When Dr. Elizabeth Thorson planted roots in Destrehan for her practice, Thorson Dentistry for Kids, she established the first dental office specializing in pediatrics in St. Charles Parish, and it remains the only one in all of the River Parishes.
“Every year, we’ve gotten more and more new patients, a lot of that due to word of mouth,” said Thorson, who started the practice in 2014. “I’m still the only (pediatric dentist). I’m the closest in three parishes. People were always having to drive to Metairie, and now they’re realizing, ‘hey, she’s right here.’”
Thorson sees children up to 18 years old with a special focus placed upon preventative care. Another priority is establishing dental visits as nothing to fear and as a positive experience for each patient at a young age. A walk through Thorson’s office reveals as such, with child-friendly imagery and toys abound.
“We’re trying to make the experience as positive as possible, because a lot of times, even as adults it can be pretty anxiety ridden to go to a dentist,” Thorson said. “We’re trying to create these positive experiences for kids when they’re young so that they’re not scared when they’re older.
“We’re super child-oriented. If you walk in the back (where patients are seen), there are toys back there, too. A lot of our kids come in and are scared at first, then they don’t want to leave.”
As a doctor specializing in pediatric dentistry, Thorson has notable expertise working with children and the specific issues young patients must deal with.
“Not everyone realizes this, but pediatric dental specialists go to school longer than a regular dentist … it’s two extra years, and during those two years, we really hone in child-specific needs,” Thorson said, noting her practice’s focus on child psychology, early health care and prevention and ability to work with children with special needs and those with disabilities. For extremely anxious children, she can offer oral sedation and hospital dentistry if necessary.
“It’s what sets us apart,” Thorson said. “You’ll get extra TLC, extra patience and extra care when it comes to your child because this is what we do every single day. We feel like there’s nobody better to care for your children than us, because this is simply what we do.”
Thorson also is on call for emergencies, nothing her practice often sees patients who have undergone some form of trauma, for example broken teeth resulting from a fall.
Thorson said it’s extremely important for each child to make regularly scheduled visits to the dentist for checkups (generally every six months) in order to reinforce good dental care habits and have any potential issues diagnosed before they evolve into bigger problems.
Thorson originally planned to become a school teacher, but inspired by her own hometown dentist, she made the change to dental care. In her third year of dental school, she began seeing a number of younger patients, and it made something click for her.
“It really married my two favorite things,” she said. “I wanted to be an elementary education teacher. I loved dentistry. So it was really a perfect fit, and that’s how I got here.”
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (985) 307-0072.