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Natural Awakenings of Greater Ann Arbor & Detroit / Wayne County Michigan

Seeking the Best Dental Care for Children

Heather Hoffman, DDS, is the board-certified pediatric dentist at Ann Arbor Smiles. She says, “I offer my patients my empathy. I hope to expand the pediatric dentistry practice at Ann Arbor Smiles and have more pediatric dentists working alongside me so we can serve more families in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and the surrounding areas. I love that Ann Arbor is a family-oriented town, and it seems only appropriate that dental offices in Ann Arbor reflect this, too. I want families to be equipped with the right information for how to maintain their child’s oral health and set healthy practices for life.”

She notes, “I strive to adapt to each patient and provide care that makes the most sense for that individual. I am just myself and treat kids as I would hope my own would be treated. I’m not sure how unique that is, but often parents thank me for that experience. Patients of any age appreciate feeling heard and having an explanation for what is happening and what to expect. Parents can appreciate that I do my best to help the child cope with the experience and put effort into making it go as smoothly as possible.”

As for her professional focus, she shares, “My dentistry is goal-driven: whether that goal be reached by a slow and steady process of familiarizing oneself with the dental experience in hopes of acquiring cooperation and relaxation long-term for an anxious child, or whether it’s ensuring an urgent problem gets taken care of quickly, being concerned ultimately with the health of the patient. My care is individualized for the best interests of that patient.”

Hoffman moved from Boston, choosing Ann Arbor Smiles “because it’s a well-run practice with a focus on patients’ experience and promoting a healthy work environment. It’s a company that values happiness. After graduating with a BS biology degree from UNC Chapel Hill, I decided I wanted to continue my education in New York City to experience a different culture, despite loving North Carolina.

“After receiving my dental degree from NYU College of Dentistry, I stayed for a two-year residency to specialize in pediatric dentistry. While I loved aspects of general dentistry such as cosmetic dentistry, I found that I loved treating children most. After I received my degree, I moved to Washington, D.C., and worked in Maryland as my husband completed his residency. His fellowship at MGH brought us to Boston, where I continued my pediatric specialty practice for a couple of years. He recently accepted a position as faculty at Michigan Medicine, which is what brings us to Ann Arbor.”

She learns about a patient’s life: diet, snacking habits, sports activities, medications and psychology to help guide them in strategies for prevention of dental disease and other concerns. By establishing a healthy mouth, children are able to live happier lives free from pain with improvement in school and social interactions.

"We all want what is best for each individual, and different providers may have varying beliefs on how that is done. Some embrace sedation dentistry, while there are some that don’t believe any form of sedation is necessary,” advises Hoffman. “I believe that each child needs treatment that best suits him or her as an individual taking into account age, fears, and capabilities. I strongly encourage second opinions, as I think parents are lucky to have the freedom of options and should choose a provider that they tend to agree with most. Ultimately though, a child is best served by having a dental home, so when you find a dentist you trust, continue to develop that relationship.”

Ann Arbor Smiles Parkway is located 2365 W. Huron Pkwy,; Ann Arbor Smiles West Stadium is located at 1795 W. Stadium; Smiles Pediatrics Golfside is located at 2900 Golfside Rd. For appointments and more information, call 734-887-9667 or visit AnnArborSmiles.com.