Note: This is the first post in our six-part series on pediatric dentistry sponsored by Burleson Orthodontics. This series will include tips and information from Dr Dustin Burleson on preparing your children for dental care, as well as issues in pediatric dentistry and experiences with pediatric dental care shared by our contributor team.
Today’s post includes a brief profile of Dr Dustin Burleson and his Kansas City dental practice, as well as some stories and tips related to the care of children in his office. Dr Burleson is the 2013 Missouri Dental Association New Dentist of the Year and will serve as president of the Greater Kansas City Dental Society in 2014.
KCMB: So I see that you have more than one location. Where are you located in the Metro area?
Dr Burleson: Excelsior Springs, Kansas City, Liberty, and Raymore, Missouri.
KCMB: How long have you been practicing in the Kansas City area?
Dr Burleson: We’ve been around since 2006.
KCMB: Why did you decide to go into pediatric dentistry and orthodontia?
Dr Burleson: Working with children is our passion. The opportunity to develop the smile and self-confidence of a child is a priceless gift. Seeing a child smile with confidence makes the training (over a decade of school) worthwhile.
KCMB: Many kids fear going to the dentist. When a new patient walks into your office, how do you make that child feel less anxious?
Dr Burleson: Pediatric dentists are the trusted authorities when it comes to making a small child feel comfortable at the dentist. The chairs are smaller, the instruments are smaller, even the x-rays are smaller. The entire practice is built for children. It’s like taking your child to the pediatrician. The pediatric dentist is your child’s number one resource to obtain a happy, healthy smile without the fear that you or I experienced when we went to the dentist as kids. It’s completely different today. Kids actually like coming to the dentist when it’s a pediatric specialist!
KCMB: What are some ways that you have had to be very creative in convincing a child that he/she would be okay at the dentist?
Dr Burleson: Our specialists have custom-tailored the dental visit for children with special needs and those with dental fears so that the foundation to achieving a healthy smile can be obtained at an early age. Playing games, showing the child what we do and using puppets to encourage participation are all part of a normal day with a pediatric specialist. For those children (or parents) who feel more comfortable being asleep during their treatment, our specialists are on the medical staff at Children’s Mercy Hospital and represent the only dual-specialty pediatric and orthodontic office in Kansas City with specialists who also teach dental residents at Children’s Mercy.
KCMB: There are many dentists and orthodontists to choose from in the Kansas City area. What do you feel sets you apart?
Dr Burleson: The level of training among our staff and the fact that our specialists are teaching professionals with academic appointments at University of Missouri-Kansas City and Children’s Mercy Hospital. Your child isn’t just seeing a specialist; he or she is seeing a specialist that teaches and certifies other specialists in the Kansas City area as well as throughout the country. Burleson Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry is the only office in Kansas City with two specialists who teach at Children’s Mercy Hospital; it is also the home of the only orthodontist on the medical staff at Children’s Mercy.
We feel that it is important for us to be leaders in our dental health community. My wife, Dr Amy Burleson, and I started a non-profit foundation, the Leo H Rheam Foundation for Cleft and Craniofacial Orthodontics, to help children born with cleft palates who could not otherwise afford it obtain orthodontic care. Burleson Orthodontics is also the nation’s largest provider of free orthodontic treatment through Smiles Change Lives, an organization for children who desperately need – but cannot afford – orthodontic treatment.
Our many thanks to Dr Burleson for his time in sharing about pediatric dentistry at Burleson Orthodontics. If you have questions specifically for Dr Burleson, or about pediatric dentistry in general, please share them in the comments below and we will attempt to address them over the course of this series!