Clinic changes name to Kidz Dental Zone

News staff writer

Dr. Kyle House has a new associate, a new look to his office and even a new name for his pediatric dentistry clinic.

House is inviting Hood River County residents to visit the Kidz Dental Zone at an open house from 3-6 p.m. on Thursday. The “state of the art” business, formerly known as the Columbia Gorge Pediatric Dental Center, is located in Suite 4 at 419 State St.

During the celebration, House will introduce Dr. Steven Wohlford to any patients, and their parents, who have not yet met him. His other nine staffers will be on hand to entertain children and show off the whimsical mural depicting life in the Gorge that was painted across the walls of the waiting room by Mark Nilsson.

The party also includes a juggler and a tour of the premises where parents can check out the high-tech equipment that includes ceiling-mounted televisions.

House has even asked the architects and construction contractors to be present to answer any questions about the building design.

“We’ll all be here to welcome our patients who haven’t had a chance to see the office since our remodel — and anyone else who wants to know what dentistry is all about,” said House.

Six years ago, House set up a Hood River practice that specializes in children’s dentistry. Now, after an extensive 4-month remodel, his office is double its former size and provides an environment that he believes matches the “Where Children R our only business” motto.

“We wanted this to be a place for kids to come and have a good life experience,” said House, who has 28 years of experience.

Wohlford joined him on Aug. 1 after completing his pediatric dentist residency at Children’s Hospital in Detroit, Mich. Since he was born and raised in Portland, Wohlford was already familiar with the Gorge because of its outdoor sports opportunities. During his off-hours, he enjoys hiking, camping, hunting and fishing.

“I really didn’t want to be a big city dentist; I like the quality of life that a smaller town has to offer and am really pleased to be here,” he said.

After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for six years, Wohlford majored in biology at the University of Oregon in Eugene. In 2002, he completed dental school at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and then spent one year as a general practice resident in Fresno., Calif. During that time, Wohlford, 35, performed dental surgery on many patients with serious medical illnesses.

Wohlford and House are both trained to treat serious tooth decay cases in children — and don’t even mind the occasional bite. The trick, said Wohlford, is not to leave your fingers in a child’s mouth any longer than absolutely necessary. He and House, who once had stitches to repair a tooth imprint, have learned that lesson the hard way.

“It can be challenging to try and convince a 3-year-old that it’s cool to have some fingers stuck in his mouth — but then there are challenges to everything,” said Wohlford.

House and Wohlford will be treating an average of about 80 children a day in their combined practice. They don’t plan to turn away any client because of his/her parent’s inability to pay for services.

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