Small Business Saturday Featuring Kids Healthy Teeth
When it comes to loving teeth, no one does it better than Dr. Elizabeth Chen and her staff at Kids Healthy Teeth in Katy. Some may say it runs in the family because every member of Dr. Chen’s immediate family is a top dental specialist.
A native Houstonian, Dr. Chen has called Katy home for the last three years and gave birth to her first baby, a son, in October. She’s passionate about starting excellent oral hygiene at a young age that can carry them through to adulthood.
Dr. Chen starts children on a lifetime of excellent oral health by providing high-quality pediatric dentistry in a safe and comfortable environment. Kids enjoy the engaging office décor, whimsical themes, coloring books, and prizes from the “treasure tower,” but it takes more than this to create a positive dental experience for children.
The Kids Healthy Teeth office flooded during Hurricane Harvey, but after 8 months of rebuilding, the office is almost complete and ready to take on new patients! In the meantime, they office out of Fulshear and can’t wait to come back bigger and better than before!
We got to chat with this awesome mama dentist about her practice and advice for business owners, her passion for oral health, and her favorite things about the Katy community.
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Katy?
I am originally from Houston, near Rice University, and I have been in the Katy community for just over 3 years.
Are you a mama as well? If so, how many kiddos and what are their names?
Yes. Just one, his name is Pierce. He is 6 weeks old.
Did you always know you wanted to be a dentist?
When I was a freshman in high school I told my mom I wanted to be just like her. My parents are dentists. My mom is a pediatric dentist and my dad is an oral surgeon. My older brother became an orthodontist and my younger sister is finishing her orthodontic residency in August 2019.
When did you decide to open Kids Healthy Teeth and how long have you been helping kiddos with dental health?
I purchased Kids Healthy Teeth in the beginning of 2016 from a fabulous doctor, Sheryl Hunter-Griffith. She is a fantastic mentor and friend. She still works part-time at Kids Healthy Teeth during the super busy times like summer, spring break, Christmas break, etc. I have been helping kiddos with their dental health since 2013.
Your office flooded during Harvey and you had to rebuild- what was that experience like and how did it effect your business?
The experience was very, very stressful. The rebuilding process was long and arduous and I did not have a good experience with my general contractor and his sub-contractors. The rebuild took about 8 months and we still aren’t completely done!
We had to move while we were rebuilding. We used one of my mom’s offices in Fulshear while we were rebuilding. Our new patients decreased by 50% while we were out of our Katy location and the number of patients we were seeing per month decreased by 50-60% as well. It affected our business significantly so we are really trying to spread the word that we are back and better than ever!
Tell us about the services you provide and what makes you unique in the pediatric dental space?
We provide comprehensive pediatric dental services by only board-certified pediatric dentists. Preventive services include cleanings, radiographs, and fluoride treatments. Restorative services include fillings, crowns, etc.
We have state of the art lasers that we can use for restorative treatments, band-aids for ulcers, frenectomies for teenagers or infants, etc.
We offer IV sedation when needed by a board-certified pediatric anesthesiologist. I am on staff at Texas Children’s Hospital if hospital dentistry is necessary.
What’s your favorite thing about working with kids?
I love talking with the kids and finding out what they love and what their hobbies are etc. Working with kids is refreshing and fun – they definitely keep it interesting! I love being able to shape how children perceive the dentist – I am here to create children who have a good relationship with oral healthcare providers so that they continue with their oral care throughout their life.
Best advice for moms of kiddos who don’t like to brush their teeth or JUST HAVE to do it themselves? (aka Nat’s kids)
Sometimes we have to do things we don’t like, but try to make it fun and interesting for them. Make it a game, play music, give rewards, etc. It also helps if you keep it as part of a routine.
It’s great to have independent kiddos who like to brush on their own. Let them brush as much a they want but try to get them to let you touch up after. Children aren’t dexterous enough to brush and floss their own teeth properly until about 8 years old.
What’s your favorite thing about being a business owner in Katy?
What I love most about Katy is the sense of community and the family atmosphere. The parents are very involved in their kids’ health and school and extra curricular activities. The family atmosphere is a great part about Katy. I love when patients see their friends here at the office!
How do you think the Katy area community impacted your business?
Word of mouth referrals are our biggest and best source of new patients so the sense of community that Katy moms and schools instills really helps us grow as a practice.
What’s one thing you’d like to go back and tell the you before you were a business owner?
Take business classes!!!! The funny thing about being in the medical field is that you spend your entire schooling in science and math classes. Then when you go to buy or open your own practice you realize you know nothing about buying or running your own business. It’s a steep learning curve!
Advice for anyone wanting to start their own business?
Follow your dreams! If you want to do it and you are ready to put your whole heart into it, go for it! But don’t do it if your whole heart isn’t into it. People know if you love what you do; they can feel it so make sure you are always genuine and respectful. Treat your clients/patients/etc like family and your business with thrive.
Who inspires you most in your line of work?
My mother, Regina Lewis, and the founder of Kids Healthy Teeth, Sheryl Hunter-Griffith. They both started and grew successful practices on their own from scratch in a time when women were the great minority in the dental field.
When things get hard, what’s one thing you tell yourself to keep going?
“Get over yourself. Children depend on you.” “Stop being selfish.”
In the end, my job is about helping and serving children who need me. There are a million dentists out there, but we love every child that comes into our office as if they are our own; they are not just a number like they are at other places. We like to be invested in them and help them succeed in everything that they do.
How do you balance being a business owner, wife, and mama?
Well, I haven’t had to balance being a mama with wife and business owner for very long, but it’s challenging. When they say “it takes a village” they weren’t lying!
Future plans for your business?
Our future plans are to continue to grow our pediatric practice and hopefully next summer we will add an orthodontist, my sister, Dr. Marian McCarty.
Any discounts our Katy Moms can look out for?
We have a free new patient exam coupon that we hand out at events and give to pediatricians – offer includes dental exam, necessary cavity detecting x-rays, and consultation with our team. Dental cleaning and fluoride treatment fee is only $25 or if your insurance covers the exam, x-rays, and cleaning and you wish to use that benefit, this offer is worth $25 toward any treatment necessary for your child or children.
We’ll also soon be having a grand re-opening free to everyone in Katy once our office is finished with food, games, etc.
Make sure to follow Kids Healthy Teeth on social media and visit their website for more information!
*Social Media Handles: @kidshealthyteeth (Instagram), @txhealthyteeth