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How a Lip or Tongue Tie Can Interfere with Breastfeeding and How to Fix It

February 4, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — shinysmiles @ 2:10 pm
mom breastfeeding her baby who was treated for a lip or tongue tie

You don’t understand it. With your first baby, you figured out breastfeeding pretty quickly, but it’s a painful struggle with your second. You feel like you’re doing everything right, but they aren’t thriving. You think maybe you should give up and start using formula.


The benefits of nursing are worth the effort to fix this situation. If you want to continue breastfeeding but are experiencing trouble, your baby may have a tongue or lip tie and need a frenectomy. Keep reading to learn why this procedure has risen nearly 90 percent over recent years.

What Are Lip and Tongue Ties?

When a baby is developing in the womb, there are pieces of tissue that connect the lips and tongue to other parts of the oral cavity. Normally, this tissue, called a frenulum, eventually disappears during gestation; however, in some babies these tissues remain after birth. In fact, you can easily see your frenulum under your tongue and under your upper lip in the mirror.

A lip or tongue tie occurs when the frenulum on the upper lip or underneath the tongue is extra thick or restrictive.

Why Is It Important to Treat a Lip or Tongue Tie?

At first, this tiny piece of oral tissue may seem insignificant, but for a baby and nursing parent, it can make life much more difficult. Unlike a bottle, which can be compressed to release milk or formula, breastfeeding requires suction. In order to achieve this, the baby needs to be able to position the nipple toward the roof of the mouth and raise their tongue underneath the nipple. A tongue tie doesn’t allow the baby to get the proper suction, potentially leading to feeding and nutrition problems, sore nipples, and frustration for both mommy and baby.

How Are Lip and Tongue Ties Treated?

If your baby has a lip or tongue tie that is interfering with their growth and development, it may be time to visit with a pediatric dentist. After examining your infant and talking with you, they may recommend a frenectomy, which is a procedure that involves severing the restrictive frenulum. Typically, this procedure requires very little recovery time and only minor bleeding, but the improvement to breastfeeding should be almost instantaneous!

Why Are Tongue and Lip Tie Procedures More Common?

Tongue and lip ties themselves aren’t necessarily becoming more common, but the procedures to fix them have increased over the last several decades likely because breastfeeding has become the more preferred and recommended way to feed infants over formula with bottle feeding.

In the end, if your baby has a restrictive tongue or lip tie, a frenectomy could allow you both to have a better, more successful nursing experience. If you think your infant may have this issue, talk to your pediatric dentist today!

About the Author

As a board-certified pediatric dentist, Dr. Lily has always enjoyed working with children. After completing her Advanced Education in General Dentistry program, she earned certification in pediatric dentistry at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas and has been helping young patients smile ever since. She is happy to help nursing parent have success in breastfeeding through frenectomies. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lily, contact Shiny Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in Garland online or by calling 469-925-0861.

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