Sellwood dentist specializes in kids teeth
- Rita A. Leonard
- The Bee - Features
Although most people say they don't enjoy going to the dentist, Dr. Cynthia Pelley at Little Smiles pediatric dentistry in Sellwood aims to make it a totally pleasant experience for the clients she serves - all of whom are kids.
Pelley spent 12 years as a pediatric nurse in OHSU's Intensive Care unit before deciding to become a certified pediatric dentist. After eight years in college, she completed her certification with a two-year residency at OHSU last year. With her office now open at 8708 S.E. 17th Avenue in Sellwood, she's discovered that she is the only certified pediatric dentist in the Inner Southeast area.
Dr. Pelley's experience with special-needs children was in OHSU's Doernbecher Unit; and while she treats all children up through high school age, special-needs children can be her patients for life.
'We aim for a positive and welcoming atmosphere. Our lead assistant, Devin, has years of experience with children, and we have the most up-to-date equipment to keep children pain-free and distracted from worry. Parents can determine whether their children need to be distracted by overhead TV screens; and we offer a full anesthesiologist or even in-hospital care, if needed.
'I picked the Sellwood area for my practice on purpose; I just love it here.'
We wondered when kids should start seeing a dentist. 'We recommend that kids see the dentist by age one, in order to establish proper oral hygiene early on and maintain optimum health,' explained Dr. Pelley. In addition to regular services, she also does oral cancer screening and referrals to orthodontists and oral surgeons if necessary.
'We also pay close attention to how the teeth come together, and how bones are developing. We use a panoramic digital X-ray display for high definition, and also to minimize radiation exposure to our patients.'
Dr. Pelley purposely designed her new office with 'green' standards in mind. 'It's a LEED Gold Standard business, and we recycle everything we possibly can,' she reported. 'We're also a 'chart-less' business: All our records are digital and electronic. We have non-toxic paint throughout, renewable and non-toxic Marmoleum flooring, and low energy appliances. All our paper products are 100% recycled, and we even use washable baby 'onesies' as head-rest covers. We're very conscious of mercury in the environment, but we do offer amalgam fillings to those who request them.'
The waiting area is a bright, inviting open space with a Brio train table, saltwater fish tank, and plenty of stuffed toys. Furniture and carpeting are upbeat blue and orange colors. A swirling, colored inlaid pathway built into the flooring leads patients through the dental complex. The pathway ends back at the waiting room with a free balloon for patients, while parents are assisted nearby.
Dr. Pelley has volunteered in Northwest Medical Teams' portable dental van to treat children in need at elementary school sites. She also does free school screenings through the 'Give Kids a Smile' program every year. She encourages field trips to her office, like one in April taken by Llewellyn Elementary School students. 'We try to make this a place for adventure,' said the doctor.
'When we opened last September, we featured The Reptile Guy, who brought in an alligator, tortoises, turtles, and snakes of all kinds for an informative and hands-on presentation. The children enjoyed it so much, we plan on having an annual event to celebrate our opening date.' A cuddly plush alligator toy in the office welcomes patients with a toothy smile, pointing out that even animals require good dental care.
A substantial parking area with wheelchair access is available in back of the building. Dr. Pelly's hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays 8 am-5 pm, and Fridays 8 am till 4 pm, although you can call 503/235-0313 anytime for emergencies. Her Internet website is: www.portlandslittlesmiles.com.