam. Recovery time is minimal, and the laser is so gentle that even young kids find it easy to stay relaxed.
In short, if your child is having feeding, speaking, or dental issues, don’t blame yourself—reach out to a pediatric dentist. They can let you know what’s going on to give you peace of mind, plus they may be able to offer the solution that you and your little one have been looking for.
About the Practice
The Chicago Tongue-Tie Center is led by Dr. Justin and Dr. Bindi, two board-certified pediatric dentists who specialize in diagnosing and treating lip and tongue ties. For young patients who need a frenectomy, they use a LightScalpel soft tissue laser to make the procedure fast and stress-free for everyone. If you think that your child is dealing with a lip or tongue-tie, whether they are an infant, toddler, or teenager, they are more than eager to provide the answers you need. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, just contact our office online or call 312-313-9957.