For most of us, trips to the dentist are a matter of routine. We go every six months for a cleaning. Perhaps, occasionally, we need a filling or an involved procedure. But for Mason Motz of Katy, Texas, a trip to the dentist proved to be life-changing.
A Challenging Childhood
Mason Motz was born with a condition known as Sotos Syndrome. It’s a genetic disorder that causes overgrowth in childhood, as well as developmental delays. Kids who have Sotos Syndrome sometimes struggle to complete ordinary tasks.
Mason’s parents assumed that his diagnosis was responsible for the difficulty he had speaking and eating. He had respiratory problems and sometimes, his lack of ability to communicate led to behavioral problems as well.
The family had been to countless specialists, including geneticists, neurologists, and speech therapists. Surprisingly, it was a local pediatric dentist who discovered the problem.
You may have used the expression “tongue-tied” without realizing that it describes a medical condition in which the base of the tongue fails to detach from the bottom of the mouth. The formal name for this condition is ankyloglossia. It’s characterized by difficulty with breast-feeding and eating, speech, and breathing.
When Dr. Amy Luedemann-Lazar looked into Mason’s mouth, she saw what the problem was immediately. Mason’s tongue was anchored to the bottom of his mouth by a lingual frenulum, a thick band of tissue on the underside of the tongue.
Since Dr. Luedemann-Lazar specializes in treating patients with tongue-ties, she was able to explain the condition to Mason’s parents and recommend a quick laser procedure to free his tongue and restore his ability to speak.
Speaking in Sentences
The aftermath of a tongue-tie correction can seem like a miracle, and certainly that was the case for Mason and his family. Within just hours of the brief procedure, Mason had gone from not being able to pronounce simple words to speaking in complete sentences.
Before the procedure, when Mason would try to say “Daddy” to his father, Dalan, all that would come out was the single syllable, “Da.” Now he can say what he wants to say.
The gift of communication has changed Mason’s life. His parents describe a child who has turned 180 degrees from where he was.
A local news station broadcast a short video Mason’s mom, Meredith, shot on her cell phone. It shows Mason talking excitedly about his science class, telling his mother, “We drew the planet Earth!”
Mason’s parents feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to Dr. Luedemann-Lazar. His dad said, “There’s nothing I can say that’s enough, nothing I can do that’s enough that explains my gratitude.”
The Solution Going Forward
Mason still has challenges to overcome but having the use of his tongue makes those challenges a little bit easier for him and his family.
The Motzes say they hope that Mason’s case will help draw attention to a common problem with an easy solution. They encourage any parent whose child is having issues to seek additional opinions to try to find the problem.
Dr. Luedemann-Lazar takes it a step further. She thinks all newborn babies should be examined for ankyloglossia. Addressing the issue early will allow people born with this condition to eat, breathe, and speak without difficulty.