How to Tell if your Baby has a Lip-Tie

does baby have tongue tie

San Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA

A lip-tie is when the frenum tissue tethering the upper lip to the gums is too thick, short, or restrictive. Babies are either born with a lip-tie or not. It’s not a condition that develops after birth or later in life. Many doctors are not trained to diagnose lip-ties, nor do they check to see if your baby is born lip-tied. Having a baby can be an exciting time but not without its challenges, especially when the mother experiences difficulties breastfeeding. However, today on the blog, we share signs that could indicate your child has a lip-tie and what you can do about it.

One of the most common signs of a lip-tie is experiencing difficulty breastfeeding your baby. Babies naturally latch onto their mother’s breast to nurse within the first few minutes of being born. However, it’s easy to become frustrated and disheartened when your baby can’t seem to latch properly.

How to tell if your baby has a lip tie:

  • If your baby has a lip tie, they may:
  • Be unable to latch deeply or not latch at all, which causes nipple pain and damage
  • Experience difficulty remaining latched
  • Make clicking sounds when nursing
  • Choke on milk
  • Cluster feed
  • Experience poor weight gain or failure to thrive
  • Develop jaundice
  • Have colic or seem exceptionally fussy

If your baby has a lip tie, the mom may experience:

  • Breast or nipple discomfort
  • Engorgement, blocked ducts, or mastitis
  • Low milk supply due to insufficient milk removal
  • Oversupply due to cluster feedings 

What does a lip tie look like?

Lip ties are classified into four different classes:

  • Class 1: No significant attachment
  • Class 2: Attachment into the gum tissue
  • Class 3: Attachment is located where the baby’s teeth will eventually erupt
  • Class 4: Attachment runs from the lip down to the upper palate

Who diagnoses lip ties?

Getting treatment for your baby starts with a proper diagnosis by a qualified professional. You can speak with your child’s pediatrician, although most doctors are not trained to diagnose lip ties or may downplay the severity, advising a wait and see approach or saying that your baby will grow out of it. Neither of those statements is true and may end up causing life-long issues with speaking, breathing, and eating. Lactation consultants and certain dentists can diagnose and treat your baby’s lip tie. Marin dentists at Glen Park Dental provide lip tie diagnosis and treatment.

Why you should get your baby’s lip tie treated

Lip ties may seem harmless, but they can interfere with your child’s tooth eruption, resulting in a large gap between their teeth, causing oral posture problems that result in mouth breathing, and could lead to issues eating and speaking. Therefore, a lip tie that causes gapped teeth goes beyond aesthetics and could impact your child’s overall health and cause embarrassment as they get older, especially if they experience a lisp or speech impediment due to their gapped teeth.

How are lip ties treated?

Lip tie treatment is simple and can be performed on a child of any age, even infants. At Glen Park Dental, we use a precise dental laser to cauterize the frenum tissue enough to release the restriction. The procedure takes mere minutes, and most babies can breastfeed immediately afterward. Depending on how long your baby has a deal with a lip tie, you may benefit from meeting with a lactation consultant to help train your baby on proper latching techniques. The procedure may make your baby a little fussy for the day, but the recovery following laser treatment is minimal.

Lip Tie Release in Marin, Oakland, and the Bay Area

If you believe that your baby may be lip tied, the sooner you get treatment, the better. Glen Park Dental offers lip tie release for infants, children, and adults in Marin and Oakland, California. If you’d like to learn more or schedule a consultation, please contact Glen Park Dental by calling (415) 585-1500 or visit us online today.