I don’t know anyone who enjoys going to the dentist but it is something we realize must be done on a periodic basis.
When at the dentist, we get a good teeth cleaning and they take a look inside to find out if we have any cavities, tooth decay or gum disease.
One family is happy that they visited their dentist at Kidstown Dental in Katy, Texas because it was a life-changing experience for their six-year-old son. The dentist discovered that he was tongue-tied.
For the first five years of his life, Mason Motz had a very difficult time communicating with his family. He could make some sound but he found it challenging to speak, even though he was given speech therapy sessions.
“He’s been in speech therapy since he was a little over one-year-old,” his mother Meredith Motz told Inside Edition. “Sleeping was always stressful. He would stop breathing.”
“He had trouble eating and swallowing; every single meal we would have to remove something that was choking him. He didn’t get the nutrition he needed. His teeth started having problems.”
Motz and Dalan, her husband, were told that Mason was unable to speak because he had Sotos syndrome.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, the disorder is characterized by overgrowth in childhood, delayed development of mental and movement abilities, and a distinctive facial appearance, including a long, narrow face, high forehead, flushed cheeks and a small, pointed chin.
They visited a number of dentists who were not familiar with treating special needs children but then Motz took her son to see Dr. Amy Luedemann-Lazar, and she made an unexpected discovery.
Mason was sedated when she realized that he was tongue-tied.
“We did detect a tongue-tie,” she told the news outlet. “Mason was not nonverbal; he was just unable to speak. He had been in speech therapy for years and no one had ever checked under his tongue.”
That condition, which is also known as ankyloglossia, occurs when the tongue has an unusually, short and thick tissue underneath. It is what connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth and keeps it from moving.
“When you’re developing (in utero), your tongue is part of the floor of your mouth. “A tongue-tie is an incomplete separation,” Luedemann-Lazar explained, adding its effects can be “huge.”
The dentist said that there are a number of signs your child may be tongue-tied, including having problems with breast-feeding, being a picky eater, having difficulty with speech, unexplained cavities or problems with sleeping.
Using a laser, Luedemann-Lazar was able to loosen the tissue that held his tongue to the floor of his mouth and it gave him the ability to speak.
“The procedure took about three minutes, not very long … and the recovery time, which is dependent on the patient, was a seven hour turnaround for Mason,” his father shared.
The procedure also improved his health in other ways and cured some issues that he had been dealing with for years.
“It’s like night and day. He doesn’t have choking episodes anymore; he’s eating different types of food,” Motz said.
“He’s behaving much better at school. His behavior was a problem, because he was getting poor quality of sleep at night, he was constantly tired and was not able to express himself. He doesn’t snore anymore. He doesn’t have sleep apnea anymore.”
“Mason came in as quiet and apprehensive and nervous,” she said. “He had a lot of challenges … looking at Mason’s growth and development, looking at his airwaves, looking at his muscle attachments, identifying the tongue-tie and correcting that for him, and then walking him … through the process of rehabilitating the tongue function has been amazing. It’s like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow because that’s what Mason is.”
“He is bright and has so much to say after years of not being able to communicate what was in his heart and in his head. So he’s very interactive and funny and sweet.”
Motz says she will be “eternally grateful” to that dentist and is now an advocate for awareness surrounding tongue ties.
“If you think there’s something going on, find a doctor that will respect your opinion,” the mother-of-two said.