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Do pediatric dentists fix upper lip tie?

By May 19, 2016November 30th, 2018Pediatric Dentist

If a baby has upper lip tie is this something a pediatric dentist can fix? I am told that an oral surgeon needs to do the repair, but if it’s a simple procedure, we would rather go to a doctor who is used to dealing with children. Thanks. Jen

Jen – Lip tie, or a short frenulum of the upper lip, restricts lip movement. The frenulum connects the very top of the inner, upper lip to the gums between your two front teeth. Lip tie can prevent the lip from moving much beyond the upper gum. Restricted movement can cause pain when breast feeding and affect an infant’s ability to get proper nourishment. The technically term for the condition is concomitant lip-tie.

What Are the Signs of Upper Lip Tie?

  • Inadequate latching while breast feeding – This can be accompanied by prolonged feeding because the baby is unable get enough milk
  • Inability to seal lips on a bottle – Restriction of the baby’s upper lip can prevent him or her from getting a good seal on a bottle nipple.
  • Inability to gain weight or weight loss – If your baby isn’t getting enough nourishment, he or she fail to gain weight, or lose weight.
  • Gasiness, fatigue, or fussiness from inadequate feeding
  • Inability to clean the spoon with his or her lips, if your baby is spoon feeding

If you notice any of the above signs while your baby is feeding, let your pediatrician know. He or she will examine your baby’s oral cavities and if necessary, recommend a specialist.

Complications associated with lip tie have caused many parents to seek a surgical solution. Before consulting a surgeon, many parents work with their pediatrician to get a feeding assessment. The infant’s feeding style and ability are assessed to help determine if intervention is needed. There are surgical and non-surgical treatments available.

Who Performs the Lip-Tie Surgery?

If lip tie is related to breastfeeding pain or malnourishment for the baby, surgery may be needed. The surgical procedure, or frenotomy, is performed in the doctor’s office in just a few minutes. Some pediatric dentists can perform the procedure. Either an oral surgeon or a prosthodontist frequently perform the surgery and can handle simple to complex cases. These specialists are very familiar with performing the procedure on children. To increase your comfort level, ask the specialist how many similar surgeries he or she regularly performs on children.

A clamp and scissors, or a laser, is used to release the frenulum. Only minor bleeding occurs and the recovery period is progressive.

Choosing a Specialist

Although the surgical procedure is quick, we recommend that you have a consultation with two or three experienced oral surgeons or prosthodontists. The consultations will help you choose a provider with whom your family is comfortable. Ensure you understand if and why a frenotomy is needed, the outcome you can expect, as well as the pros and cons.

After Lip-Tie Surgery

Keep your scheduled follow-up appointments to ensure proper healing. At times, a lactation consultant is recommended to ensure your baby receives optimum feeding.

This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist and board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca. Dr. LaVacca and his wife, Manal Ibrahim offer a range of oral care services with a team of skilled general dentists, pediatric dentists, and orthodontists.


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