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A frenulum is a tissue that connects the upper lip to the gums. When a frenulum is shorter or stiff, it can restrict the movement of the upper lip, causing what is called a “lip tie.” When a lip tie is severe, it can cause many different issues, from difficulty feeding in infancy to speech and dental problems in older children. If parents know the signs, they can recognize a lip tie in their child and seek treatment to fix the issue.

Lip ties are similar to tongue ties in that they restrict normal oral function. Tongue ties are more common, affecting about 10% or more of children, while lip ties may affect as little as 4%. Children may or may not show signs of a lip tie as infants, depending on the severity and restriction of lip movement. For some children, the signs of lip ties do not appear until they are entering the toddler stage and begin speaking.

Symptoms of Lip Ties in Babies

If an infant has a severe lip tie, it can have a significant impact on feeding. Whether they feed from a bottle or breastfeed, they need to be able to suckle. Lip ties make it very difficult for babies to feed, which can have the following signs:

  • Baby has trouble “latching” during breastfeeding
  • They make a clicking sound when feeding
  • Infant is abnormally sleepy during and after feeding
  • Increased incidences of colic
  • Baby’s breathing is restricted during feeding
  • Painful breastfeeding for the mother
  • Engorged breasts
  • Baby is underweight

Feeding is vital for infants to grow and any signs of distress while feeding should be addressed as soon as possible. A lip tie removal procedure can be completed in a few minutes and babies can begin feeding almost immediately once their lip tie is released.

Signs of Lip Ties in Toddlers

Not all babies will have trouble feeding with a lip tie. You may not notice signs until they are 1-2 years old. Toddlers may have trouble eating from a spoon due to difficulty moving their upper lip. Some toddlers have a pronounced gap between the front teeth due to a lip tie, which could cause a permanent gap when the adult teeth come in. You may notice that their top teeth do not show when they smile, and some toddlers may have difficulty making certain sounds.

Treatment for Lip Ties in NYC

If you notice signs of a lip tie in your infant or toddler, it can be quickly remedied. This can help reduce the risk of dental issues and other problems later in childhood. At NYC Tongue Tie, we offer minimally-invasive lip tie removal procedures that can be performed in about 10 minutes at our office. Dr. Gregory Levitin ensures there is no pain for your child, and they can return to normal activities, including eating, immediately. Call our office in New York City to schedule a lip tie removal consultation or treatment.


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