People are now much more aware of lip tie

A lip tie is when the piece of skin joining the upper tip and the upper gum is too tight

Sligo Champion

Public awareness for tongue tie has grown significantly. This has been mainly due to the increasing popularity of breast feeding. Lip ties are almost as common as tongue ties and often go by unnoticed. A tongue tie occurs when the piece of skin joining the floor of the mouth and the base of the tongue is too tight. This restricts the movement of the tongue. The effect of which is to cause difficulty for infants latching on to the nipple and the sequence involved in swallowing is disrupted causing babies to become exhausted by feeding.

Babies who have tongue tie are more likely to present with a lip tie. A lip tie is when the piece of skin joining the upper tip and the upper gum is too tight. The effect of a lip tie is that when a baby tries to latch onto a nipple or bottle, the upper lip cannot lift sufficiently to create a flange. The effect is that the baby forms a weak latch and slips off the nipple easily. Babies often become exhausted and fall asleep before they have had enough milk.

What can be done for a baby with a lip tie?

Just like with tongue ties in new born infants the solution to this problem is quite straight forward. It is always recommended that mothers having any difficulties nursing obtain the support of a lactation specialist. The first thing is that your baby will need to be examined and observed feeding. Once it has been established that a lip tie is present and is interfering with feeding the procedure to correct the lip tie can be done easily and quickly.

Some anaesthetic cream is applied to the area and the skin is divided. Some babies will sleep though the procedure and some will cry a little. At this young age a general anaesthetic is not necessary. This is a major advantage of doing the correction early. The best part of this procedure is that babies can return to feeding immediately.

Because this is a very quick and safe procedure, it is recommended that if there is any question that a tongue or lip tie might prevent a mother from breastfeeding that the procedure be given consideration. This procedure is covered by most medical insurance policies and is offered at Kerry Paediatric Dental Practice.

Dr Daly is a consultant in Paediatric Dentistry. She provides both routine and specialist care for children from infancy to adolescence. For appointments phone 066 7117071 or see our website;