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The Ultimate Guide to Cheek Ties

While less common, less recognized, and less impactful, cheek ties, also known as buccal ties are another form of oral restriction. These ties occur when the cheek's mobility is restricted due to a tight or thickened frenulum. While the impact may be less, they may still lead to challenges and restrictions to oral function and health.

What are Cheek Ties?

Cheek ties occur when the buccal frenulum (pronounced buh ·kl like buckle), the band of connective tissue attaching the cheek to the gums is abnormally tight or thick. This tension restricts the cheek's movement and can affect breastfeeding, chewing, swallowing, or oral hygiene practices.

Causes and Symptoms

In infants, they can affect proper latch during breastfeeding, leading to difficulties in milk transfer, inadequate nutrition, and frustration for mother and baby. In children and adults, restricted cheek mobility can lead to challenges fully chewing food and or swallowing, as well as potential ineffective cleaning of the teeth and gums.

Cheek ties can potentially impact facial development, especially in infants and young children. Restricted cheek mobility may influence the proper growth and alignment of the jaws, potentially leading to issues such as malocclusion or misalignment of the teeth.

Treatment for Cheek Ties

As with a tongue and cheek tie, a frenectomy is a surgical solution to cheek ties. It is a procedure to release or loosen the tight frenulum via scissors or a CO2 laser. Consulting with healthcare professionals, including pediatric dentists or oral surgeons, can help diagnose and recommend appropriate treatment options.

As always, after a frenectomy, it is essential to follow post-treatment care guidelines provided by the healthcare professional. This includes exercises or stretching techniques to prevent reattachment, promote optimal healing, and restore full cheek mobility.

Again, cheek ties are less commonly discussed and may not require treatment as frequently as tongue and lip ties. The need for treatment depends on the severity of the cheek tie and the impact it has on oral function and overall well-being. Each case is unique, and treatment decisions should be made in consultation with healthcare professionals who specialize in oral health and pediatric care.

*Freed Up Mama is not a medical professional. This blog is for educational and advocacy purposes only. Please seek a trusted medical professional if you suspect you may need treatment for oral restrictions.


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