Pedodontics P.C. gives kids something to smile about
“Smiles are our passion.” That’s the first sentence on the giant word wall in the reception area at the pediatric dental office Pedodontics, P.C. For more than 50 years, Pedodontics, P.C. has been helping keep Omaha families healthy. Although the location and doctors have changed during that time, the values and way they practice have remained the same, and it’s a prescription that kids and parents appreciate.
Dr. Frank Driscoll and Dr. Gary Vogelsberg began the practice in 1964 off 40th & Dewey Streets, later moving to the Indian Hills area off 89th & Dodge. In 1984 Dr. Lisa Strunk joined the practice, and still remains as the “Matriarch” today. Her partners, Dr. Carmen Dana and Dr. Amanda Snyder, were both patients at Pedodontics, P.C. growing up and said their experiences with the practice inspired each to pursue dentistry as a profession.
In 1994, Dr. Strunk completed her Masters Degree in Orthodontics, making her the only dual trained specialist in Omaha providing both orthodontic and pediatric dental needs for patients. “It’s a natural progression for patients to move from dental to ortho, and this way they don’t have to leave to go to another office,” Lisa said. “They just have to go to the other side of the room.”
That room is a large, open concept that houses multiple brightly-colored exam benches rather than traditional dental chairs. The idea is to make going to the dentist a non-threatening experience for both kids and their parents. “The industry can be scary with its bright lights, loud noises, and people working in your mouth,” Lisa said. The open concept allows kids to see other kids having the same thing done. “Even if a child cries, other patients see us comforting them,” Lisa added.
Five years ago, the practice moved into a brand new building across the street from its previous location off 119th Street just north of Center Street. They designed it to have a homey look and feel, including lots of windows, walls made out of knotty Alder pine wood, and primary colors throughout. There’s also plenty to keep kids entertained, such as a play house and a funhouse style mirror they hand-carried to the new location from the previous office across the street.
“We want families to be comfortable and kids to feel safe, so we set the tone for life that going to the dentist can be a happy experience,” Lisa said. This includes receiving a balloon, a prize, and a new toothbrush at every visit. Just as important as the experience is the actual dentistry. The doctors and staff at Pedodontics, P.C. place great emphasis on educating patients and their families. “Dentistry should be slowing down, but it’s not,” Carmen said. “With all the healthy choices available, there should be less decay. But 23% of kids ages one to five have cavities.”
Sugary drinks and processed foods are the biggest culprits, so teaching kids lifelong habits is critical. The doctors also focus on interceptive orthodontics—techniques to create an environment for teeth to come in healthier. This helps prevents more intrusive and expensive orthodontics. They work together as a team, creating a more comprehensive practice. “I get to learn from two very experienced doctors who are willing to take the time to teach,” Amanda said.
Although all three doctors are at different stages of their practices, they share the same vision, which is to keep providing a happy experience for patients from infancy to adulthood. “The beauty of what we do is we get to know the families and care about them all,” Lisa said. “They become part of our lives.” At the end of the day, what’s important can be summed up with another sentence from their word wall: “A smile is the universal welcome.”