Small World, Big Smiles: Pediatric dentistry puts kids at ease through comfort, care

By Jordan Houston

A Small World Pediatric Dentistry founder Daniela Vasquez-Bolduc is celebrating 15 years of her practice, all while balancing the most important job of all — being a mom.

The Scottsdale-based dentistry, located at 5533 E. Bell Road, Suite 115, since its inception in 2007, has built a reputation for itself as a hub for family-friendly and patient-oriented care for infants through adolescence.

“Fifteen does sound like a big number, but it doesn’t feel like it has been so many years altogether,” says Vasquez-Bolduc, boasting nearly 25 years of industry experience. “I never realized when I started on how deeply rooted my career would be. I feel responsible for providing expert service that drives quality oral health and delivers beautiful smiles. This has been my passion and mission, and it is rewarding to see the impact we have on the community we serve.”

A Small World provides professional, sensitive and approachable care for “each child as a member of (our) family,” according to its website. Its services span preventive care, restorative dentistry, sedation and orthodontics. Complimentary exams for ages up to 24 months, as well as complimentary second opinion visits, are also available.

“We do pediatric procedures with an emphasis on prevention,” says Vasquez-Bolduc, a proud mom to her 8-year-old daughter. “We want to see the kids as soon as they have baby teeth. Our goal is to be proactive with educating parents about oral health and getting off on the right foot with their child’s dental needs.”

The practice strives to establish long-term relationships with families, starting at initial visits until the child transitions to an adult dentist.

The most rewarding thing is you get to see them grow up and see them as grown teenagers,” Vasquez-Bolduc says.

For young ones, the first trip to the dentist does not have to be scary. A Small World was designed with children “in mind,” exuding a “child-friendly, fun atmosphere.”

It features colorful walls decorated with photos of smiling kids and offers a bounty of toys, books, video games and televisions.

Many practices are no longer owned by the doctor. A Small World is a small business that is led by Dr. Vasquez-Bolduc. The entire team has a strong culture of placing the patient as the No. 1 priority.

Potential clients are encouraged to schedule an appointment for a full tour of the practice. Visitors can learn more about A Small World’s services, treatment plans and comfort-care.

Tackling misconceptions

A Small World’s name reflects its diverse clientele, Vasquez-Bolduc says, treating patients from South America, Canada, Europe, Japan and India, among other parts of the world. With such diversity though comes an array of opinions surrounding pediatric oral health, Vasquez says. Educating her clients on proper preventative care is a top priority, she adds.

There are so many different ideologies about dental care,” Vasquez-Bolduc explains. “Some people think that because they are baby teeth, they do not have to take care of them — but that is not the case.”

Decay is pediatric dentistry’s biggest oral threat, Vasquez-Bolduc says.

Children should visit the dentist no later than their first birthday.

Don’t wait until the child is 3 to 4 years old. It doesn’t matter if they cry — they are expected to do so — we know how to help them and take care of their teeth at an early age,” Vasquez-Bolduc says.

It kind of wrinkles my heart to see one of the little ones with caries and there isn’t another choice but to do complex dental treatment,” she continues.

Maintaining happy smiles

Vasquez-Bolduc’s biggest advice to parents is ensuring their kids brush their teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, remembering to brush the top surface of their tongue. Flossing at least once a day is also crucial, accompanied by mouthwash to kill decay-causing bacteria lingering between teeth.

“I definitely believe in fluoride. We’ve seen it works. I recommend it to all of my patients to have a topical application when they are at the office,” Vasquez-Bolduc says. “We apply a varnish and recommend using fluoride toothpaste at age 1 and mouthwash after age 4 — it’s one of the greatest things invented in dentistry.”

Vasquez-Bolduc also emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet, refraining from “extra-sugary treats” as much as possible.

“We are still seeing little kids with a lot of cavities, and the sugar exposure at an early age plays a significant role — especially sugary liquids and its prolonged and frequent use,” she says.

Experience and expertise matter

Boasting memberships with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, Arizona Dental Association, Western Pediatric Association and International Association of Pediatric Dentistry, Vasquez-Bolduc says she did not always know she wanted to be a dentist — but never doubted her desire to work with children.

“I knew I always wanted to do something with kids. I was babysitting all the time with kiddos,” Vasquez-Bolduc says.

The oldest of five, she recalls wanting to attain a medical career.

I guess I just never had any traumatic experiences with a dentist. … I wanted to go into the medical field — just something pushed me towards dental school,” Vasquez-Bolduc says.

She earned her dental degree at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and continued her training in Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Connecticut Health Center. After her residency, Vasquez-Bolduc became a clinical instructor for the Pediatric Dental Department via a fellowship program — earning the Graduated Student Research Award from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

She then packed her bags in 2004 to move to Scottsdale to work for a pediatric dental group.

I tried for a year as a general dentist, and every time I saw kids, I said, ‘This is what I love to do’ — to talk to them, make them feel comfortable, explaining what to expect, it is natural for me,” she says.

It was not long before she launched A Small World in 2007 — and hasn’t looked back since.

At the time, Arizona was exploding with many people and families moving here. It was a great opportunity as a pediatric dentist, because there are plenty of patients,” she says.

Managing mom life

Professional accolades aside, Vasquez-Bolduc says her husband and daughter are her “life blessings.”

As a working mom, though, balancing career life and motherhood involves sacrifices, making choices, and prioritizing what can be let go.

“Being a working mom, you are always thinking about timing and how I will be able to get everything done in the day. Thankfully, I have great support at home with my husband. We are a solid team,” Vasquez-Bolduc says.

Having her own practice also extends flexibility in tailoring her own schedule.

In recent years, she has shifted to working three full days in the office per week.

I always knew I wanted to be in my own practice and being able to do things in the way that would benefit the community as much as I can,” she says.

Vasquez-Bolduc says she is looking forward to continuing to grow her practice.

A Small World recently onboarded Logan Mariano as a part-time associate. It also added another operatory to accommodate its increasing clientele.

“It is definitely a cycle of life at A Small World. In the early years I served so many new babies that are now graduating high school,” Vasquez-Bolduc says, highlighting that she sees several second-generation patients now. “That’s the fun — this is not corporate at all. It’s a small practice. To be able to do both worlds — I love it.”

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