Conrad Parks is a pediatric dentist at Heartland Dental. In this Q5 he talks about how he puts kids at ease for dental work.


Conrad Parks is a pediatric dentist at Heartland Dental. In this Q5 he talks about how he puts kids at ease for dental work.

1. Conrad, why did you decide to become a pediatric dentist and how long, and where have you practiced? Is compassion a vital character trait for a good dentist?
  I have been a pediatric dentist for five years, practicing in Denver, Colorado, and the past three years in Overland Park, Kansas.  In 2016 I joined the team at Heartland Dental here in Leavenworth.  Compassion is an important characteristic for my job. Everyday I treat kids who are nervous and anxious about going to the dentist. Having patience and compassion is essential to help the kids leave with a smile on their face.
 
2. Why did you love going to the dentist when you were a small boy and when did you realize that most people dread dentist visits more than most other medical procedures?  
 Even though I grew up in a small community in the middle of Nebraska, we were fortunate enough to have a great pediatric dentist who made every visit fun and relaxing. I did have a few cavities but my dentist was patient and gentle and made it feel like it was no big deal.  Most of my friends went to the same pediatric dentist so therefore we all liked the dentist. Not until dental school did I realize that so many adults had a true fear of even entering a dental office. I have always enjoyed working with children and so the idea of starting kids off early in life with a positive attitude towards the dentist seemed like the perfect fit for me.
 
3. Are kids particularly stressed and fearful about having dental work done? What is your technique for putting children at ease and ensuring that they feel relaxed and comfortable? Do a smile and a joke go a long way in making the visits a little more enjoyable for young people?
 All kids are different, so from the time they walk in the door I assess each child. Some hop into the chair and others take some time to warm up. I go slow, explain everything and on occasion I may break into song to get a smile. I have two little girls so I know all the current princesses, super heroes and latest TV characters. I try to find something the child is interested in and get them talking about "kid stuff."
 
4. Why is one of your favorite aspects of pediatric dentistry getting to see each of your patients every six months?  
 I enjoy getting to know each child and teaching them about their teeth and how to maintain a healthy smile. In general kids walk in with something funny to say and a story to tell, I enjoy interacting with them and watching them grow up.
 
5. What are you most looking forward to about practicing in Leavenworth?
 Leavenworth feels like a small town, with great people who work hard and love their community. Also, with the military presence here in Leavenworth, I am honored to care for the children of  service-men and women who work each day to protect our country.
— Rimsie McConiga