Sweet Tooth Dentistry opens Shawnee location with aim of serving uninsured kids

Sweet Tooth Shawnee

Dr. Wayne Dobbins, a pediatric dentist in Overland Park, has opened a new location in Shawnee. Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics accepts state-run insurance like KanCare to help families without private insurance.

An Overland Park pediatric dental clinic has opened a second location in Shawnee.

Wayne Dobbins, DDS, MS, says he hopes to bring dental services and orthodontics to underserved children in the area.

Located at 15933 W. 65th St. near Shawnee Mission Parkway and Maurer Road, Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics opened June 12.

“Frankly, there’s not a pediatric dentist within a several-mile radius of here,” said Dobbins, a pediatric specialist and board-certified orthodontist. “So for us, the demographic in that sense doesn’t matter. We want to be where we can serve the people. There’s an overwhelmingly underserved community here.”

Located at 15933 W. 65th St. near Shawnee Mission Parkway and Maurer Road, Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics opened June 12.

Denny Dobbins is Wayne’s father and serves as his son’s clinic’s public relations director.

Denny said their main goal is to fill a gap, especially for patients without private insurance.

Many of Sweet Tooth’s patients in Overland Park have private insurance. In Shawnee, on the other hand, they plan to accept many patients who are covered by Medicaid or KanCare, or who have no insurance.

“Up north as you get closer to Kansas City, there’s a lot of people struggling,” said Denny Dobbins. “That factor decided where we were going to build because we’ve always wanted to give back to the community. And the problem is, most dentists don’t take Medicaid. We do, because these folks don’t have any place to go.”

Ambitions to grow more

Wayne Dobbins is a graduate of the University of Buffalo and the University of Oklahoma and New York University.

As a pediatric dentist and board-certified orthodontist, the Dobbins’ eventually hope to grow the practice into Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo.

They see red tape for dentists working through state-run insurance programs as an opportunity to provide uninsured and underserved children with the dental care they need.

“The worst things for kids is they don’t get their teeth taken care of,” said Denny Dobbins. “That causes all kinds of disease and problems. They need them taken care of at a young age. And if parents are too far away [from a clinic], they just don’t take them.”

A welcoming atmosphere

A lot of attention is put into creating a fun atmosphere at their dental offices.

Sweet Tooth is accepting new patients at its Shawnee location. Denny Dobbins, Wayne’s father, is at left in blue smock.

The Shawnee location features bright colors, a play area and a giant wheel their young patients can spin for prizes.

“Kids are scared when they come to a dentist,” said Denny Dobbins. “They’re scared they’re going to be hurt; parents are actually scared too, they’re very concerned about their child. So we try to make it fun. No pun intended: It leaves a flavor in their mouth that they want to come back.”

Sweet Tooth in Shawnee is accepting new patients, takes walk-in appointments and has an emergency line that goes directly to Dr. Wayne Dobbins’ cell phone.

“Our number one focus is on patients,” Wayne Dobbins said. “We think that’s the right thing to do, and we think that will allow us to continue to grow and serve the Shawnee community.”