Dental Work and Dogs

A Paw-fect Pairing in Pediatric Dentistry

Visiting the dentist can be an overwhelming and daunting experience, especially for young children. A new environment, strange sounds and medical procedures can induce anxiety and fear. However, at Kitfox Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Thom Akins and his wife, Anna Akins, have taken a unique approach in our community to put their young patients at ease. Driven by empathy and a desire to make dental visits a positive experience, this practice has taken multiple steps to transform the way children perceive dental care. From the moment their patients enter the door, they have access to a heartwarming and friendly staff, a kid-friendly theater and game room.

Dr. Thom went to dental school at the Medical College of Georgia where he met his wife, Anna. Together they decided that Aiken was the perfect place to raise their family and open a revolutionary pediatric dental practice. Aiken encompassed all the values that they held dear to their hearts: family,
safety, community and compassion. With their focus on cultivating a unique, child-centered dental practice, it was abundantly clear that there was no better city to begin this unprecedented venture than Aiken.

Dr. Thom understands the importance of sensitivity in providing dental care to children and recognizes that a comforting experience can shape a child’s attitude towards oral health for a lifetime. Dr. Thom and Anna focus primarily on building trust and rapport with both their pediatric patients and their patients’ families. Anna then takes it one step further and works tirelessly to help families understand their options for care and how to best access benefits through insurance for the recommended treatments and procedures. Education of oral conditions and helping patients’ families navigate convoluted and often confusing insurance channels is one of Anna’s many passions. This dynamic duo works in tandem to provide a smooth and painless process for patients and parents alike.

Anna says, “One of the most rewarding parts of this job is watching our patients grow up in our practice. We celebrate their successes in the office but also in sports, academics and in life.” Kitfox has always used the most innovative practices to help their patients have enjoyable dental visits and experiences. Their commitment to providing a compassionate and welcoming environment has opened the door to their newest office addition which happens to have four paws and a wagging tail.

Chilo, an adorably friendly Cavapoo, has taken up residence as the newest staff member at Kitfox. This therapy-dog-in-training has already taken leaps and bounds in making young patients feel comfortable, relaxed and even excited about coming to their dental visits. With his wagging tail and infectious enthusiasm, Chilo takes his duties seriously by providing comfort and security to all the patients at Kitfox. Many studies have shown that the presence of an animal, especially dogs, have a remarkable impact in helping alleviate anxiety, reducing stress and providing reassurance to children
during their visits. Dr. Thom and Anna knew that Chilo would be a huge success in such a dog-loving community and have witnessed first-hand how effective their canine companion has been in recognizing and responding to children’s emotions in the office. Seeing their patients react with joy and
entering their appointments relaxed has been the affirmation they needed that Chilo was a necessary addition to the practice. Chilo has proven to be a comforting outlet when pediatric patients need a moment to calm their nerves and redirect their focus to something positive.

Children who once dreaded their dental visits now eagerly await them thanks to the welcoming atmosphere of Kitfox and their furry friend, Chilo. This positive association helps foster a healthy attitude towards dental care, and encourages regular visits and lifelong oral hygiene practices. With this approach, it’s easy to see why so many children are excited to go to the dentist knowing their furry friend will be waiting at the next visit.

“One of the most rewarding parts of this job is watching our
patients grow up in our practice. We celebrate their successes in the office
but also in sports, academics and in life.”

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