Brush ’em If You Got ’em: Sprout Pediatric Dentistry

This is not a paid endorsement of the girls’ dentist, I just wanted to share our positive experience. It is not easy to find good healthcare/dental care providers, but we have. So here’s one for the Toolbox.

We first met Dr. Johnny Kuttab, D.D.S., “Dr. Johnny”, two years ago when Sweetie’s Pediatrician told us it was time for her to see a dentist. Wife found him through a Google search, and that initial appointment was in his first office at BrightSmiles Pediatric Dentistry. We were immediately sold on his bedside manner and approach to pediatric dentistry. Now he has opened a new office on the north side of Chicago called Sprout Pediatric Dentistry.

Dr. Johnny

Let’s start with the office itself. Located at 6036 N. Northwest Highway, they are easy to reach from the expressway or the side streets. This location is technically farther from our house, but the surrounding area is less dense and much easier for us to reach. The space is pleasant and calming for children and their parents. It is fresh and clean, painted in soft neutral colors throughout.

Waiting area

Waiting area

 

 

 

 

 

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So calming

 

 

The exam area uses an open plan, with seats for three children. There are couches set behind the dental chairs so parents can stay close, but out of the way. Each station has it own television so the kids can watch a movie during their exam. If your kids are like my girls, they will be too busy watching to worry. And Dr. Johnny explained that’s the point. An older school of thought kept kids more attentive to the visit, but that also brought anxiety (anyone relate to that?). The environment is designed so kids are relaxed and have an easy experience. All the staff are warm and welcoming, from the front desk to the oral hygienists. Jeanette kept Cricket calm and Lupe was great with Sweetie.

Hello cartoons

Hello cartoons

Speaking of Dr. Johnny, let’s talk credentials (before I weigh in). He is a board certified pediatric dentist, as are the two other dentists at the practice. He completed his pediatric training through the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and remains active there, teaching pediatric dental residents. His focus in the clinic is behavior management so his demeanor is calm and professional while still connecting with the children. He is a proponent of preventative care practices. That description is kind of dry, but it is meant to be factual and unbiased. Now let’s dish.

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From the first visit I found Dr. Johnny to be engaging and pleasant without being chatty. He makes it a point to speak directly to the girls, and always takes time after the visit to explain his findings to Wife and I.He has never made us feel rushed. Dr Johnny has been a dentist for about 9 years, 7 of those as a pediatric dentist. So he is young, and the new office reflects the young, fresh energy he brings to his practice. Dr. Johnny does not do unnecessary services. At her first visit Sweetie presented with healthy teeth and gums (thankfully Cricket is following the same pattern) so Dr. Johnny told us he did not feel a need to take X-Rays. He told us he would take them if we wished, if we were concerned about anything, but he did not have cause for concern. She just took her first set in December, at four years old, without a problem. So no unnecessary radiating of children here.  Another nice thing is that when he talks prevention he frames it in real life. Example: He was speaking to us about how fruit snacks are bad for kids’ teeth, but admitted that all kids eat them. So he encouraged moderation and care, acknowledging that abstinence is a tall order for the little ones. Dr. Johnny’s extensive training is much of what makes him a good dentist, but I think that his most important attribute is that he is a father. He knows what it is like to navigate life, and oral hygiene, with a pre-schooler. For me that is a big plus.

I guess I should say something less than glowing about Sprout Pediatric Dentistry and Dr. Johnny to balance this review, but there’s not much to complain about. Early on they didn’t have a changing table in the bathroom, but they were apologetic and accommodating and allowed us to use a leather couch in a back office. They have since set up a great station though, an actual changing table with supplies. So that’s handled. I have had some challenges with parking, even though they are in a strip mall. But the street parking (which is free) is just steps from the front door, so no big gripe there either. Well, I guess this post will just weigh in favor of Dr. Johnny.

Maybe it’s time for your two-year-old to see a dentist. Or maybe you are not happy with the care you receive from your current dentist. Learn more about Sprout Pediatric Dentistry on their website and decide if they are the practice for you.They serve the city and suburbs, the hours are listed on their page. I would say, “we’ll see you there,” but we don’t go back for another six months!

 

My Heart on a Platter

This post is a bit random, just noting something that occurred at our home. I shared how the girls and I enjoyed Wife’s amended holiday work schedule and having her home more often during the holiday weeks. We weren’t ready for her to go back to her regular schedule, the girls being particularly resistant. Even with school starting back up, Sweetie stuck close to Wife when she was home. So the other day after school I saw her walking a stack of something up to the bench near our front door. This was her something:

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Technically, it’s not a heart, nor a platter. No, that’s a wood cookie tray holding a wood tomato that’s stacked on a plastic slice of bread, flanked by wood carrot halves, all resting on a bed of bean-bag egg yolks. Sweetie told me, “I want to leave this here for Mommy, for when she gets home.” Like an offering. Or a sculpture to profess her adoration.

This became one of those balancing moments as I gently suggested she return the tray to the play kitchen, located on the opposite end of the apartment. Practically speaking, I didn’t want toys stacked all around the narrow entrance way. But I didn’t want to brush off her totem and hurt her little feelings. And this is life with a four year-old child. They are old enough to show emotional development and express it creatively, but they are limited by the narrow scope of their life experiences and the resources that they have to work with. I mean, you can only say so much with Play-Doh. Or in this case, play food. So it becomes a balance of fostering their development while guiding their actions, the whole time trying not to crush their budding aspirations. Wow, that looks like a summary of parenting in general.

Our resolution was to put the tray on Wife’s pillow. There, win-win. Sweetie put her creation in a place of honor for Wife, and I kept my walkway clear of clutter. She felt loved and supported, and I chalked up another note of parenting wisdom. Wood tomatoes for everyone.

Welcome new year

Winter break is now over. Sweetie is in bed, all ready to go back to school tomorrow. Wife is already back to work, ending many days where we were spoiled with her presence. Cricket and I are looking forward to activities starting back up and getting back to a daily routine. And so begins 2017 on the detour.

I am not going to list a bunch of resolutions here, mainly because I don’t believe in New Years’ resolutions. And by “belief” I mean that I historically don’t put enough energy into my resolutions to make them an active part of my life. I historically don’t choose concrete resolutions that I can engage. But I do believe in challenges, so I will share two with you all.

My first challenge for January 2017 is to publish two new posts a week. Ideally, this will be Mondays and Thursdays. I have a list of topics to write about, and I have the house renovation to catch you all up on, so the material is here. Now to make the time. As I write this the Cricket is crying herself NOT to sleep, thereby eating up the few hours that should not have two small bodies running all over them. No excuse though – such is the life of a parent. And thank goodness for Wife – hey, good transition!

A second challenge for me this month is to live my gratitude. Our attitudes effected our life situations, so I am going to try to put forth a grateful attitude and drive my situations accordingly. I might even do a morning mantra to set my mind right. Let me start now by saying, “Thank you,” to all of you reading out there. An internet existence is dependent on “likes” and followers and visits. And I am grateful for all of you out there that provide any and all of these to the detour. Besides that, your presence here helps to shore me up, helps me deal with the tough days and the creative blocks.

And so welcome 2017! I hope you all are looking forward to all of the challenges and gifts that are sure to come this year. This is like a throwback post to the early blog posts – no pictures. No fear though, Sweetie and Cricket are right here as always and I promise at least one pic for the next post. Until then…

Goin’ Back to School-y (a.k.a, Back to School 2016)

Goin’ Back to Cali…get it? Anyone? Okay, maybe I didn’t channel my inner LL Cool J as well as I wanted to for that title. Maybe I’ve been away a bit too long. Anyway…

The time has come to send Sweetie back to school. This year she is in PreK-4 – whee! Here’s us leaving home.

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Oh it’s early!

Sweetie was showing mixed emotions about going back. She was happy at an earlier “Welcome Tea”, checking out her new classroom and such. But she was definitely moving slowly as we got closer to the door. And she wanted nothing to do with our cute sign. Nope, wouldn’t hold it.

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Too cool for sign, just right for school.

As many of you may be experiencing (and here’s a warning for parents whose kids aren’t in school yet), Sweetie did not have much to say at pick up. One word answers to my questions, flat tone, subdued emotions. I really thought I had until her teen years for all that, but then the reason became clear:

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Direct bus from school to snooze

Wow, sorry that last one is so fuzzy (firmly planted me with a camera vs. me sitting in the front seat rushing the shot with my phone at a stoplight). You get the picture though, she was worn out. I guess it will be an adjustment for her to be an “All-Day Friend”. We’re glad school is back in session, it was a fast summer and a bit hectic. With Sweetie back in class she gets some good challenges and gets to have some fun with her friends. Good stuff.

Hope your Back-to-School is going smoothly. It’s really like a month-long event with all the different starts. Regardless when they go back, I hope your little ones have a great start to their year. And hopefully it is a welcome break for all you parents as well.

Alright, we have some lunch to build, outfits to choose, and a backpack to sort – now where’s my Kangol?