Reviewed by Dr. Jason Fluckiger, DMD

A tongue tie (ankyloglossia) is a condition where the tissue connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth is shorter or tighter than normal. This condition can cause limitations in tongue movement and affect various aspects of oral health.

Similarly, a lip tie occurs when excess tissue connects the upper lip to the gums, which can also lead to dental and overall health issues. Tongue and lips ties can affect babies and adults, causing a range of symptoms and potential complications.

In this blog series, we will discuss tongue and lip tie in detail. We will cover the best treatment option and the benefits of seeking professional care for this condition.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Tongue and lip ties can present various symptoms in babies and adults, affecting feeding, speech, and oral hygiene. Early detection and treatment through a quick procedure known as a frenectomy can alleviate these symptoms and prevent long-term complications.

Symptoms of Tongue and Lip Tie in Babies

Tongue and lip ties are common in babies, with about 4-11% of newborns affected. Some infants may have no symptoms at all, while others may experience difficulty breastfeeding or bottle feeding due to restricted range of motion in their tongue or lip. 

Tongue Tie Symptoms

Signs that your baby may have a tongue tie include:

  • Difficulty latching onto the breast or bottle nipple
  • Poor weight gain or failure to thrive
  • Clicking noises while feeding
  • Excessive drooling or dribbling milk while feeding
  • Frustration and crying during feeding
  • Speech difficulties

Lip Tie Symptoms

Signs that your baby may have a lip tie include:

  • Difficulty flaring their upper lip while breastfeeding
  • Inability to properly seal their lips around the nipple
  • Incomplete removal of milk from the bottle with incorporation of excess air, leading to gas and fussiness

Symptoms of Tongue and Lip Tie in Adults

While tongue and lip ties are typically treated in infancy, some individuals may live with this condition into adulthood. Symptoms may vary depending on the severity of the tie.

Tongue Tie Symptoms

  • Difficulty sticking out the tongue past the lips or touching the roof of the mouth
  • Trouble speaking clearly, especially certain sounds like “T,” “D,” and “l”
  • Poor oral hygiene due to difficulty cleaning the back of the tongue
  • TMJ
  • Teeth grinding

Lip Tie Symptoms

  • Difficulty brushing teeth along the gumline due to restricted movement of upper lip
  • Gum recession and increased risk of tooth decay
  • Open mouth breathing
  • Diastema (space between the front teeth)

When to Seek Treatment

If you or your child are experiencing symptoms related to a tongue or lip tie, it’s important to seek treatment from a qualified professional. These conditions can lead to complications with feeding and oral health if left untreated.

Frenectomy Procedure

A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure that involves releasing the tight or thick connective tissue using a special electrocautery instrument or a scalpel.

The treatment is quick and straightforward and is usually done using local or topical anesthetic. If electrocautery is used, no stitches are required, and the healing time is typically quicker. If a scalpel is used, dissolvable sutures will be used, and the healing time may take slightly longer.


After a frenectomy, it’s important to follow post-surgery care instructions to promote healing and prevent infection. Some tips for aftercare include:

  • Perform physical therapy exercises as recommended to prevent the area from “scarring down”
  • Eat soft foods for the first few days
  • Avoid overly hot or cold food and drinks
  • Avoid crunchy or sharp foods that could irritate the surgical site
  • Avoid alcohol, which can increase bleeding and slow healing
  • Take pain medications as needed to reduce discomfort
  • Gently brush teeth and rinse with warm saltwater to keep the area clean
  • Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol

Benefits of a Frenectomy

A frenectomy can greatly improve oral function and alleviate symptoms associated with lip and tongue ties. Some benefits include:

  • Improved latching and feeding in babies
  • Reduced risk of nipple pain in breastfeeding mothers
  • Better speech clarity in children and adults
  • Improved oral hygiene due to better access for cleaning the tongue or gumline
  • Reduced risk of gingivitis, recession, and tooth decay
  • Better sleep and improved breathing

AZ Max – Your Oral Surgeon in Mesa, AZ

Don’t let a tongue or lip tie affect your quality of life. As experienced oral surgeons, the team at AZ Max Oral Surgery can provide expert care for tongue and lip ties in babies and adults. If you are experiencing symptoms related to this condition, contact us today to schedule a consultation.

We are dedicated to helping you achieve optimal oral health and function. To book an appointment at one of our 5 locations, call (480) 830-5866 or complete the online booking form. 

If you are searching for an ‘oral surgeon near me’ or an ‘oral surgeon in Mesa,’ choose AZ Max for expert care and compassionate service.

Stay tuned for our next blog in the series: The Impact of Tongue and Lip Ties on Speech and Eating Habits.

FAQs About Lip and Tongues Ties

What is a lingual frenectomy?

A lingual frenectomy is a surgical procedure that involves releasing the tight or thick tissue connecting the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. It is commonly done to treat tongue tie, also known as ankyloglossia.

What is a labial frenectomy?

A labial frenectomy is a surgical procedure that involves releasing the tight or thick tissue connecting the upper lip to the gumline. It is commonly done to treat lip tie.

What is a lingual frenulum?

A lingual frenulum is the band of tissue that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. In some cases, this tissue may be too tight or thick, leading to a condition known as tongue tie.

Why is it important to treat tongue and lip ties?

Tongue and lip ties can affect feeding, speech, oral hygiene, and even breathing in some cases. It’s important to treat them in order to alleviate symptoms and prevent long-term complications.

Does a frenectomy hurt?

A frenectomy can be done using local anesthesia, so the procedure itself should not be painful. Some discomfort may be experienced during the healing process, but this can be managed with pain medications as directed by your oral surgeon.