Columbia, SC Edition
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Southern Roots Periodontics: Helping Nursing Mothers in Need

Never in my imagination would I have believed that someday it would be my passion to care for families that are struggling in the area of infant nursing, specifically the ability to effectively do so. Some of the heartbreaking but common self-reflective questions I’ve heard from families include: “I have breasts but cannot use them” or “I have breasts but will never know what it is to nurse my baby.” This very issue impacted my own family when my wife struggled to nurse our boys—enduring pain, emotional stress, and agonizing debate over whether to continue the process or just give up.

    The journey for this passion of mine started long before my wife and I were having breastfeeding difficulties with our own children. It all began when she and I attended a babywearing meeting where I was asked by Kristyn Leonard, CLC, who is now my colleague, if I knew how to perform frenectomies on babies that are unable to nurse. I responded, “Sure I can, but I was taught how to do them with scissors and a scalpel.” Kristyn then asked me a question that would forever change how I perform surgeries: “Can you perform the surgeries using a laser?” Her question immediately filled my mind with intrigue. How do I even begin to learn how to use a laser when they were not even discussed in dental school? Additionally, there were no discussions of how tongue and lip ties can negatively affect a baby’s ability to nurse. Her question sent me on a quest for learning and expertise to meet a critical need amongst mothers—one that I felt she was challenging me to take on.

    Filled with trepidation and doubt, I boarded a plane to Bothell, Washington, where I attended my first laser surgery and safety proficiency course. I was fascinated but felt the need to learn more before I invested in the laser technology for my practice. I traveled to Tufts University, in Massachusetts, for more training. I bought books to read about tongue and lip ties and the genetics surrounding this issue. I called all of the U.S.-based laser companies to question CEOs about how their lasers work. My mind and heart were satisfied when I called the owner of LightScalpel, a CO2 laser manufacturer that produces precision lasers that many plastic surgeons use. I was warmly greeted by the company CEO, Peter Vitruk, Ph.D., who gave me a grand tour of the company’s headquarters. There, I met everyday American workers that proudly build the company’s lasers. I learned a great deal about the physics behind this laser. Indeed, my calling was found.

    Following my very valuable visit, I returned home to Columbia, bringing back with me this newfound technology to integrate into my practice, Southern Roots Periodontics: Implant & Laser Dentistry LLC. For a couple of years now, I have had the distinct blessing and honor of teaming up with some of the best providers throughout our state, as well as surrounding states.

    Collaboration with lactation consultants, chiropractors, massage therapists, speech pathologists, pediatricians, ENTs, and others, is vital and an everyday part of my practice. Families now have the option to have lactation support and bodywork under one roof—helping to assess the functionality and restriction of the lip and tongue. At Southern Roots Periodontics, families can now find peace of mind knowing that if surgery is necessary for their little one, skilled expertise and gentle and compassionate guidance will undergird them every step of the way. To me, there is no better feeling in the world than to hear a loving mother, once ready to give up her nursing relationship with her child, tell me that she will continue to nurse as a result of effective treatment—one without pain.

Southern Roots Periodontics: Implant & Laser Dentistry LLC is located at 2120 N. Beltline Blvd., Ste. B, in Columbia. For more information, call Matthew J. Rowe, DDS, MSD (Diplomate, American Board of Periodontics and Implantology), at 803-782-0528.

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