Little thing between gums and upper lip torn? Bad thing? Blessing in disguise?

Catherine - posted on 01/02/2011 ( 4 moms have responded )




My eighteen month old daughter's mouth has been bleeding. I discovered today that the little thing that connects the upper lip to the gums has detached in some way from the gums.
Yesterday it was bleeding but she fights me when I try to look at her mouth, so it was hard to tell, and I thought her gums were bleeding around her front teeth, (her right front tooth is a tad crooked and too close to the left one). I haven't ever taken her to the dentist because there has never been a reason.
After looking it up, I see that having an "attached fenulum" is common and causes things like hard time breast feeding, problems with tooth spacing and so forth. Looking back I am thinking maybe it was attached and I never noticed? She had a hard time breast feeding, and all her teeth are really close together and they're a little crooked in the front. She always has had a hard time with teething (compared to my 3yr old who never even acted like it ever bothered him).
I also read that sometime just during play a child can hit their mouth and it can tear this, or severe it from the gums. As far as I know she hasn't had any big hits to the mouth, but then again, she's not really a crier, so I could have missed it if she did and didn't cry.
I know there's a lot of assuming going on here, but I don't want to take her to the doc/dentist if it isn't necessary and if it will heal on its own, especially if it was actually a problem in the first place for it to be attached and now has potentially fixed itself.
So is this a dental problem? or something you take your baby to the doctor for?
I'm not sure what she is doing to cause it to start bleeding again, unless maybe she tore it and it is further tearing when she agitates it.
Any info, stories, or advice would be appreciated. :)
Thank you so much.

(and sorry this message is a little erratic, two toddlers climbing on me while I was typing. haha)


Tcordukes - posted on 01/03/2011




My Son Split his after falling off a bike at day care, Took his to hospital that night (The hole was quite large thought he might need a stich), they said cause it's the mouth it would heal fine and quickly, but I still needed to check it to make sure it didn't get infected.

Sherri - posted on 01/02/2011




Actually it is a doctor problem. During a recent car accident this happened to one of the 5yr olds I was transporting. She had to be put on a round of antibiotics to ensure she didn't get an infection and she had to go for a couple of checks to make sure it was healing okay. If you are also questioning her teeth I would also make an appt. for the dentist if not she can wait on the dentist till around 3yrs.

Sneaky - posted on 01/03/2011




An 'attached' fenulum is a dentist problem - the attachment part is when it goes between the front two teeth and attaches to the roof of the mouth instead of the gum. The fenulum has a ligament in it so if it needs to be corrected the dentist uses a general anesthetic to knock bub out so that when the fenulum is snipped, both ends of the ligament can be tied off. Snipping with out tying off the ends of the ligament can affect the control a child has over their upperlip possibly affecting speech and the way they smile.

Having said that, I seriously doubt your bub has torn the ligament in her fenulum but I would get it checked out by a dentist to make sure it does not need to be snipped.

BTW, here in Australia it is medically recommended that all children start seeing a dentist at one year old and then have six month check-ups (Hurray for high sugar diets!). If your daughter has a 'crooked' tooth it would probably be a good idea to get a dentist to check it out and make sure that no food is getting caught up there. At her age the dentist would not actually do anything in the way of cleaning or anything, just have a look, count teeth and start a record of how her teeth are growing in. If she did need a clean or have a cavity (at her age they would pull the tooth, not fill it) they should give her a GA and do it so that she would not be traumatized. I have been taking my daughters since they were both a year old, they have their 'check-ups' and then one sits on my lap when I have my teeth cleaned and the other sits on daddy's lap when he has his teeth cleaned so they can get familiar with all the noises and learn that seeing the dentist (as noisy and uncomfortable it is) is nothing to be afraid of.

In case you are wondering - my two year old has an attached fenulum. She did have trouble breast feeding and eating solid food (she could eat purees but had trouble with sandwiches, etc). She seems to be growing out of that but we are waiting to see if it affects her speech before we decide if we are going to have it snipped. . . . I am terrified of her going under a GA so we decided to leave it as long as possible.

Good luck!


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Krista - posted on 01/02/2011




I would say that it's a dentist problem. They may not be able to do anything about it, but it's worth checking out. And at 18 months old, she's about due for her first dental checkup anyway.

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