For this week’s Wellness Wednesday, we wanted to highlight a new pediatric dental practice, Tooth in Boots Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Eddie Rugama and his wife, Crystal, opened the doors to Tooth in Boots this past January and are local parents themselves. You know we love family owned businesses with owners that are truly passionate about what they do, well that’s exactly what you are going to get at Tooth in Boots. Dr. Eddie wanted to be a pediatric dentist since he was a child and he has been in the dental field since he was 18 years old, and his is wife, Crystal, has been running dental offices for 10 years! This is the perfect duo to take care of your family’s dental needs and make your kids feel safe during their appointments. We sat down with Crystal to learn more about Tooth in Boots, the inspiration behind opening and creating their own practice, some of the concerns they are seeing in pediatric dentistry, and how to create healthy habits with your kiddos!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the Katy area?
We are originally from Southern California. We have been in the Katy area for 3 years
When did you decide you wanted to be a Pediatric Dentist?
My husband (Dr. Eddie Rugama) has always wanted to be a pediatric dentist. When he was a child, his mom worked at the local hospital. Pediatric dental residents often did their rotations at that hospital and would always talk and play with him while he waited for his mom. The residents inspired him to become a dentist.
Where did you attend school?
Dr. Eddie got his undergrad degree from California state university of Long Beach with a degree in microbiology with a minor in Chemistry. He went to USC for dental school, and completed his pediatric dental residency specialty program at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. I have a bachelor’s degree from California State Long Beach in Human development.
What made you decide to open your own practice as opposed to joining an already established one?
It has always been our dream to open up our own practice. Dr. Eddie started volunteering at a pediatric dental office at the age of 18. He has been able to take what he has learned in other offices, pull from past experiences, and bring in his own ideas to build Tooth in Boots. When you join an established office, sometimes it can be difficult to make personalized changes to the practice, and it begins to feel like just a “job” rather than a passion. We wanted to build a practice that we were excited to work at everyday, and hopefully pass down to our daughter one day!
What did you do before you opened Tooth in Boots Pediatric Dentistry and when did you open the doors at Tooth in Boots?
We opened January 2019! Dr. Eddie has worked in a dental field since he was 18 years old. He started off volunteering, then became a dental assistant before going to dental school. I have worked in a dental office for the last 10 years. I began working as an office scheduling coordinator before becoming an office manager.
Richmond is such a wonderful and growing area, why did you choose this location for your practice?
We instantly felt like the Richmond/Katy area was a great place to raise our daughter and to settle down. We love how much this area is growing and we were really drawn to this location for our practice and our home. It was very important for us to live close by and be a member of the same community that we would be treating as patients. We like our patients to know that we are close by and available to them anytime.
Tell us more about Tooth in Boots, what makes it unique, and different from other practices?
Tooth in Boots is unique and special because we built this office with our patients in mind. We designed every aspect of the office and we thought about the comfort of our patients every step of the way. We are big believers in having a private and personalized experience. Each dental chair has its own private space with a TV at every dental chair. We allow the child to choose their favorite show or movie for their appointment. We also allow parents to stay with their child during their dental visits. Dr. Eddie is a big advocate of having the parent involved. He shows and teaches you what to look for on the x-rays and in your child’s mouth. It is extremely important to us that each patient and parent feels comfortable, informed and happy with their experience at Tooth in Boots.
At what age do you want to start seeing children?
We see children ages 0-18. The American Dental association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry say that the first dental appointment should occur within six months after the baby’s first tooth appears, but no later than baby’s first birthday. If your child is past the one year mark, don’t sweat it! Come on in and we will get you on track!
What is your best advice to parents in creating healthy teeth habits with their children and preventing cavities?
Brushing and flossing! I know this can be a lot easier said than done, especially with little ones. Our best advice to protect your child’s teeth is by starting dental checkups early. The best time to meet the dentist is when your child healthy and having no dental issues. At the office we can give you great tips and show you ways to effectively brush and floss your child’s teeth.
What dental concerns are you seeing most of?
Preventative care. It is very important to come for regular visits. During a dental visit, it gives us the opportunity to make sure you are properly brushing and flossing, and help with any troublesome areas before they become a bigger problem.
We are seeing many dental issues (cavities) that could have easily been prevented with a protective sealant. A sealant is a white coating that is painted on to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. We normally recommend sealants once the molars come in.
What is your opinion on pacifiers affecting teeth and when to take them away (don’t be too harsh, one of our son’s still has a paci at 2.5 years old… working on it!)?
We recommend working on getting rid of any pacifier, or finger sucking habits between 17-24 months of age before all of the baby teeth are in. During that time, as the teeth are coming in, the jaw is also forming and growing. These sucking habits alter the growth of the jaw and can create unwanted dental changes. The earlier you can move away from these habits, the better chances you have of growth in the right direction, with minimal long term dental issues. If your child is having trouble stopping the habit, we can discuss some options that may be available to help.
Advice for anyone wanting to start their own practice?
Our advice is to work hard, build a great team around you and always put your patients first.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a business owner and as a doctor?
The biggest challenge is being so emotionally involved in the practice. This is not just a job that we clock in and out of every day. We care so much about our patients, and I don’t think many people realize that we go home thinking about you! It’s like our patients are a part of our family. We worry if someone is in pain. Our hearts are filled with happiness when patients have a great experience. We never forget the smiles, hugs, gifts and kind words! Opening an office and building it from the ground up is extremely stressful, and more work than we could have ever imagined! Now that we are finally open, we are just so incredibly grateful to be here and be able to serve this community.
Future plans for your practice?
For now, we are just focused on growing our practice and becoming a positive influence in the community. In the future, we can see the possibility of opening another location.
Any discounts or specials our moms can look out for?
Yes! Our new patient special is $75.00. This covers the whole visit. Your child will get a cleaning, x-rays (if needed), comprehensive Dr. exam and fluoride treatment.