WZZM 13 reporter Catherine Behrendt recently spoke with Dr. Darren Riopelle about Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. As Little Smiles prepares to add a fourth West Michigan location in Holland, Dr. Riopelle explained how the idea for Little Smiles was born and what makes it such a popular destination for children. Little Smiles can be found inside every Smile practice, providing a one-of-a-kind dental experience designed just for kids.
Little Smiles Grand Haven is excited to welcome our newest pediatric dentist, Stephanie Brown, DDS. Dr. Brown earned her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences from Western Michigan University and her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry in Nashville, Tennessee. She completed her pediatric dental residency at Nichlaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida.
Dr. Brown will be joining our team of pediatric dentists that includes Dr. Brutten, Dr. Miller, and Dr. Zillich. She will be working primarily with the Little Smiles team at our Grand Haven practice.
Welcome to the Little Smiles family!
Surprisingly, tooth decay can occur beneath the gum line well before any baby teeth appear in your child’s mouth. In order to prevent this and other early-onset oral health issues, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents bring their children in to see a pediatric dentist within the first six months after the first tooth erupts, but no later than age one, whether or not teeth are visible. This is only a general guideline. If your infant appears to have excessive oral discomfort or unusual problems teething, a visit to a pediatric dentist is warranted.
Another benefit of bringing your child to a pediatric dentist early is to give them a positive experience with the dentist. When children are introduced to healthcare providers early—and in a non-emergency situation—it can help to establish a comfortable experience.
At Little Smiles, we encourage parents to schedule their child’s first visit at the time of their first tooth or first birthday, whichever comes first. The visit allows your child to meet the dentist, experience a “chair ride” in a child-sized dental chair, and choose a prize from the treasure chest. The visit also has benefits for parents who wish to learn about diet and hygiene that will prevent future cavities and promote a healthy smile.
The Little Smiles team provides an atmosphere for kids that is relaxed and fun, teaching them to enjoy their dentist appointments. The benefit for your child is a healthy, life-long relationship with healthcare providers.
The Tooth Fairy and the Little Smiles team spent this Summer visiting several of the West Michigan communities we proudly serve. We attended various local festivals and meet hundreds of kids while participating in local parades. We had so much fun and look forward to seeing many of those “little smiles” at Little Smiles.
We are excited to announce the newest pediatric dentist to join the Little Smiles team. Dr. Daniel Miller is a Michigan native and completed his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree (DDS) from the University of Detroit Mercy, School of Dentistry. He completed his general practice residency at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and his pediatric dental residency at NYU Langone, Southern California.
Dr. Miller joins our team of pediatric dentists which includes Dr. Chad Zillich and Dr. Cristian Brutten. Dr. Miller will be working at all three of our locations (Cascade, Grand Haven, and North Muskegon).
Welcome to the Smile team!
We are excited to introduce a new and unique resource called Daydreams Pediatric Center. This exciting new facility is the only resource of its kind in West Michigan, specializing in pediatric dental surgery.
Little Smiles’ pediatric dentists Dr. Cristian Brutten and Dr. Chad Zillich are accredited with Daydreams. Our association means that all Little Smiles patients have access to surgical dentistry at Daydreams.
We’ve included the following news release from Daydreams for more information. If you have questions, call us at Little Smiles and we will be happy to answer them for you.
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On March 4, 2019, a new kind of healthcare resource opened its doors in Grand Rapids. Daydreams Pediatric Center is designed for children and dedicated to pediatric dental surgery. The first of its kind in West Michigan, Daydreams is an idea imagined and nurtured by founder Darren Riopelle, DDS.
As a practicing dentist for over past 20 years, Dr. Riopelle noticed a recurring challenge specific to pediatric dentistry. Due to limited resources and growing demand, the wait time for pediatric dental care often averages 1 to 3 months. For dental treatment that requires surgery, the wait time increases to an average of 3 to 6 months.
“The industry needed a new solution,” explains Dr. Riopelle. “We wanted to create something that would be a resource for everyone.”
In 2016, Dr. Riopelle reached out to Anesthesia Practice Consultants (apcpc.net) to explore a possible partnership. The result is a new children’s center dedicated to dental and oral surgery. Daydreams boasts a clinical team that includes operating room experienced pediatric dentists, MD anesthesiologists, licensed dental assistants, and pediatric nurses. The environment is state-of-the-art, equipped with multiple operating rooms and a family-friendly waiting room.
“The spaced was designed to provide a safe environment for surgery that is relaxed and trauma-free for children and their parents,” explains Becka Brooks, Daydreams’ Dental Assistant. “Everything about Daydreams was done with our young patients’ comfort in mind.”
But possibly the most notable accomplishment of Daydreams is its ability to see patients within just 1 to 3 weeks. Parents are able to contact Daydreams directly to inquire about treatment for their child, or pediatric patients may be referred to Daydreams by other healthcare providers. Before treatment, children receive a pre-operative exam to determine if they are candidates for anesthesia. After treatment, documentation is sent to the referring office for the patient’s medical records.
“We want this to be a resource for the healthcare industry,” explains Lindsay Robbins, Daydreams’ Surgical Coordinator. “Dentists, pediatricians, and other healthcare providers can refer there patients to us knowing that they are in expert hands. We work hard to make the process easy and collaborative.”
An open house is being planned for late Spring where the healthcare community will be able to tour the facility and meet the team. Daydreams is open Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Visit Daydreams’ website to learn more.
A protective barrier is a great way to keep the things we value safe. From fingernail polish to decks, we use sealants to protect a lot of things in our lives. Did you know there’s even a way to seal your children’s teeth from cavities?
Sealing your children’s teeth is an easy way to provide an added layer of protection against the sugars, bacteria, and acid in their mouths. Just as a sealant covers the inconsistencies, dents, and divots of a piece of wood, sealants for teeth cover the areas of your child’s tooth where sugar and food may be unlikely to be touched by a toothbrush or floss. Often, sealants are recommended for newly emerged molars, protecting the tooth as soon as it is exposed.
Sealing teeth is a quick and painless procedure that involves “painting” the sealant on a cleaned and dried tooth. It can be done during a regular visit to the dentist and does not take a significant amount of time. While there is an investment required to seal teeth, the cost is recouped with the first cavity avoided, not tot mention the savings of time and discomfort.
We’re all about smiles, especially selfie smiles! So the Smile team is launching our very own Instagram page to share some of those smiles with you. Whether it’s big smiles (Adult & Teen Dentistry), little smiles (Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry), or…well…shiny smiles (Smile Orthodontics), we’ll be sharing them all.
Join Smile Dental Partners on Instagram and show us your favorite smiles! Tag us so we can find you. #smiledentalpartners
While there are some indicators of whether braces will be necessary for a child, there are no definite signs. Early or late loss of baby teeth, biting of the cheek, or an irregular bite may all be signs that braces are in order. However, all children develop at a different rate and have their own unique teeth. Much like fingerprints, no two mouths and sets of teeth are the same.
As with most health and dental matters, early intervention is best. It is good to have your child’s teeth looked at as early as 1 year old. What is often described as a “chair ride” is also an opportunity for a dentist to catch any early issues which may result in orthodontic care. Many issues can be addressed through early minor treatments rather than braces.
The need for braces is typically identified between the ages of eight and fourteen and can result from genetic traits, injury or even from thumb sucking as teeth were developing.
Regular dental visits will help determine if your child’s teeth are growing in as they should or if treatment of some type is necessary. Visiting the dentist every six months is especially important if you suspect that your child may need orthodontic work.
We are excited to announce the addition of Dr. Cristian Brutten to the Little Smiles team. Dr. Cristian was born and raised in Brazil where he earned his DDS from Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte. After moving to the U.S. in 2007 he earned a Masters degree from Azusa Pacific University. Dr. Cristian completed his residency in Advanced Education in General Dentistry at the University of Connecticut, followed by a pediatric residency at Harvard University, Boston Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Cristian has worked as a Pediatric Dentist in Connecticut and Texas, most recently at the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. He is fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Dr. Cristian lives in Byron Center with his wife, Roberta, and their three children.