Tongue and Lip Ties

A tongue tie is a non-medical term used to describe a relatively common condition that limits the movement of the tongue, ankyloglossia. Whilst still in utero, a strong cord of tissue, or frenum, guides the development of the structures of the mouth. As we continue developing in the womb, this cord recedes. Everyone has a small frenum remaining, however, in some people this structure is particularly tight and can cause problems. The complex muscle structures of the tongue and lip are important for all oral functions. When these are restricted, nursing, eating, dental, or speech problems can result, and can be very serious in some individuals.

Through Brisbane Tongue Tie Clinic, Dr Helen has helped numerous families with tongue-tie and lip-tie difficulties. We have comfortable quiet rooms for mothers and their babies to feed in privacy after the consultation and treatment, as well as toys to entertain older siblings.

A personal note from Dr Helen

This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. My training and years at Westmead Centre for Oral Health taught me to recognise and release tongue and lip ties. I understood the symptoms, and how the presence of a tie could impact on the breastfeeding for both mother and child.

However, it was the birth of my second child that made me truly empathise with those who struggle with nurturing a newborn with a tongue tie. From the start, feeding felt different to my first baby. Being familiar with the symptoms, I quickly realised he had both tongue and lip ties. I’m not ashamed to admit that I didn’t last long without realising that I would have to release my own son’s tongue and lip ties, or we would both continue suffering.

This experience has renewed my sense of urgency in providing prompt treatment to those mothers who have challenges associated with nursing an infant with oral restrictions. Having personally experienced it with my own son,  I really understand and admire those mothers whose determination to successfully breastfeed their tongue- and lip tied infants drives them to find the solution that not only provides relief, but also prevents future challenges for their growing child.

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