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How Do Tongue Ties/Lip Ties Affect Infants and Mothers?

Breastfeeding issues are the most common reason for identifying tongue ties and lip ties in infants.  The restriction of tongue and/or lip can cause an inability of the baby to properly latch to the breast.  This can result in:

  • Poor weight gain of the infant

  • Low milk supply

  • Nipple pain

  • Infant displays excessive fussiness or is gassy or colicky

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What are Tongue Ties and Lip Ties?

Tongue ties occur when the tissue that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth (called a frenum or frenulum) is too tight.  A tight frenum can restrict the natural movement of the tongue, which plays an important role in speech, swallowing, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and even normal jaw development.  


Lip ties are similar to tongue ties, and result in the upper frenum (which attaches the upper lip to the gums) being too tight.  This can also cause issues with breastfeeding, as well as impaired development of the upper teeth or even cavities on the front surfaces of the front upper teeth (due to food/milk being trapped between the tightly attached upper lip and teeth).  Most often, individuals who have lip ties also have tongue ties.

Dr. Brenda Garrison and the Highland Dental staff are one of the only practices in Jefferson County, WI to specialize in treating tongue ties and lip ties in infants, children, and adults.
How are Tongue Ties and Lip Ties Treated at Highland Dental?

Tongue ties and lip ties are released by a frenectomy.  A frenectomy involves cutting the frenum to release the tongue and/or lip and allowing proper movement.  This can be done either by using scissors or a laser.


At Highland Dental, Dr. Garrison and staff perform frenectomies using the laser to ensure a fast and efficient cut.  The use of the laser has been shown to reduce pain, bleeding, and the need for repeat procedures.  


Typically, very little anesthesia is necessary for this procedure. Topical anesthesia and a localized injection will likely be used depending on the age of the individual.  The entire procedure takes just a few minutes.

Pre and post follow-up care with lactation consultants, myofunctional therapists, craniosacral therapists, speech therapists, chiropractors or massage therapists may be indicated. These professionals can help alleviate the symptoms associated with tongue ties such as muscle tension, tongue mobility and speech.   A pre and post revision assessment with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is often necessary for infant revisions to help with latch and provide mother support.