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A lip tie, medically known as a maxillary labial frenulum, is a condition where the tissue that connects the upper lip to the gum above the front teeth is unusually tight, thick or restrictive. While not all lip ties cause significant issues, in some cases, they can impact dental development, oral function and overall oral health, especially in infants and children.

Impact on Oral Development

In infants, a severe lip tie can hinder effective breastfeeding. The restricted movement of the upper lip caused by the tight frenulum may make it difficult for the baby to latch onto the breast properly, affecting feeding efficiency and causing discomfort for both the baby and the mother. Even after infancy, lip ties can continue to affect oral development in the following ways:

  • Dental Alignment: In some cases, an untreated lip tie can affect the alignment of the teeth. The pressure exerted by the tight tissue on the gums or teeth can contribute to gaps between the front teeth, improper tooth eruption or misalignment issues, potentially leading to orthodontic concerns as the child grows.
  • Speech Development: Severe cases of lip tie may influence speech development. The restricted movement of the upper lip can affect pronunciation, leading to difficulties in articulating certain sounds, particularly those involving the lips, such as “p,” “” and “m.”
  • Oral Hygiene: A prominent lip tie may hinder proper oral hygiene practices. Difficulty in fully retracting the upper lip can impede thorough cleaning of the front teeth and gums, potentially increasing the risk of plaque buildup, cavities or gum problems in the affected area.
  • Orthodontic Considerations: Monitoring the dental development of children with a history of lip ties is essential. Orthodontic evaluation can help identify any associated issues with tooth alignment or occlusion, allowing for timely intervention if necessary.

Identifying and addressing a problematic lip tie early, especially in infants experiencing breastfeeding challenges, can prevent potential complications and facilitate proper feeding and oral development.

Treatment and Management

In cases where the lip tie causes significant issues, a frenectomy may be recommended. This procedure involves the surgical removal or modification of the tight or restrictive tissue, allowing for improved lip movement and function. Laser or traditional surgical techniques can be used for a frenectomy, but laser removal is less invasive and can be performed in a few minutes at NYC Tongue Tie.

While not all lip ties cause significant issues, understanding their potential impact on dental development and oral function is essential, especially in infants and young children. Addressing problematic lip ties early through proper evaluation and, if necessary, timely intervention can help prevent potential complications, facilitate optimal feeding, promote proper dental development and support overall oral health and function as the child grows.

If your child has been diagnosed with a lip tie and you want to explore removal, contact our team at NYC Tongue Tie. Dr. Levitin provides minimally invasive lip tie removal for infants and children at our NYC facility. Call today to schedule your lip tie removal consultation.

Posted on behalf of NYC Tongue Tie

200 W. 57th St., Suite 1410,
New York, NY 10019

Phone: Call (212) 257-3546


Monday & Tuesday 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM
Wednesday & Thursday 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday 8:30 AM – 2:00 PM

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NYC Tongue Tie

200 W. 57th St., Suite 1410,
New York, NY 10019