- A condition called tongue tie kept Mason Motz (not pictured here) from speaking clearly.
- Klaus D. Peter/Wikimedia Commons
- Mason Motz, 6, was mostly nonverbal until a dentist recently noticed he had a condition called tongue tie.
- In tongue tie, a tight band of tissue tethers the tongue to the floor of the mouth.
- This can interfere with breastfeeding in babies and with speech in older kids.
- Hours after the dentist corrected Motz’s tongue tie, he was speaking in full sentences.
A 6-year-old boy in Texas is speaking clearly for the first time in his life after a dentist happened to notice -and swiftly corrected – a condition limiting the movement of his tongue, the New York Times reported on Friday.
Meredith and Dalan Motz spent years thinking their son, Mason, was mostly nonverbal. He had suffered an aneurysm as a baby and had also been diagnosed with Sotos syndrome, a disorder that can cause learning disabilities and developmental delays. He had been in speech therapy since age 1 but was still speaking at a 1-year-old level, the Times reported.
Then, during a dental appointment for an unrelated procedure in April 2017, Mason’s dentist, Dr. Amy Luedemann-Lazar, noticed that her young patient had tongue tie.
Tongue tie, or ankyloglossia, is a condition that’s present at birth, according to the Mayo Clinic. It happens when the lingual frenulum – the band of tissue that anchors the tongue to the floor of the mouth – is unusually short, inhibiting the tongue’s movement.
The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that about 10% of the population has some form of tongue tie. The condition may cause latching difficulty in breastfeeding babies or speech issues in older children.
Dr. Luedemann-Lazar rushed to Mason’s parents in the waiting room and asked if she could correct the tie by cutting the frenulum with a laser, the Times reported. The Motzes consented, just hours after the 10-second procedure, there was a noticeable change.
“We took him home that evening and then he started talking about, ‘I’m hungry; I’m thirsty; Can we watch a movie?’” Meredith said in an interview with Inside Edition. “[He was] blowing our minds with these full sentences for the first time, within 7, 8 hours of coming home … it was just shocking.”
- Tongue tie can cause breastfeeding problems for babies.
- Akkalak Aiempradit/Shutterstock
The Mayo Clinic notes that treatment of tongue tie is controversial. Some experts advise addressing it right after a baby is born, but others don’t, because in some cases tongue tie may not cause issues or may even resolve over time.
But when it does cause long-lasting problems, it can be corrected with a frenotomy – quickly snipping the lingual frenulum with scissors or a laser – or the more complex frenuloplasty.
A frenotomy – the procedure Mason had – usually causes minimal discomfort and bleeding, since there aren’t many nerve endings or blood vessels in the lingual frenulum, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Now that Mason’s tongue tie has been corrected, he has returned to speech therapy, is speaking at a 4-year-old level, and is expected to catch up with his peers by the time he turns 13, the Times report added.
His speech isn’t the only thing that’s changed, either.
“His sleep has improved, which results in better behavior because he is not tired,” Mason’s mother, Meredith, told INSIDER. “He has stopped getting ear infections and can chew and swallow better.” She also said her son’s big strides haven’t happened overnight – they’re a reflection of his ongoing work in speech therapy.
“I feel a little overwhelmed but happy that Mason’s story is educating people on this issue,” she added. “I did not expect it to resonate with so many people!”
Watch Inside Edition’s report on Mason below:
Dr. Amy Luedemann-Lazar did not immediately return INSIDER’s request for comment.
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