Meet Dr. Vanessa Freitas
As a mom, I understand the emotions that come with becoming a parent for the first time. Your life changes forever, and you may feel uncertain about the next steps. But one thing we all have in common is the fierce protection we have for our babies.
I, too, experienced this love and protection for my firstborn Gigi. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with tongue tie, and despite my background as a pediatric dentist, my knowledge at the time about this condition was limited.
I followed the recommendations of her lactation consultant and had her tongue snipped, but I still struggled with low milk supply and felt like I was failing as a new mom.
Gigi’s tongue tie was treated, and the issue was resolved. But I was only able to breastfeed for few months. I often heard “because you had to introduce the bottle too early to go back to your residency, she learned the “easy way” and now wants the bottle only.” That was very painful to hear, and in my ears it sounded like I was failing as new mom. And I blamed myself!
Time passed and I had my son, Liam. This time I wanted to do things differently. Although, he did not present any of the most typical signs and symptoms, this time around I had complications from a tongue tie condition such as pain, mastitis and again, “low supply”.
Even with all these signs, no one ever told me he had a tongue and lip tie. And again, bottle became the only way for my son to get his milk supply. As for me, the only feeling was disappointment and the sensation that I had failed again!
Liam was still a baby when I went to a dental conference and deepen my knowledge about tongue and lip tie. That was so enlightening and fascinating!
I could see that my kids have had a lot of the signs and symptoms of tongue and lip tie. I decided to dive deep into it… I signed up for meetings and conferences, I read books and articles about this topic. And what I learned helped me to understand the reason why my children could not be breastfeed.
I realized my struggles were not my fault. I discovered that both of my children had ties and that my daughter’s tie was not fully released during the snipping procedure.
After all of this, I felt a strong desire to help other mothers avoid the pain and insecurity that I went through. That’s why I obtained additional training specifically tailored to tongue and lip ties and founded The Tongue Tie Institute.
I wanted to be able to diagnose and help other struggling moms, so they didn’t have to go through same challenges, uncertainty and guilty as I did.
I am Dr. Vanessa Freitas, a Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist with a passion for my profession. I am fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish and love caring for children and special needs patients. I am also trained in all aspects of pediatric dentistry, including laser dentistry, which I taught during my time as a faculty member of the Pediatric Dentistry Residency at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
My passion for Laser in Dentistry started early in my career. I was selected to participate in an exchange program as researcher in Laser in Dentistry at Aachen University, Germany.
In 2011, I completed two years of advanced postgraduate education at University of Connecticut, where she received a Certificate of Advanced Education in General Dentistry.
Dr. Vanessa completed a Pediatric Residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Children’s Hospital of Alabama in 2013. During her residency and due to her superior performance, Dr. Vanessa was selected to be the Chief Resident.
Dr. Vanessa has extensive experience in treating children, adolescents and special needs patients. She is trained in all aspects of pediatric dentistry including preventive treatment, dental emergencies, dental trauma, conscious sedation, hospital dentistry and laser dentistry.
She is a former faculty of the Pediatric Dentistry Residency at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. During her time teaching, Dr. Vanessa developed the Laser in Dentistry course and implemented this technology to the residents. Dr. Vanessa is a former Laser Safety Chair at the Academy of Laser in Dentistry. She is also a co-author of several scientific publications.
She has professional affiliations with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Florida Dental Association, Southern Society of Pediatric Dentist, and Academy of Laser in Dentistry.
Dr. Vanessa speaks fluent English, Portuguese and Spanish. Dr. Vanessa lives in the Broward with her husband, Dr. Rod Souza, her two children, Giovanna and Liam.
An English golden retriever born in Illinois, Maggie is proficient in snuggles, motivation, and cheering people up on a rough day. Animal-assisted therapy uses special dogs to help kids deal with mental, emotional and physical issues.
She likes flip flops but prefers barefoot, falls asleep during every movie. Loves the dentist and meeting new people. Her favorite food is bacon and has a “Keep calm and carry on” sign in her room.