Providers use a classification system to describe the attachment of the lip tie. This system only indicates where the frenulum (tie) is attached between the lip and the upper jaw. Providers usually refer to four types of lip tie (pictures below).
This system does not indicate the severity of the tie.
Type 3 can be a very flexible frenulum with no symptoms whilst a very tight frenulum (type 2) can give a whole range of symptoms.
Type 4 is therefore not any “worse” than type 2.
Although a tight type 4 obviously gives even less movement of the lip and can affect the ability of the lip to flange out and hold on to the breast or bottle.
Babies and children manage to compensate really well with their jaw muscles and people can grow old with a lip tie often with hardly any symtoms.
Sometimes the upper lip tie creates a gap between the front teeth, but can’t always be said for certain.
Brushing the front teeth can be difficult and painful with a tie “in the way”.
With debris stuck under a lip tie, caries may occur earlier in the upper front teeth. To determine if there’s an impairment of the flange of the lip onto the breast a Lactation consultant (IBCLC) can observe the breastfeeding.
The consultant lifts up the upper lip to see if it flanges out.
If there is blanching, ( white in colour) on the gum, there is resulting tension and inflexibility all pointing to a tie.