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Lip Ties – Chicago, IL

We Remove This Roadblock to Your Baby’s Growth

mom and baby smiling

As a mom, you worry about doing the right thing for your baby. If you’ve been struggling with breastfeeding, switching to formula can seem very appealing. However, before you decide, have you thought about the possibility of a lip tie? This small problem can prevent your baby from being able to gain weight and thrive the way you’d like. Fortunately, our team at Chicago Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics can provide the infant oral care necessary to resolve the issue. Read on to learn more about lip ties, and then give us a call to schedule your baby’s evaluation.

What Is a Lip Tie?

examining an infant’s mouth for a lip tie

Nearly all humans have a lip frenulum or connective tissue that extends from the upper lip to the gums between the two front teeth in the upper jaw (also called the maxilla). But a lip tie occurs when the frenulum is too thick or connects to the roof of the mouth. When this occurs, the frenulum restricts the movement of the upper lip and interferes with a baby’s ability to breathe and latch properly while breastfeeding.

What Are Signs of a Lip Tie?

sleeping baby and mom

In babies with a functional, normal lip frenulum, you can flange or flip their upper lip toward the tip of their nose with little or no resistance. Also, the gum tissue surrounding the frenulum will look exactly like the other gum tissue. However, if your baby has a lip tie, the tissue immediately around the frenulum will blanch, or appear whiter than the tissue next to it.

In addition, children with a lip tie show very little gum tissue when they smile, because the upper lip is held tight to the maxilla. If your child’s baby teeth have already erupted, it is important to keep in mind that a gap between their front teeth does not mean they have a lip tie.

The best way to determine whether your child has a lip tie is to bring them to Chicago Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics. Our experienced experts know exactly what to look for and will perform a simple, gentle examination of your baby to properly diagnose the issue and let you know whether a laser frenectomy is needed.

Why Is It Important to Treat a Lip Tie?

practicing infant oral care

Although a lip tie typically has little or no effect on speech, it can impair a baby’s growth and development with breastfeeding challenges. In addition, a lip tie, which keeps the upper lip tight to the upper jaw, can make effective brushing and flossing more difficult, potentially leading to plaque buildup and tooth decay, particularly on the front teeth. Treating this issue paves the way for a healthier future for your baby and their smile.

Will Correcting a Lip Tie Prevent Space Between Teeth?

When your child’s baby teeth erupt, it is a good thing to have some space between their teeth. This allows for easier cleaning while they’re young and means that their permanent adult teeth may have extra room later on. In some cases, a lip tie that extends beyond the maxilla onto the roof of the mouth may lead to a larger gap between the front teeth. However, genetics play a much more important role in the spacing of these two teeth. As a result, when a laser frenectomy is performed, you should not expect the spacing of your baby’s teeth to change much afterward. If the gap between your child’s front teeth needs to be corrected, an orthodontist on our team can provide the insight and treatment required to give your child a more confident smile.

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