BY CHERYL ALEXANDER
Dr. Amita Damani opened Pediatric Dental Safari in 2011.
Back then, her practice was one of only a few pediatric dental clinics in the Katy area. Dr. Damani was pregnant with her daughter Aria, and her husband was attending law school at the University of Houston.
Now, 10 years later, Dr. Damani has expanded her Katy practice, her husband has joined the dental practice as an integral part of the team, and the couple now has a second practice and a second child — son, Ashton. “We make a great team,” says Dr. Damani. “We are a local, family-owned business. Together we find balance and couldn’t achieve what we do without each other.”
A proud Katy resident, Dr. Damani’s children attend Stanley Elementary in Cinco Ranch. “So much has changed for us over the past 10 years in all the best ways,” she says. “We couldn’t be more grateful.”
Dr. Damani attributes the success of her business to several moving parts, one of which is the professionalism of the staff. “We have the best team,” she says. “My team understands the importance of friendly and familiar faces, and the importance of treating patients as if they were their own children.”
The patients, too, and their referrals comprise a big piece of the Pediatric Dental Safari success story. “We have had the same patients for 10 years,” says Dr. Damani. “Together, we have rooted for and watched each other grow.”
She has pictures of patients when they first came in as toddlers and enjoys comparing those tiny faces to the same 10-year-olds she treats now. “They love seeing the pictures of themselves when they started here and seeing their smiles now — 10 years later,” says Dr. Damani.
These loyal families have referred their friends. Pediatric Dental Safari now has patients from Fulshear and many who live between Katy and Memorial, so those patients have more options for appointments.
“Our referrals speak volumes about our business,” says Dr. Damani. “We strive to earn the trust and a referral from everyone who walks through the door.”
Dr. Damani is a board-certified specialist of pediatric dentistry. While training at New York University Dental School, Dr. Damani participated in an outreach program in Tanzania, providing free dental procedures to children. Most of those children had never seen a dentist before. Her work in Tanzania was one of the things that inspired her to work exclusively with children and is the reason she chose the safari theme for the dental office.
“During my time at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Interfaith Hospitals, I worked with many special needs children,” she says. “It was during that time I learned for certain that pediatric specialty was for me.”
Dr Damani talks about the top five most common questions she has been asked over the past 10 years from Katy parents:
1. Why is children’s dental health important?
Healthy habits can set the stage for good oral health care throughout their entire life. Many problems can result from poor oral health, including gum disease, cavities and tooth decay. Healthy baby teeth are important for things like chewing food, talking, and holding space for adult teeth. Baby teeth are also important for the growth and development of the jaw and space.
2. Do cavities go away?
You can slow down the progression of cavities by practicing good oral hygiene and diet. However, cavities do not go away, and you cannot brush them off. Cavities must be monitored and treated by a dentist.
3. What age should I consider braces?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends every child should be evaluated for braces and growth and development at age seven. Many children benefit from early intervention. They may need a rapid palatal expander to make more space for permanent teeth or to correct a cross-bite. Or, they may benefit from other orthodontic appliances, such as habit appliances and space maintainers.
4. My child is very anxious. How would you perform an examination and procedures?
We have different options available, including techniques such as distractions, tell-show-do, and making it fun. We also offer a variety of sedation options, including laughing gas, conscious sedation, and deep sedation with a pediatric anesthesiologist.
5. What is lip tie and tongue tie?
The procedure to correct lip-tie/tongue-tie is called frenectomy. Dr Damani offers this procedure in the office with a soft tissue laser. Not every patient needs this procedure. Dr. Damani performs a careful evaluation with the patient, parent, pediatrician, speech pathologist, and lactation consultant when appropriate.
2840 Commercial Center Boulevard, Suite 101
Katy, Texas 77494