One Tulsa dentist has made it his life’s mission to help children gain optimal dental health at an early age. Dr. Charles Keithline, owner of Pediatric Dental Group (PDG), knew at the age of 12 that he wanted to be a dentist. Several years after graduating from Emory University, he decided to specialize in pediatric dentistry because, “I realized that helping children and their parents at an early age would allow me to positively affect their dental health for years to come,” said Keithline.
Keithline’s first practice was in a 900 square foot facility that he opened in 1978. Today, his anchor facility is located at 6th and Utica in a 10,000 square foot, state-of-the-art, Leed-certified building (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). “As the practice has grown, I wanted to make the experience for children and parents a good one while serving a community of people who really need my help including those on Medicaid.” The practice adds, on average, 40 new children a week served by 10 doctors and 50 staff.
The PDG building is brightly colored and located in the heart of urban Tulsa which is prime for redevelopment. In fact, the facility is a glowing example of innovative architecture which is environmentally friendly. In fact, it has such great curb appeal, people stop in and become patients. In addition to serving children as young as two months old, PDG also has a separate adult practice specializing in pregnant women. Keithline said, “This is when we can teach mothers about how they can positively affect their babies and avoid negative outcomes.”
The practice also employs a Certified Nurse Anesthetist who specializes in office-based anesthesia for patients requiring extensive dental treatment. This practice saves patients the stress of the hospital environment.
Today, Keithline is referred to as a “grandpa dentist” because his former patients now bring him their children. Some drive as far as an hour to make sure Grandpa takes care of them. In recent years, Pediatric Dental Group added a second location at 7715 E. 91st St. Suite A. For more information, visit PediatricDentalGroup.com.
Ask the Dentist
Have you ever wondered what to ask the dentist about your child’s teeth? Below, Dr. Charles Keithline of Pediatric Dental Group provides answers to the questions most asked by parents:
Question 1: When should a child first go to the dentist ?
Answer: A child should visit the dentist by age one or by the time a first tooth appears as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Starting visits at an early age helps to educate parents on the cause of tooth decay, prevent future dental problems and help the child become comfortable with the dentist for future visits.
Question 2: Why do baby teeth matter?
Answer: Many people think that since primary “baby” teeth fall out, it doesn’t matter if they decay. However, primary teeth set the stage for adult teeth and guide them to the correct position. One small cavity in primary teeth is a factory for the millions of bacteria that cause cavities. Primary teeth also impact your child’s speech, chewing and appearance. If we can teach children to take care of their teeth at a young age, it will encourage good dental habits that will last a lifetime.
Question 3: How often should I bring my child to the dentist?
Answer: It’s recommended for children and adults alike to see the dentist every six months. This provides the chance to catch cavities early so they can be treated quickly. It also helps parents understand principals of good diet and mouth hygiene.
Question 4: Why should my child have sealants on their baby teeth?
Answer: Food particles can easily get trapped in groves and crevasses of teeth’s chewing surfaces. Dental sealants are shields that fill in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth to protect the teeth from decay-causing plaque.
Question 5: How often should I brush my child’s teeth?
Answer: Parents should use a small soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush and remove any food, plaque and debris twice a day - preferably in the morning and at bedtime.
Question 6: When should I bring my child in for orthodontia?
Answer: The dentist can make predictions about most orthodontic issues by as early as three to six years old. Imbalances in facial bone growth and crowded teeth are the most common indicators. Some of the more severe bone growth issues can and should be addressed and treated early.