Tongue tie is real, but the procedure to fix it is, luckily, quick and easy–if you know what symptoms to look for.

By Stacey Leasca
Updated October 04, 2018
Symptoms of Tongue Tie
Credit: MARTINS RUDZITIS/Getty Images

Mason Motz, a 6-year-old boy from Texas, spent most of his life silent. His parents long believed that he was non-verbal as part of his learning disability. But, a quick visit to the dentist revealed that Mason had a simple case of being tongue-tied, which is indeed a common and treatable medical problem.

“Nothing was really working,” his mom Meredith told Inside Edition. “He had probably a five-word vocabulary, and we were looking at alternative means of communication.”

According to Mason’s parents, the boy suffered a brain aneurysm when he was just 10 days old. That, in turn, caused developmental delays, which may have been why doctors overlooked the simplest solution to his loss for words.

However, during the recent visit to Kidstown Dental for a routine checkup, Dr. Amy Luedemann-Lazar noticed the issue.

As the Mayo Clinic explains, tongue-tie, otherwise known as ankyloglossia, is a condition that is present at birth. It restricts the tongue's range of motion due to an unusually short, thick, or tight band of tissue known as the lingual frenulum that tethers the bottom of the tongue's tip to the floor of the mouth.

“Someone who has tongue-tie might have difficulty sticking out his or her tongue,” Mayo Clinic notes. “Tongue-tie can also affect the way a child eats, speaks and swallows.” In total, it affects between four and 10 percent of the population.

In some cases, the symptoms of tongue-tie don't become apparent until a baby has trouble breastfeeding–which is difficult for a tongue-died babies because they can't open their mouths enough to latch on.

When Luedemann-Lazar saw the tissue, she asked Mason’s parents if she could cut it. With their permission, she used a laser to cut the tissue and, in just 30 seconds, Mason’s life changed forever by a simple surgery.

“We took him home that evening, and then he started talking about, ‘I’m hungry, I’m thirsty. Can we watch a movie?’ Like, blowing our minds with these full sentences for the first time, within seven or eight hours of coming home [after the tongue-tie procedure],” Meredith said. “It was just shocking.”

As for what Meredith thinks other parents should do in a similar situation, she said it’s simple: Trust your gut.

“[Parents] should trust their gut instincts about their child, and if you think that something is going on, doctors may tell you one thing but keep looking and keep trying, because you’re usually right,” she said. “You know your child best.”