Lip tie

What are lip ties?

It is a normal fold of skin lining the inside of the mouth which appears in the middle of the upper gum and relatively a thinner one in the midline lower gum too. In addition, there are thinner versions of this skin folds normally present one on either side of the cheek connecting cheek to the gums (often called buccal ties).

Do lip ties interfere with breastfeeding?

There is currently no evidence that a thick upper labial frenum which is extending all the way to the upper gums, interfering with the breastfeeding.

Do we need to release it?

The mere presence of upper excessive upper lip tie does not indicate a need for surgery. Often releasing upper lip tie is a traumatic procedure will require laser or diathermy (electro-cauterisation). It can be quite an invasive procedure for a new-born baby without any dramatic improvement on breastfeeding experience.

It is a growing practise in USA, Canada, and Australia that there are number of babies having upper lip tie division alongside tongue tie division. it is not the case in UK and NHS generally does not offer lip tie division to babies for feeding issues.

When do we release lip ties?

A selective number of upper lip ties are released on the NHS at around the age of 11 to 13 when there is persistent gap in between the upper front incisor teeth or concerns about reappearance of gap even after placing braces.

Are the gaps between baby teeth is a worrisome?

We also see number of parents who attend our clinics with concerns that there gaps between the milk teeth as young as four to five years. These gaps naturally designed to accommodate larger/wider adult teeth which starts to replace the milk teeth from 6 years of age.

How to avoid trauma to fleshy upper tie whilst brushing the teeth?

Rarely thicker/ fleshy frenum gets traumatised with traditional hand brushing method like running the on the front surface of teeth “back and forth” . This back-and-forth movement action of the brush highly likely to catch the lower end of the thick fleshy lip tie and cause some trauma. To avoid this, a parent needs to be in front of the kids and use the brush in circular motions on either side of the fleshy frenum.