Tongue and Lip Ties

If your child has a tongue or lip tie, you need a specialized team to assist in resolving the issue and help your baby feel more comfortable and improve function. At Little Flower Family Medicine (LFFM), we’re proud to be one of the only practices in the St. Louis area that specializes in treating tongue ties and lip ties in infants, children, and adults.

With the experienced and compassionate guidance of Dr. Grawey and her staff, you can trust that you’re receiving the best possible care for your unique situation.

What Are Tongue Ties and Lip Ties?

The first thing to know about tongue and lip ties is that they’re relatively common.

Tongue ties occur when the tissue that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth (called the lingual frenulum) is too tight. A tight frenulum can restrict the tongue’s natural movement and make it difficult for a baby to latch to the breast effectively, feed and swallow normally. If a tongue-tie persists into childhood, it can impact speech development, and contribute to feeding and dental issues. In adulthood it has been linked to tongue tiring after speaking, headaches, neck pain, TMJ pain disorder, reflux and sleep apnea.

Lip ties are similar to tongue ties. They occur when the upper frenulum (which attaches the upper lip to the gums) is too tight. Lip ties can cause issues with breastfeeding and bottlefeeding. In some cases, lip ties can even trap food or milk between the tightly-attached upper lip and teeth, causing cavities on the front surfaces of the upper teeth. While tongue and lip ties can exist independently of one another, it is common for individuals who have lip ties to also have tongue ties.

According to recent research, tongue ties are present in about 4-11% of infants.

How Do Tongue Ties and Lip Ties Affect Infants and Mothers?

Breastfeeding issues are the most common reason parents identify tongue and lip ties in infants. When a tongue or lip tie is present, the baby may…

  • Experience difficulty latching at all to the breast or bottle.
  • Experience difficulty latching deeply or properly, causing nipple damage and pain, or inefficient feeding.
  • Struggle to stay latched to the breast, or make clicking sounds during nursing as he or she nurses. This is the result of the baby trying to maintain suction.
  • Choke or sputter when the mother has a fast letdown.
  • Exhibit near-constant hunger signs in an attempt to get enough milk.
  • Gain weight poorly, or require supplementation to gain weight.
  • Develop jaundice.
  • Be fussy or frustrated at the breast.
  • Develop colic or gas.

Mothers of infants with tongue or lip ties, meanwhile, may experience…

  • Pain during breastfeeding, and varying degrees of nipple damage.
  • Nipples that are compressed or distorted, or which have a white stripe at the tip after a feeding.
  • Engorgement, mastitis, or blocked ducts.
  • Low milk supply or production, despite nursing on-demand.
  • A sense of discouragement about the breastfeeding relationship, or a premature end to breastfeeding.

How We Treat Tongue and Lip Ties

At Little Flower Family Medicine, our mission is to provide fast, safe, effective relief for tongue and lip ties, so both babies and mothers can feel more comfortable immediately.

To release tongue and lip ties, we perform a procedure called a frenectomy. The frenectomy is a simple procedure that involves laser treatment of the frenulum to release the tongue and/or lip and restore proper movement.

At Little Flower Family Medicine, Dr. Grawey and her staff perform frenectomies using a diode laser, which ensures a fast, efficient, and precise cut. The diode laser also reduces pain, bleeding, and the need for repeat procedures, and helps shorten recovery time.

Frenectomies are outpatient procedures that do not require general anesthesia. For patients ten days and older, our team may use topical anesthesia to ensure comfort. The entire procedure takes just a few minutes and often provides improvement in nursing challenges right away.

What to Expect at a Tongue Tie/Lip Tie Consultation at LFFM


Tongue Tie or Lip Tie Evaluation

In this appointment, we review what symptoms are present and if they are due to ties. For breastfeeding mother/baby pairs, this 90-minute lactation consultation helps us make the diagnosis, but our team may be with you for two hours to make sure all your needs are addressed.  



The timing of frenectomy is as important to its success as good surgical technique and sometimes patient preparation is needed. If we determine that a patient could benefit from surgery, we will advise on optimal timing. We may schedule a frenectomy for another appointment, often in 5-7 days.  


Follow-up Care and Ongoing Support

To ensure a good surgical result after a tongue tie procedure, a follow-up wound check is recommended 3-6 days after the procedure. We also want to ensure that symptoms resolve so will follow-up on the non-surgical treatments needed. We are here for you until all issues are resolved. 

Dealing with a tongue or lip tie in an infant can be frustrating, worrying, and stressful.

Our team is here to help. Offering compassionate, holistic care for tongue and lip ties, we’ll help you restore the feeding relationship and relieve stress and discomfort for both you and your baby – starting the day of the consultation. Contact us today to learn more or fill out the form below to schedule your initial consultation.