Reviewed by Dr. J. Thompson, DDS

Tongue ties and lip ties are conditions that can affect both babies and adults. A tongue tie (ankyloglossia) occurs when the band of tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth (lingual frenulum) is shorter than usual. A lip tie is when the connective tissue between the upper lip and gum line (labial frenulum) is too tight.

Both tongue and lip ties can cause various issues, such as difficulty breastfeeding, speech impediments, and dental problems.

This blog post will discuss the symptoms and treatment options for tongue tie and lip tie.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Tongue and lip ties in adults and children can lead to complications if left untreated, ranging from feeding difficulties to speech and dental issues. A laser frenectomy is a safe and effective way to fix these problems and improve quality of life. Get the condition checked early and treated promptly for the best results.

Symptoms of Tongue and Lip Tie in Babies

According to studies, tongue and lip ties are common in babies, affecting around 4-11% of newborns. The symptoms can vary widely, from having no noticeable effects to significant feeding challenges due to a limited range of motion.

Tongue Tie Symptoms

Symptoms of a baby with tongue tie include:

  • A poor latch that causes difficulty with breastfeeding and bottle feeding
  • Ineffective suckling and frequent breaks during feeding
  • Making a clicking sound while breastfeeding
  • Gagging, choking, or gasping while feeding
  • Poor weight gain

Lip Tie Symptoms

Symptoms of lip tie in babies include:

  • Difficulty flaring their upper lip during breastfeeding
  • Falling asleep frequently while feeding due to the inability to maintain a proper latch
  • Reflux or colic-like symptoms
  • Difficulty gaining weight due to inefficient feeding

Children with unresolved tongue and lip ties may develop speech difficulties as they grow. Early detection and intervention can help prevent potential problems.

Symptoms of Tongue and Lip Tie in Adults

While tongue and lip ties are usually treated in infancy, some individuals may not be diagnosed until later in life.

Tongue Tie Symptoms

Symptoms of tongue tie in adults include:

  • Difficulty sticking out the tongue past the lower front teeth
  • Trouble with specific speech sounds such as “t,” “d,” “l,” or “s”
  • Inability to touch the roof of the mouth with the tongue
  • Poor oral hygiene due to difficulty cleaning the back of the tongue
  • Sleep apnea
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint) issues
  • Teeth grinding

Lip Tie Symptoms

Symptoms of lip tie in adults include:

  • Gaps between the front teeth
  • Limited mouth opening, making it a challenge to brush and floss properly
  • Visible tightness or restriction of the upper lip when trying to move it
  • Sleep-disordered breathing
  • Open mouth breathing

When to Seek Treatment for a Tongue or Lip Tie

If you suspect you or your child may have a tongue or lip tie, consult your dentist for an evaluation. Address these conditions as early as possible, as they can interfere with proper growth and development.

Tongue and Lip Tie Treatment: Laser Frenectomy

A laser frenectomy is a simple procedure that alleviates oral discomfort immediately. The surgical procedure uses a precise CO2 laser tool that minimizes bleeding, resulting in a faster recovery.

The surgery usually takes less than 30 minutes and is performed after administering a local anesthetic to numb the area. Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, can also be used to provide additional comfort during the procedure.

Post-procedure discomfort is usually minor, and patients can resume their daily activities quickly.


You’ll be able to return home on the same day. The overall healing process usually lasts between 7-10 days. Adhere to the post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon to ensure optimal healing and comfort during this period. These guidelines may include:

  • Eat soft foods that won’t irritate the treated area for 3-4 days.
  • Avoid food and drinks that are too hot or cold, as they may cause discomfort.
  • Avoid crunchy or sharp foods that can irritate the surgical area.
  • Alcohol can interfere with the healing process, so it’s best to avoid it.
  • Avoid strenuous activity to avoid disrupting the healing process.
  • Brush your teeth gently and rinse your mouth with warm saltwater to keep the area clean.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medications as directed to manage any pain or swelling.
  • Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes that will irritate the surgical site.

Benefits of a Frenectomy

A frenectomy can provide numerous benefits for both children and adults with tongue or lip ties. These include:

  • Improved breastfeeding for infants
  • Enhanced speech development
  • Better oral hygiene and maintenance
  • Reduced risk of dental issues
  • Increased oral function and comfort

Oral Facial & Implant Specialists – Your Oral Surgeon in Deer Park, IL

If tongue and lip ties are not treated, they can lead to issues with speaking, eating, and keeping the mouth clean. This can cause pain and make life less enjoyable. You don’t have to let a tongue or lip tie continue to hold you or your child back.

If you or your child are having difficulty due to a tongue or lip tie, Oral Facial & Implant Specialists can provide the expertise and care you need. We are committed to ensuring patient comfort and achieving successful outcomes. Schedule a consultation with our experienced oral surgeons for a comprehensive assessment and guidance on the treatment.

If you are searching for an ‘oral surgeon in Buffalo Grove,’ or an oral surgeon in Arlington Heights,’ call (847) 381-0106 or complete the online booking form. We look forward to helping you achieve optimal oral health and function.

FAQs About Tongue and Lip Ties

What happens if you don’t fix a lip and tongue tie?

If left untreated, tongue and lip ties can lead to issues with breastfeeding, speech development, oral hygiene, and overall discomfort. Early detection and treatment are essential for optimal growth and function.

Can speech therapy fix a tongue tie?

Speech therapy may help individuals with tongue tie improve their speech sounds and oral function. However, a frenectomy procedure is typically recommended for more severe cases.

Is a frenectomy painful?

A frenectomy is typically performed using local anesthetic, so the procedure itself is not painful. You may experience some mild discomfort after the surgery, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications.

What is the recovery time for tongue tie surgery?

The recovery time for tongue tie surgery is usually 7-10 days. Follow the post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon to ensure proper healing and minimize discomfort. Your oral surgeon will also schedule a follow-up appointment to monitor your progress.

If you are searching for an ‘oral surgeon near me,’ contact Oral Facial & Implant Specialists for expert care and guidance.

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