A minor surgical intervention can be a life changing experience. “There’s nothing I can say enough, do enough, or give back enough that explains my gratitude to her,” was Dalan Motz’ heartfelt response to Dr. Amy Luedemann-Lazar. The experience a father and mother shared when their son, Mason, who was finally able to speak clearly and articulate his words without difficulty for the first time in his life, after a tongue-tie release surgery, should serve as a testament to that fact.
Mason Motz is a 6 year old boy who until recently lacked the ability to fully enunciate words despite years of speech therapy. The Motz family emphasized that the combination of Mason’s sleep disordered breathing and inability to chew and swallow food without choking was the source of numerous behavioral problems in his life. Mason was diagnosed with Sotos syndrome, a genetic disorder identified by a long, narrow face, overgrowth in childhood, and learning disabilities. Seeking remediation from numerous clinicians, including pediatricians, geneticists, neurologists, and speech pathologists, proved personally frustrating and ineffective in alleviating these symptoms.
Enter Dr. Amy Luedemann-Lazar, a dentist specializing in tongue-tie release who recognizes the virtues of holistic treatment and interdisciplinary treatment modalities. While performing routine dental work, she observed Mason’s tongue-tie. After consulting with his parents, she performed a simple, non-invasive surgical release that permanently changed the course of the entire Motz family. The results were astonishing! Upon returning home, Mason began to speak in full sentences. He is presently not afflicted by obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. Chewing and swallowing food no longer present a daily choking hazard for him. In short, his quality of life has drastically improved.
Points worth considering…
Detecting the presence of tongue-tie should be a priority for our child(ren)! Dr. Luedemann-Lazar advocates, as do I and virtually all the myofunctional therapists I know, for mandatory tongue-tie screening as part of a comprehensive health treatment assessment.
Tongue-tie, medically termed ankyloglossia, which is defined as a short or thickened frenulum restricting the tongue’s range of motion has multiple sequela which even experienced medical professionals may dismiss or overlook. Tongue-tie affects the natural resting posture of the tongue inside the mouth, inhibiting one’s ability to speak, eat, practice nasal breathing, and/or sleep soundly. An aberrant oral resting position can develop multiple pathologies, anatomical, physiological, and behavioral: including malocclusion, mouthbreathing, and altered facial development (such as “long face syndrome”).
Collaborative interdisciplinary treatment modalities are beneficial in diagnosis, assessment, and remediation. Mason’s case teaches us that the more clinical professionals we incorporate in our treatment plans, the higher the odds of achieving optimal health. Mason’s team included pediatricians, geneticists, neurologists, speech therapists, and a caring, attentive dentist who was able to properly diagnose and release his tongue-tie.
Successfully treating orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) through the combination of surgery and myofunctional therapy greatly enhances the patient’s quality of life. Clinical research has demonstrated the effectiveness of myofunctional therapy, both alone and as an adjunct treatment modality to surgical intervention. Repatterning dysfunctional orofacial behaviors (ie. tongue thrust, mouth breathing, etc.) and eliminating harmful habits (ie. finger sucking, nail biting, etc.) are examples of integral behavior modification techniques applied by myofunctional therapists.