February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

Dr. Dirk Eckroat

How Dr. Dirk Eckroat brings smiles to patients at Bethany Children’s

Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. 

Bethany Children’s Health Center understands the important role oral health plays in children’s overall health and incorporates regular dental checkups and treatments into patients’ care plans. Dr. Dirk Eckroat of Edmond Pediatric & Teen Dentistry was initially introduced to the hospital by Uwe von Schamann and has been caring for children at Bethany Children’s since 2018.

“Seeing the quality care the kids were receiving made me want to become a part of the team,” he shares. “Throughout my pediatric dental residency, I obtained an immense amount of experience in treating kids with special health care needs. Having the opportunity present itself to take over as the dental specialist in Bethany is such an awesome way for me to use that training.”

Dr. Eckroat visits the hospital monthly, seeing approximately 15 patients at each visit. He addresses any dental concerns the patients’ care teams might have, and performs exams, cleaning and other procedures on site with assistance from hospital staff. He also provides documentation and communicates with families, nursing staff and hospital providers.

Carissa Perreault, Director of Patient Navigation at Bethany Children’s, stresses the importance of oral health care for both children who are fed by a tube and those who eat and drink by mouth. “As soon as patients are two years of age, they begin seeing our pediatric dentist for routine exams and cleanings,” she says.

Because of the complex medical conditions of many patients at Bethany Children’s, dental care is even more essential. Dr. Eckroat explains, “The mouth is such a unique part of the body because it can have a tremendous impact on a person’s overall health. The patients here have a variety of health issues to navigate. Often times, that includes complex oral conditions. Routine examinations enable me to monitor potential problem areas and treat them as needed. Creating a positive and healthy oral environment and routine allows for more optimized healthcare for each patient.”

Dr. Eckroat brings more than just his dental expertise to the hospital, alleviating patients’ anxiety and ensuring that the children have the most positive experience possible.

Carissa says, “Dr. Eckroat is so fun to work with! He is great with our patients and their families and makes sure to communicate everything he is going to do before he does it.” She adds that Dr. Eckroat loves to dress up and brings an easy-going and upbeat manner to his visits.

“Dr. Eckroat has improved our dental processes by leaps and bounds since he began treating patients at Bethany Children’s. We are so fortunate to have a dentist who loves our patients as much as we do!”

For Dr. Eckroat, serving the patients at Bethany Children’s has allowed him to enjoy the kids and the variety of personalities they bring to his visits while he has watched them grow.

He says, “It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of a team that provides top of the line care for some of the most vulnerable children in Oklahoma.”

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