Business Spotlight Story: Filling the World with Smiles, One Child at a Time

By BRG Staff10 World of Smiles 1

Dr. Michelle Stafford started World Of Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in 2008 in the Cedar Mill neighborhood. Even though her business has since expanded with a North Portland location, she recently moved with her husband and two small boys to be closer to the original, west side office.

Q: Why did you choose to move to the Beaverton area?

MS: My family wanted a little more breathing room. We wanted our boys to have some more space to run! I have loved this area since starting World Of Smiles in 2008, and it has been interesting to watch it change and grow in such a short period of time. We watched the entire TImberland Town Center construction process from our office, and now we regularly walk down there for lunch. I especially love running into patients and their families all over town, although it can be confusing for kids to see their dentist out of context. I’m pretty sure most of them think I live at the office.

Q: Why did you choose pediatric dentistry?

MS: Mostly the hugs. Adorable little kids give me hugs and high fives all day long. What could be better than that? Also, when I was practicing as a general dentist, I always found myself loving those interactions with kids the best. I thought, if they can just start off right, then they won’t grow up with the fears that seem to plague so many adults I know. I wanted to create my own practice just for kids, where they would feel comfortable and safe.

Q: What are some common misconceptions about kids teeth?10 World of Smiles 2

MS: I would say the biggest one is that baby teeth don’t matter since they will fall out anyway. Good habits start early, so we can’t expect kids to properly care for their permanent teeth without laying down a solid foundation.

Q: So when should parents start to lay this foundation?

MS: Honestly it can start right away! There are baby brushes that stimulate the gums and help babies get used to the idea of brushing later on. We like to see kids in the office by age one or when the first teeth begin to show up. This is in line with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics. A big part of this first visit it to educate parents about what to expect over the next few years so that we can prevent cavities. We also promote the idea of establishing a dental home so that parents know where to turn if a child ever takes a tumble and hits their face or if other questions and concerns arise.

Q: How do you suggest parents keep their kids away from the sweet treats?

MS: My unsurprising answer is to just eat for optimal health, which will carry over into dental health. To me this means choosing food in its most natural form, avoiding processed foods, limit snacking between meals, and drinking plenty of water. Of course kids are going to have treats, including my own kids, but it is important to establish a good understanding of time and place when it comes to treats. Also, there is a big difference between something baked at home with love and a candy bar.

For more information about Dr. Stafford and kids’ dental health, visit www.visitworldofsmiles.com.