Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry

Tongue, Lip, and Cheek Ties Explained

Tongue, Lip, and Cheek Ties Explained

Reviewed by Dr. Henry Martinez, DMD

Tongue, lip, and cheek ties can lead to a wide range of dental and oral health problems in infants and young children.

Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry provides advanced frenectomy procedures to restore proper mouth function in children. Promptly addressing issues can ensure optimal oral health and prevent future complications.

This blog post will explain what these ties are, how they can impact your child’s health, and the importance of seeking qualified dental care to ensure your child’s overall quality of life.

What Are Tongue, Lip, and Cheek Ties?

Tongue, lip, and cheek ties are restrictions caused by the connective tissues known as the labial frenum, lingual frenum, and buccal frenum. These bands of tissue connect the oral cavity to the lips, tongue, and cheeks, respectively.

Sometimes, these ties can be too tight or short, limiting the normal range of motion of the tongue, lips, and cheeks.

Tongue Tie

A tongue tie, also known as ankyloglossia, is a condition where a tight lingual frenum causes the tongue to have limited mobility. This occurs when the piece of tissue connecting the dorsal surface of the tongue to the mucous membrane is shorter or thicker than average. A posterior tongue tie is when the lingual frenulum is attached further back on the tongue, near the base.

Lip Tie

A lip tie happens when the labial frenum between the upper lip and gum tissue is too tight or thick, causing restricted upper lip movement. Tight oral tissue can impact breastfeeding in infants and lead to difficulty with proper latch and milk transfer.

Cheek Tie

A cheek tie, also known as a buccal frenum restriction, is when the band of tissue connecting the cheeks to the gums is too tight or short. Cheek ties can lead to poor oral hygiene and speech development in children.

Key Takeaway

Tongue, lip, and cheek ties can significantly impact a child’s oral health, affecting feeding, oral hygiene, and speech development. If you notice any symptoms, it’s critical to seek professional dental care for proper evaluation and treatment. Regular check-ups can help identify potential issues early, ensuring optimal oral health for your child.

Why Are Tongue, Lip, and Cheek Ties a Problem?

Tongue, lip, and cheek ties can impact your child’s oral health in various ways. They can affect:

  • Feeding: Difficulties in latching for breastfeeding or difficulty in bottle feeding can arise due to limited movement in the tongue, lips, or cheeks.
  • Oral hygiene: Children with ties may have trouble adequately cleaning their teeth, leading to poor oral hygiene.
  • Speech development: A limited range of motion in the tongue, cheek, and lips may cause speech issues as children struggle to pronounce certain sounds.

Symptoms of Tongue, Lip, and Cheek Ties

Some common signs and symptoms of tongue, lip, and cheek ties in infants and young children include:

  • Difficulty with breastfeeding and bottle feeding
  • Excessive drooling
  • Poor weight gain
  • Gagging or choking while feeding
  • Fussy eating habits
  • Dental and oral hygiene issues
  • Delayed speech development
  • Sleep issues, such as sleep apnea

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms in your child, it is essential to seek qualified dental care for proper evaluation and treatment.

Treatment Options for Tongue, Lip, and Cheek Ties

The treatment for tongue, lip, and cheek ties varies based on severity. No intervention may be needed if the child adapts to restricted movement. However, if feeding or speech development issues arise, treatment options are available.

  • Frenectomy: A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure that involves releasing the tight or short frenum. Frenectomies are performed using laser technology, scissors, or a scalpel.
  • Oral exercises: After a frenectomy, your child’s dentist may recommend myofunctional therapy to help improve their range of motion and strengthen their tongue, lips, and cheeks. A myofunctional therapist will assist with stretching exercises to help improve oral function.
  • Speech therapy: If your child has speech issues, they may benefit from speech therapy to help improve their pronunciation and communication skills.

Seek Qualified Dental Care

It is crucial to seek qualified dental care regarding tongue, lip, and cheek ties. A pediatric dentist is best equipped to evaluate your child’s condition and provide appropriate treatment. 

Regular dental check-ups and proper oral hygiene practices can also help identify and address any potential ties or oral health issues in your child early on.

Read more about the importance of check-ups in our blog, Kids’ Dental Exams: Everything Parents Need To Know for a Healthy Smile!

Your Kids Dentist in Phoenix, AZ

Children with a restrictive frenulum may experience challenges in mouth movement that affect speech, eating, and even breathing. Undiagnosed, this condition can cause prolonged discomfort and potential long-term issues.

Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry specializes in frenectomy procedures that delicately and effectively remove the restrictive frenulum, ensuring your child can lead a more comfortable and confident life. Trust Dr. Martinez and his experienced team to provide the highest level of care and deliver remarkable results for your child’s oral health.

If you are searching for a pediatric tongue-tie specialist in Phoenix, AZ, trust us to give your child the care they deserve. Call Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry at (602) 935-7427 or complete the online booking form.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy is a surgical procedure that involves releasing or removing the frenum, a band of tissue connecting the lips, tongue, or cheeks to the oral cavity.

How Much Does a Frenectomy Cost?

The cost of a frenectomy can range from $400-650 and may vary depending on factors such as the provider, geographical location, and whether the procedure is performed using laser technology.
At Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry, we understand that every family’s financial situation is unique. That is why we accept various insurance policies and will contact them beforehand to confirm your coverage.

Does a Frenectomy Hurt?

A frenectomy is performed using a local anesthetic, making the procedure virtually painless. Some soreness may occur in the days following the procedure, but discomfort can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications.

If you are searching for a pediatric tongue tie specialist near me, contact Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry.