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Chiropractic Care for Tongue-Tie and Lip-Tie

baby and motherThese common childhood conditions don’t always require removal. Find out more.

An inability to properly breastfeed, clicking noises while a baby is suckling, excessive drooling, inadequate weight gain, or “gumming” and chewing of the nipple during feeding. These are all potential signs of tongue-ties and lip-ties, which we often see at the practice.

What Are They?

A tongue-tie or lip-tie is an extra little piece of skin that either tethers an infant’s lip or tongue, and can affect feeding. If new parents are experiencing trouble with breast or bottle feeding, oftentimes a lactation consultant, pediatrician, or pediatric dentist will look for these tongue-ties or lip-ties.

The Conventional Approach

If a physician or pediatric dentist finds a tongue-tie or lip-tie, they’re often quick to recommend removal, in which the tie can either be clipped with a small scissor or burned with a laser. It’s an uncomfortable procedure, and parents have to address the wound multiple times per day by repeatedly rubbing the wound with their finger, so it doesn’t return as scar tissue.

Are There Always Symptoms?

No, often babies don’t have any symptoms, such as challenges with feeding, speech, and dental development. Our experience is that these ties are getting removed on babies who don’t necessarily have functional problems.

Checking Baby’s Latch

In our practice, we have started to assess every newborn baby’s latch. We check their palate, jaw, and upper neck, because all the nerves have an intimate connection and play a huge role in how that baby can feed, whether from a breast or bottle. The mechanics are similar, as a baby needs to open their mouth wide, and coordinate that intricate dance of the tongue and mouth to draw milk in, swallow and repeat.

Often we work with the latch, the jaw, and the upper neck, and with the cranial positioning, and so often we get the dramatic change that the parent needed if they had some challenge with feeding. “A baby can avoid that procedure altogether, which is awesome to not have to go through something that maybe is unnecessary,” said Dr. Joe.

Identifying Tension Patterns

Even if your baby has the procedure, when chiropractic care is given afterward, it will help heal and make the tie less likely to grow back. However, it’s vital to identify those tension patterns in the body-neurological interference in the nerves of the upper head and neck that control the motion of the jaw that controls that latch reflex.

If you’re not addressing some of those underlying issues, the revision (the term used when the tongue-tie is clipped) may or may not be effective. It will be like bandaging, a problem that may still impact the child’s oral facial development and speech. That’s because you’re not addressing the root cause.

Sometimes we have families that do get the procedure done for their baby, and are grateful they had the bodywork done ahead of time and after. Often their providers refer them to us, saying, “It’s important your baby sees a chiropractor.”

If you’ve been told your child has tongue-tie or lip-tie, contact us today to book an evaluation.

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