TREE­HOUSE CHIL­DREN’S DEN­TISTRY

Bonita Springs of­fice makes den­tal vis­its fun, easy sched­ul­ing

Times of the Islands - - Health care - BY KLAU­DIA BALOGH Klau­dia Balogh is an Ed­i­to­rial As­sis­tant for TOTI Me­dia.

Fun isn’t usu­ally what comes to mind with pe­di­atric den­tistry. It’s rather the pic­ture of a child try­ing to squirm free even be­fore the den­tist says, "Say ahh." But add a few wildlife an­i­mal char­ac­ters, some whim­si­cal trees, lots of toys and paint a jun­gle that looks straight out of a chil­dren’s book, and you’ve just stepped foot into Tree­house Chil­dren’s Den­tistry.

The pe­di­atric den­tistry in Bonita Springs opened its doors in De­cem­ber 2013, and it goes the ex­tra mile to en­sure that kids will have a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence with the den­tist early on in their lives. The lit­tle green and pink chairs sur­round­ing a blue ta­ble, a large plas­tic ele­phant roast­ing marsh­mal­lows over the camp­fire, video games and movies, cre­ate a set­ting where chil­dren will be happy to re­turn.

Stephanie Sul­li­van, Tree­house mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor, says the il­lu­sion that the den­tist and den­tal of­fices are places to be feared needs to change. “This mis­con­cep­tion has per­pet­u­ated for too long,” she says. “And we see daily the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect it can have if al­lowed to con­tinue.”

Jen­nifer P, an Es­tero blog­ger on Yelp, wrote about her 3-yearold daugh­ter’s first den­tal visit to Tree­house, not­ing a friendly staff and com­fort­ing en­vi­ron­ment. “They even put her fa­vorite TV show on while they cleaned her teeth," she wrote. “Our ex­pe­ri­ence was just per­fect, couldn’t have made her or me more com­fort­able with the process.”

The den­tistry spe­cial­izes in pa­tients from as young as tod­dlers to as old as teenagers, in­clud­ing chil­dren with spe­cial needs, pro­vid­ing den­tal ser­vices and orthodon­tics six days a week. Keep­ing in mind working par­ents and school kids, the den­tist’s of­fice opens early and closes late, al­low­ing par­ents more op­tions to schedule an ap­point­ment.

Sul­li­van says they en­cour­age par­ents to bring their chil­dren a few days early for a visit or ar­rive well ahead of time in or­der for the kids to be­come fa­mil­iar with the at­mos­phere. “At Tree­house, we pro­ceed at the child’s pace and each lit­tle pa­tient is treated with the same care we would pro­vide to a mem­ber of our own fam­ily," Sul­li­van says. She notes that they also en­cour­age par­ents not to make a “big deal” about the den­tist visit and per­haps read the child an en­cour­ag­ing story about go­ing to the den­tist.

Be­sides sched­uled an­nual check­ups and braces, den­tists are also ready to wel­come chil­dren with emer­gen­cies.

Yelp blog­ger KM A. from Naples wrote about her emer­gency ex­pe­ri­ence with Tree­house when her 6-year-old son had a mo­lar issue, say­ing: “I called with an emer­gency, and they got me in the next day. They were able to see him and even ex­tracted it the same day with­out a sec­ond thought. The girls were so car­ing and at­ten­tive to my son, mak­ing sure he was com­fort­able and re­laxed.”

Our ex­pe­ri­ence was just per­fect, couldn’t have made her or me more com­fort­able with the process.” —JEN­NIFER P, ES­TERO BLOG­GER

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