Kailey A. Housley, D.D.S., may be a board-certified pediatric dentist, but she also considers herself a teacher, of sorts. When parents bring their children to see “Dr. Kailey” at the Warrington office of Children’s Dental Health, the dental operatory becomes something of a makeshift classroom. She’s careful to spend ample time informing patients and parents about issues that might affect a child’s dental health— everything from proper brushing techniques to the importance of good nutrition to thumb sucking and other habits that can impact a child’s oral and dental development.
“It’s all about creating a dialog,” Dr. Kailey says. “If there’s an issue with a patient’s tooth, I like to bring the parent back and show them what it is and explain to them what caused the issue and then provide them with all the options so they can make decisions about what to do next. That’s one of the most important things a pediatric dentist can do: Tell parents the pros and cons and then let them make an informed decision for their children.”
Teaching comes naturally to Dr. Kailey. She has had a lifelong love of education stemming back to days spent in her mother’s elementary school classroom, watching her mother teach.
“I’ve always been very outgoing, and I’ve always enjoyed working with kids,” she says. “I babysat when I grew up, and I also worked in my mom’s classroom, teaching Sunday-school classes to kids. I loved it, and that love never went away. My love for teaching continued as I pursued by own education. I worked as a teaching assistant for several professors and as a tutor for collegiate athletes and dental students. At the University at Buffalo, where I did my residency, I was an associate professor teaching pediatric dentistry.”
At Children’s Dental Health, Dr. Kailey handles everything from routine checkups and cleanings to metal-free fillings and dental extractions. At age 28, Dr. Kailey says people often tell her she looks even younger than her years. Her patients seem to respond to her fresh-faced appearance, too, which she says helps her develop a strong rapport with even the shyest patients. As a result, taking a seat in the dentist’s chair—regarded by some children as a dreaded chore— becomes a pleasant experience.
“As a mom, I try to teach other parents extra things that can help them improve their children’s dental hygiene,” says Dr. Kailey. “Honestly, I try to go out of my way for every child, because I truly love the work and care about each child. My own two-year-old daughter has quite a rambunctious side to her, so I understand rambunctious kids. In fact, I think it’s a lot of fun working with them.”
Dr. Kailey earned her dental degree from the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco. In July 2016, after completing her pediatric residency in Buffalo, she joined Children’s Dental Health. She received her board certification from the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry in 2017.
“I almost went in a different direction than pediatric dentistry,” she says. “When I was an undergrad, I originally thought I would be an optometrist. Everything changed the day I went to shadow a dentist—a pediatric dentist. I thought it looked like so much fun, and I liked the fast pace. I ended up going to dental school, knowing very well that I wanted to be a pediatric dentist.”
Rooted in the Community
Children’s Dental Health has 20 offices throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area, from West Philadelphia to Harrisburg to a newly opened location in Easton. Each location boasts a playful and inviting décor designed to put young patients at ease.
In Warrington, for example, the office sports a bright and colorful “beach pier theme,” as Dr. Kailey calls it—murals of the boardwalk, sandy dunes and seascapes featuring dolphins, sea turtles and other ocean critters; a “surf shack” in the waiting area with interactive games to entertain children prior to their appointments; and other whimsical elements that share in the beach-pier theme.
“The office has a nice ‘beach feel,’ with lots of windows and natural light,” Dr. Kailey adds. “Because the office is so new, it has all-new digital X-rays, all-new dental chairs and other new additions, like single-use Isolite systems that tend to be a lot more comfortable for patients while I’m working in the patient’s mouth. Really, the office is just a nice, comfortable environment that’s designed to make patients feel welcome.”
The Warrington office represents a relatively new addition to the Children’s Dental Health “family,” though the practice inherited many of its patients—not to mention several key staff members—from a retiring pediatric dentist whose established practice was purchased by Children’s Dental Health. As for the office’s primary dentist, Dr. Kailey, she has become a welcome addition to the community, according to Kelly Raible, Children’s Dental Health’s director of marketing.
“We’re very proud of Dr. Kailey’s hard work in Warrington, as well as her strong relationships with patients and parents in the community,” says Raible. “As we continue to grow and open new offices, our focus more than ever is on doing what’s right for the patient and making care as accessible as possible.”
A newly redesigned website, ChildrensDentalHealth.com, is one example of this initiative. The interactive site gives existing patients the capability to request appointments, submit questions and pay their invoices online, while new patients can request a tour of the office location of their choice, all from their smartphones. In addition, Children’s Dental Health accommodates for dental emergencies and, whenever possible, same-day appointments.
“The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends parents take their child to a pediatric dentist by their first birthday or upon eruption of their first tooth,” says Raible, herself a mother of an 18-month-old. “As much as 40 percent of pediatric patients have tooth decay by the time they reach kindergarten, and if not addressed early on, they are at much greater risk for developing other issues that can affect their health. At our offices, the purpose of that first appointment is to check the child’s dental and oral development, but it’s also a preventive educational visit for the parent.”
If parents do decide to take their child to a Children’s Dental Health office, Dr. Kailey says they will quickly gain confidence in their decision.
“Their child is in the very capable hands of professionals who care about their children,” she adds. “As pediatric dentists, we need to make sure we’re providing children with the highestquality dental care possible. We also have to be educators, in that we’re giving parents the tools they need to help their children have a strong foundation that’s going to last them for the rest of their lives.”
Children’s Dental Health
For more information on Children’s Dental Health or to request an appointment, call (610) 624-1090 or visit ChildrensDentalHealth.com.
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life Magazine, April 2018.