As a dental surgeon with a focus on tongue ties, I often get asked by parents how to know if their newborn has a tongue or lip tie. Tongue tie and lip tie are conditions where the tongue or the lip is tethered to the mouth floor or the gum, respectively, which can cause difficulty in feeding and speech development. Here are some signs to look out for:
Difficulty with breastfeeding: If your newborn is struggling to latch onto the breast, has a weak suck or falls asleep while feeding, it could be due to tongue or lip tie. Other signs may include gumming or chewing on the nipple.
Colic and reflux: Infants with tongue or lip tie may have trouble swallowing air while feeding, leading to colic or reflux symptoms.
Abnormal tongue movement: Check your baby's tongue movements. If the tongue can't move easily, looks flattened, or has a heart-shaped tip when sticking out, it may be an indication of a tongue tie.
Difficulty with bottle feeding: If your newborn has trouble with bottle feeding, such as excessive gas or fussiness, it could be due to a tongue or lip tie.
Speech and dental problems: As your baby grows older, they may develop speech or dental problems if their tongue or lip tie is not addressed. Speech difficulties may include difficulty with articulation or a lisp, while dental issues may include a gap between the front teeth or an overbite.
If you suspect your newborn has a tongue or lip tie, it's important to consult with a paediatrician or dental professional experienced in treating these conditions. A thorough examination of the tongue and lip movements can help confirm the diagnosis, and treatment options such as a frenectomy (a procedure to release the tongue or lip tie) can help improve feeding and speech development.
In summary, it's important to pay attention to your newborn's feeding habits and tongue movements to detect any signs of a tongue or lip tie. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent long-term complications and ensure healthy development.