Lip tie in babies: symptoms and treatment

All people have a tissue that connects the lip with the gums called bridle. In some babies the labial frenulum may be very short and stiff, causing an abnormality called tie or lip tie. Do you want to know what it consists of? Continue reading.

The braces can suffer multiple anatomical alterations; most of them congenital, so it is very common to find them in a baby. Among all the malformations that can develop in the oropharynx, one of the least common is lip tie, which has an incidence of 9.2% among all the others, according to studies.

Lip tie in babies happens most often on the upper lip and it can be the cause of various problems. This anatomical anomaly causes the appearance of phonetic disorders and the separation of the incisors.

What are your causes?

At birth, the frenulum of the upper lip is tectolabial, that is, short and thick in all individuals. Various studies indicate that it will have a normal development of 1 to 2 millimeters during the first months of life. So that andThe lip tie in babies appears when this growth does not occur.

Until now, no specific cause has been identified that is capable of explaining the appearance of this abnormality. Being a congenital malformation, it is known to occur within the womb. However, it is not possible to determine if it is the product of genetics or the effect of some harmful agent.

One of the most accepted theories relates to the lip tie with a mutation in the MTHFR gene, which is the same involved in cleft lip. However, more studies are needed in this regard.

The genetic alteration of the lip tie could be related to the same that causes the cleft lip.

Maybe you might be interested: Learning about genetic mutations

Symptoms of lip tie in babies

The permanence of a short lip frenulum in newborns can be difficult to identify, as the symptoms are subtle. In this sense, you should be alert if the child presents any of the following situations:

  • Difficulty sucking and breathe during breastfeeding.
  • Sound similar to a click at the time of eating.
  • Slow weight gain and frequent hunger.
  • Constant fatigue and drowsiness during lactation.
  • Colic presence.

In the most severe cases it can make it difficult to move the upper lip, so the baby will have a poor suction. This results in the mother presenting various symptoms in her breasts if she is breastfeeding, among which the following stand out:

  • Feeling of swollen or incomplete emptying breastseven after breastfeeding.
  • Discomfort and pain during or after breastfeeding.
  • Presence of breast nodules by blocking the milk ducts.
  • Mastitis.

You can also read: Breast nodules: why do they appear?

How to feed a baby with a lip tie?

Lip tie in babies can greatly hinder their feeding, especially if it is due to breastfeeding. This is because the baby will have to make a greater effort so that the milk can come out of the breast. Due to this extra effort the baby will be more tired and sleepy.

In these cases it is advisable to use a bottle if prescribed by the pediatrician. It can be filled with breast milk or an infant formula.

On the other hand, if you want to continue breastfeeding, various measures can be applied to facilitate sucking. In this sense, massaging the breasts and applying warm water compresses before breastfeeding increases the flow of milk. Also, having good breastfeeding technique is crucial.

Lip tie complications

The most common complication of lip tie in babies is malnutrition. Poor nutrition can cause a child to be underweight and grow slowly. It is important to remember that during the first months of life the nutritional requirements of the newborn are higher.

In very severe cases, the frenulum can be inserted directly into the upper palate, thus preventing proper lip movement. In this way, there are problems in phonation by causing dysarthria.

On the other hand, this alteration in the insertion of the frenulum It also causes diastemas, that is, an increase in the separation of the teeth. The upper incisors are usually the most frequently affected.

The use of bottles may be indicated by the pediatrician to supplant poor feeding due to the disorder.

Treatments for lip tie

Depending on the severity of the situation, there are various therapeutic options that the doctor can apply to reverse the lip tie at an early age. Procedures range from performing manual exercises to surgical resection of the frenulum. In this sense, the most frequently applied techniques are the following:

  • Manual release: this measure is indicated in mild cases of lip tie, being the least invasive and painful. This technique consists of carrying out basic exercises with the fingers by the parents, who will seek to stretch the frenulum and reverse the situation.
  • Frenyllectomy: This procedure is necessary in the most severe cases of lip tie in babies. It consists of the surgical removal of the frenulum, which is usually done with a laser, without the need for stitches. The procedure is done quickly in the doctor's office.

Early detection is essential

The lip tie in babies is an anomaly that can be difficult to detect in the first instance. This is because everyone is born with a relatively short frenulum. So it is necessary to be very attentive when the baby feeds and verify that he sucks properly.

Early detection and treatment of the disorder are essential to prevent complications, especially malnutrition. When a child does not receive the necessary amount of nutrients during the first months of life, they can suffer a stunting that is difficult to reverse.