Q & A with Pediatric Dentist Lindsey Reed (and LFSS Mom)


Dr. Lindsey Reed is an esteemed pediatric dentist whose baby girl Elliot is a thriving little fish (that's them in the photo). Dr. Reed and Little Fishes Swim School share similar kid-health philosophies: Both believe that learning to swim is an essential life-saving skill that should begin when children are infants. And both believe children should visit the dentist by their first birthday. As allies in children’s health issues, LFSS sat down for a Q&A with Dr. Reed, owner of St. Louis Pediatric Dentistry, a practice she runs with dentist-husband, Dr. Evan Reed.

LFSS: Why should babies see a dentist?

LR: St. Louis Pediatric Dentistry follows the most recent guidelines of The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association, which both advocate children visiting a pediatric dentist for a dental exam no later than their first birthdays.

Early prevention is the key to ensure your child is on the track by keeping their mouths and teeth healthy and cavity-free. Bringing your child to see a pediatric dentist also establishes a dental home, a place where kids receive continued and comprehensive care—and a place where your child can take comfort in familiarity, especially of the doctor and staff. This ensures a positive dental experience so your child can develop into an adult who is not fearful of the dentist.

LFSS: What exactly is a pediatric dentist?

LR: Officially, a pediatric dentist is a dentist who completed a residency in pediatric dentistry after dental school, often at a children’s hospital. But you can think of a pediatric dentist as a pediatrician for the teeth. They are specially trained in behavior management techniques and recognizing issues unique to children.

Also, pediatric dentist offices have staff trained to work with children of all ages. For example, no one in our office gets upset by children crying. We’re trained to help ease your child’s fears with developmentally appropriate techniques.  We also don’t expect an infant to sit still in a chair during a dental exam and cleaning; instead, we exhibit patience and do a knee-to-lap exam with the parent holding the child. Our goal is to give children a positive dental experience early on and increase their likelihood of good oral health.

LFSS: Why was it important to enroll your daughter Elliot in swim lessons as an infant?

LR: My husband and I enrolled our 10-month-old Elliot in LFSS classes at 6 months because with our background in pediatrics we see firsthand how starting children at an early age can ensure a positive experience. More importantly, we feel that it is imperative for Elliot to have the life-saving skill of knowing water safety and how to swim.

We love how methodical Ruthie and her instructors are in the class. We will do an activity and the instructor will come to me and say “after she jumps to you swim back to the wall with her so she always knows how to get back to a safe place”. We have seen amazing results with Elliot! Her grandparents often will come and watch and they are amazed by how, at such a young age, Elliot learned on the count of three to close her eyes, hold her breath and jump in the water to me. Out of all the baby classes we have tried, LFSS is the one we feel Elliot has gained the most from and we feel is the best investment. If she sees her suit at home she tries to put it on! It is the highlight of her week for sure!

For more information on Dr. Reed’s practice, St. Louis Pediatric Dentistry, please visit stlouiskids.net.