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Boy Thought To Be 'Nonverbal' Gets To Speak After Dentist Discovers And Corrects His Tongue-Tie

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Tongue-tie or ankyloglossia is a condition that restricts the tongue's range of motion. While some tongue-ties do not cause problems, some require surgical interventions.  ( Me Messick | Pixabay )

A 6-year-old Texas boy finally gets to speak after a simple procedure at the dentist fixed his tongue-tie. For the first five years of his life, his speech problem was thought to be related to his known disorder.

Mason Motz’s Struggle

Six-year-old Mason Motz barely spoke for the first five years of his life. He could only make out sounds but continued to struggle with words even with speech therapy, so he had to use other means of communication. His parents, Dalan and Meredith, were told that it was because of his Sotos syndrome, a disorder that is characterized by distinctive facial appearance, delayed development of mental and movement abilities, and overgrowth in childhood.

That all changed in November 2017, when his parents brought him to dentist Dr. Amy Luedemann-Lazar, who specializes in children with special needs. They went to her clinic to have his cavities removed, but Luedemann-Lazar noticed something that pediatricians and experts did not notice.

Tongue-Tied

Evidently, the reason that Mason could not speak was because he was tongue-tied, which means that his tongue is attached close to the floor of his mouth, limiting its range of motion. Using a laser, Luedemann-Lazar loosened the tissue holding Mason’s tongue to the floor of his mouth, and within minutes, his condition was treated.

“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,” said Luedemann-Lazar.

That same evening, Mason was able to say “Mama, I’m hungry” when in the past he even struggled to say “dad” and said “da” instead. According to his parents, he had not stopped talking since and could now speak in full sentences, count to 100, recite the alphabet, and even recount the events of his day.

Ankyloglossia

Ankyloglossia, or more commonly known as tongue-tie, is a condition present at birth wherein the tongue’s range of motion is restricted. People with the condition have a tissue called lingual frenulum that attaches their tongue to the floor of their mouths, and may have difficulties in speaking, chewing, and swallowing.

People who are tongue-tied have an unusually short, thick, or tight lingual frenulum that tethers their tongue to the floor of their mouths. In some cases, a simple surgical procedure may be done to release the frenulum.
(Photo : Mayo Clinic) People who are tongue-tied have an unusually short, thick, or tight lingual frenulum that tethers their tongue to the floor of their mouths. In some cases, a simple surgical procedure may be done to release the frenulum.

Symptoms of tongue-tie may include difficulties in moving the tongue from side to side or to the upper teeth, inability to stick out the tongue past the lower teeth, and a tongue that may appear heart-shaped when stuck out. While some cases of tongue-tie may not cause problems, in some cases such as Mason’s, it may require a simple surgical procedure to be corrected.

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