Healthy Smiles Start Young at Pediatric and Adolescent Dentistry of the Main Line
At this Bryn Mawr practice, dentistry starts young, and starts with a foundation of trust—and fun.
“Parents say to me, ‘My kids must be the only kids who love coming to the dentist,’ but we hear it every day,” Dr. Winslow Harshaw tells us about a typical visit at Pediatric and Adolescent Dentistry of the Main Line. At this Bryn Mawr practice, dentistry starts young, and starts with a foundation of trust—and fun.
Pediatric and Adolescent Dentistry of the Main Line—in accordance with American Dental Association guidelines—recommend that a child’s first dental visit should occur around their first birthday. This has proven effective in early risk assessment of the child’s dental (and family) history, and to establish a pattern of healthy dental care from the beginning. Equally important is building a relationship with a dentist that creates trust and comfort.
“When a child comes into a professional office initially and they see a doctor, they have apprehension, especially a one- or two-year-old,” explains Dr. Robin Harshaw. But, as a practice with generations of experience, they know how to deal with this. For example, he told us, sometimes a small patient is clingy and won’t let go of their parents, so the doctors will let the small child sit on a parent’s lap while they are looking at the child, or even have the parent get in the dentist chair with the child on her lap.
They may even do a mock exam on puppets to allay fears and show that the dentist is a trustworthy grownup. Another routine for new patients is letting the child sit in the dentist chair and showing them how it works, including letting them hold the dental mirror to look at their own teeth.
For Pediatric and Adolescent Dentistry of the Main Line, creating healthy little smiles is a way of life, and it runs in the family. Dr. Winslow Harshaw is a third-generation resident of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia—his father Robin is a pediatric dentist right alongside his son at the practice, and his grandfather was a pediatrician. And it doesn’t stop there; he tells us some of the staff treated him when he was a child, and so “it’s been a family affair in many regards.”
When the time came to expand that “family,” the Harshaws brought on Dr. Micaella Shocker, who also comes from a long line of dentists and orthodontists, in 1998. Their newest addition, Dr. Kimberly Chermol, brings 25 years experience in both practicing and teaching pediatric dentistry with her.
While the kids at Pediatric and Adolescent Dentistry of the Main Line leave with stickers, prizes, and smiles, the practice couples lighthearted individual attention with decades of stellar professional experience. The practice maintains attending relationships with three different hospitals, so if patients need more serious intervention, they are able to be a kind of “one stop shop” and facilitate that care.
But what matters most to families in their care is that their children leave that first visit with positivity, which overwhelmingly makes it more likely they will maintain proper oral hygiene and regular dentist visits throughout their lifetime. As Dr. Robin Harshaw explains, “Over time you develop some trust and a comfort level, and the kid thinks ‘this was easy and it didn’t hurt, and I got some presents!’ so it is easier to come back each time.”
Pediatric and Adolescent Dentistry of the Main Line is located at 780 W. Lancaster Avenue in Bryn Mawr, and is accepting new patients. You can make an appointment by calling the office at (610) 527-2434.
Photographs by Abbe Foreman Photography.