Shelby Pediatric Dentistry: care with a mission

Richard Baxter, far right, stands with his wife and staff in the entrance of his new practice, Shelby Pediatric Dentistry, on Highway 31 in Pelham. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Richard Baxter, far right, stands with his wife and staff in the entrance of his new practice, Shelby Pediatric Dentistry, on Highway 31 in Pelham. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Richard Baxter’s career in pediatric dentistry was inspired by a mission trip he went on during dental school. He remembered seeing children suffering from poor dental health and thought, “there’s got to be a way to prevent this,” he said.

This experience inspired Baxter and Shelby Pediatric Dentistry, his new practice on Highway 31 in Pelham.

“There’s a mission behind (Shelby Pediatric Dentistry), that’s what really sets us apart,” Baxter said.

Shelby Pediatric Dentistry seeks to offer the best pediatric dental care in a child-friendly environment.

“Kids are not just little adults,” Baxter said, adding he also specializes in special needs dentistry. “Every child we treat as a unique individual.”

Pediatric dentistry is different than general dentistry, Baxter explained. Pediatric dentists have “extra training” that goes “beyond the scope of what they teach you in dental school,” including a two year residency, Baxter said.

In addition to specialized training and the latest in technology, Shelby Pediatric Dentistry was designed to create a friendly, safe and fun environment for young patients.

Baxter acknowledged that many children fear the dentist, and at Shelby Pediatric Dentistry, Baxter works hard to “make sure (patients) are not scared” and to “avoid bad dental experiences.”

“We want to be bright, happy and fun,” Baxter said, noting the colorful waiting room, complete with a children’s play area, and the open tooth cleaning area, so parents can accompany their children throughout the cleaning.

In addition to making children comfortable, Baxter educates his young patients on basic practices for good dental hygiene.

“During the cleaning we go over education, how to clean and brush your teeth, what snacks to eat and what to avoid,” Baxter said, emphasizing the importance of establishing healthy habits early. “At the same time as we’re educating the kids, we’re educating the parents.”

The doors of Shelby Pediatric Dentistry will open to patients on Aug. 11, and Baxter looks forward to becoming part of the Pelham community.

“We like the community here, we like the people,” Baxter said. “We’re just excited to open the doors and take care of the kids here.”