Seeking a Pediatric Dentist

Parent Q&A

Holistic, prevention-oriented pediatric dentist May 26, 2020 (6 responses below)
Pediatric dentist Oct 4, 2019 (6 responses below)
pediatric dentist Mar 29, 2019 (4 responses below)
Toddler dentistry without tears? Aug 3, 2018 (5 responses below)
POW Dental experiences? Mar 15, 2018 (8 responses below)
Pediatric Dentist Recommendation May 15, 2017 (4 responses below)
Seeking Excellent Pediatric Dentist for 17 month old May 15, 2017 (1 responses below)
Pediatric Dentist in MetLife Network Needed Jul 12, 2016 (1 responses below)
In search of a pediatric dentist in the area Jun 22, 2016 (7 responses below)
  • Admittedly, I'm skeptical of dentists (read The Truth About Dentistry in The Atlantic). I had my own series of shady experiences years ago, which I won't go into here but I saw numerous dentists each advising different treatment, none in agreement (read the article) and ultimately most not necessary (which I can attest to more than 10 years later). Anyway, now I have kids and I love their pediatric dentist but I have serious concerns about whether this dentist is recommending treatment in excess of what is really necessary. Anyway, without going into further detail, I would like to get a second opinion with a dentist who is known to take a conservative approach and preferably is at least aware of no-drill approaches to treating minor decay. Preferably in Oakland or East Bay, but I would travel farther for the right person. 

    Also interested so hoping you'll share with me if you get any recommendations. Thank you

    A dentist that we use, who is knowledgeable of holistic approaches, is Doctor Hockel in Walnut Creek. He also practices orthotropic orthotics (an alternative to traditional orthodonture that emphasizes extractions and results in a smaller jawline, may contribute to a smaller airway, sleep apnea and other problems). With orthotics, they use appliances (retainer-like) to gradually encourage jawline growth so that the teeth have room to grow in naturally. We've been using him for both the orthotics and as our general pediatric dentist. They still use some traditional dentists practices, but they are understanding if you want to omit some (like not using flouride) or steer things a different way (e.g. using diet, etc). (Unlike other dentists who may look at you in a negative light if you ask for more holistic approaches.) Here's their website:

    Another holistic dentist, located in Berkeley, is Doctor Hites:

    Dr. Hites has more adult clients, and is not as focused on kids (he isn't as good at interacting with them compared to Doctor Hockel, which was a deciding factor for us). 

    It isn't easy to find a holistic dentist! We searched for a long time to find ones more compatible with our orientation toward health. Hope that helps!

    The dentist I've been going to for 30 years, Dr. Stephen Voyne, is trustworthy and very conservative when it comes to any dental work, often taking a "wait and see" approach. He is not specifically a pediatric dentist, but he is a family dentist, and our daughter saw him throughout her childhood. 

  • Pediatric dentist

    (6 replies)

    Hi, we're looking for a good pediatric dentist in the Oakland/Berkeley area.  Suggestions are appreciated.  Thank you!

    RE: Pediatric dentist ()

    Highly recommend Dr. Denise Bass Allen with Uptown Pediatric Dentistry in downtown Oakland. I was dreading taking my daughter to the dentist for the first time when she was about 1 1/2, so I was delightedly shocked when Dr. Denise (as she has the kids call her) was able to get through the whole cleaning and check up without any tears. Now, she still loves going to the dentist and our second goes there, too! 

    RE: Pediatric dentist ()

    We just switched to Alameda Pediatric Dentistry on Grand Ave in Oakland. Previously we went to POW in Albany, which was fun and cute but I wasn’t 100% sold on the quality of care. (I’m the daughter of a dentist and used to work as a dental receptionist.) POW told me my daughter had a lip and tongue tie (our pediatrician and my dentist mother disagree) and never mentioned that she was missing her lower lateral incisors. Alameda Pediatric Dentistry was more thorough and accurate in their assessment of my daughter’s teeth. 

    RE: Pediatric dentist ()

    Check out Alameda Pediatric Dentistry - Oakland branch. We were just there last week for my 2 year old's first visit, and couldn't be happier with them. Their offices are brand spanking new and the staff were super friendly and made my son feel so good about being there. They'll play movies on the ceiling so your kid will happily lay back and watch while their teeth and being examined and cleaned. They have dedicated parking spots for their customers behind the building! I'm beyond glad I went with them since they really exceeded my expectations in every way. Even now my son is asking to go back (he's not due for another visit for 6 months so he'll have to wait!). 

    - Jess

  • pediatric dentist

    (4 replies)

    Hi everyone, 

    Im looking for a gentle and kind dentist that takes guardian dental insurance, for my 2 year old Boy. We live close to Alameda /oakland but we would be okay to travel a little extra just to find the right fit. Does anyone have and recommendations ? thank you 

    RE: pediatric dentist ()

    We LOVE Dr. Amaneh Khosrovani at Aloha Pediatric Dentistry.  She was our child's dentist from 3 until 18, when it was time to go to an adult specialist. Patient, kind, thoughtful, respectful, and a great dentist.

    RE: pediatric dentist ()

    We love Uptown Pediatric Dentistry on Broadway, in downtown Oakland. All of the dentists there are fabulous! I'm not sure which insurance they do & don't take, though. Good luck!

    RE: pediatric dentist ()

    Aloha Pediatric Dentistry has offices on Telegraph and Solano Avenue (both in Berkeley) and also Orinda.

    Extremely patient and professional, kids are their specialty and it shows.  We see Dr. Carole Miyahara but I've heard good things about all their dentists.  

  • Toddler dentistry without tears?

    (5 replies)

    Has anyone had a great experience taking a toddler to the dentist in Berkeley or Oakland? After reading reviews of pediatric dentists, I allowed myself to hope that their tricks and techniques could usher even the littlest ones through without tears. But we had our first appointment (at 14 months) and it didn’t live up to that high bar—the people and setup were very nice (toys to play with while waiting, etc.), but when it came to the exam they just said it was normal for him to cry. Looking ahead to a visit at 20 months, I’d love to know: do any of the Berkeley/Oakland pediatric practices have the secret sauce for a happy toddler visit? Or is that simply an unrealistic goal at this age?
    If you know of a practice with great techniques for making toddlers think brushing is important or fun, that would be great to know also!

    We had 14 years of great success with Dr. Matsuishi on Stockton Street, and continued to have great care in a soothing environment with Dr. Ching, his successor.  Their office used to give tours to nursery school kids, to help them feel comfortable in the office.  They would let you schedule a pre-visit to reduce anxiety.  

    My daughter had her first appointment at 19 months, thought it was great and has loved going to the dentist ever since. She sees Dr. Nakazato at Aloha Pediatric Dentistry, although that first visit was with Dr. Wampler (who I think has since retired). She saw Dr. Khosrovani there once when she was 5 and had a dental emergency. All three of them have been great.

    Dr. Vivian Lopez and assistants are great. I wouldn't say we achieved zero tears with every procedure, but I always felt the staff was even more patient and definitely more wise than I was. My preteen kids are still totally comfotable with going there despite some fillings, a retainer, one extraction, and a spacer. So they must be doing something right! With a 14 month old it sounds like it should be just cleanings and inspections though, so shouldn't be too many tears. Then again, I'm not sure I brought my kids to the dentist that young.

  • POW Dental experiences?

    (8 replies)

    Hi there,

    We're new to the area and I just took my 5 year old for a check up at POW dental in Albany.  I expected to hear that she has a cavity (this is what our prior dentist told us to keep an eye on at her last appointment a year ago), although we were told that she has now has 4 that need immediate treatment.  This may be entirely true-- I'm definitely not qualified to determine this myself, and she's my first kid so I'm learning as I go-- but I wondered if any BPN parents have had similar experiences with POW suggesting surprisingly intensive interventions, or if BNP parents have had fantastic experiences there.  I'd love to know about either.  I thought I found POW through BPN suggestions originally but just now in scanning through the dental postings here, I can't actually find them listed in the suggestions.

    I'm just trying to make sure I don't sign her up for anything unnecessary since I know the treatments would be stressful for her.  That said, I absolutely want to do them if they are needed.  Thank you for any advice!


    RE: POW Dental experiences? ()

    I don't know what to tell you about POW but I am surprised to hear your prior dentist told you to "keep an eye on" a cavity.  They don't go away (and as you say, they aren't really visible to the untrained eye) so I'm sure what that was about.  As I understand it, cavities, when they appear, need to be filled. 

    RE: POW Dental experiences? ()

    Obviously can't give advice on your daughter's specific teeth, but I take my two kids to POW now after a few very unsatisfactory years with Dr Nick (formerly Dr Ed) in El Cerrito, where I felt among other things they were very interventionist on a potential problem (not a cavity) on a 3 year old. We've been happy at POW with both the dentists there, although I always feel kind of "ugh" since - as you allude to - if you're not a dentist yourself it's hard to know what's really going on! I guess in short answer to your question, we ended up transferring to POW after going there for a second opinion from Dr Nick (also went once to Aloha for a second opinion, wow were they expensive) and my perception is they are better in terms of not being so aggressive about treatment - again, cavities are one thing and this particular example for my kid was different (trauma to tooth after a fall). We have since had a couple cavities filled there on one kid, the other one has skated so far. Anyway, hope it helps.

    RE: POW Dental experiences? ()

    I've had a lot of dentists in the past propose more than I wanted to do. I now go to Dr. Mizono in Albany, who is great. When I told him my past experiences he said that it's really pretty subjective, and that he takes a conservative approach. 

  • Pediatric Dentist Recommendation

    (4 replies)


    Our pediatrician recommended Alameda Pediatric Dentistry for my son's first (one year appointment).  Has anyone used their Oakland office?  If so, how was your kiddos experience?  Your experience as a parent?  Any specific dentist at this practice you would recommend?


    I take my toddler to the Oakland office and I have no complaints. The doctors, assistants and staff are great with kids.  I was scared to take my daughter the first time (she was 2) because she is on the spectrum but she did just fine. We now go every 6 months and my daughter enjoys playing with the toys and sitting in the dental chair. We see Dr. Wahl, he's very friendly and patient with children. I would recommend Alameda Pediatric Dentistry.

    Our son has gone to the Oakland office of Alameda Pediatric Dentistry for the past few years, and we LOVE it. Dr. Whippy is amazing. I honestly can't imagine a better dentist for young children. She's super smart, kind, patient, and wonderful at connecting with children. I highly recommend them!

    Yes- my 3 year old goes there (he's been 2 or 3 times). We've had a very good experience so far.  We see Dr. Whippy, who we really like.  

  • My wife and I are seeking a pediatric dentist for our son of 17months close to Oakland/Berkeley/Emeryville

    Thank you

    My kids and I love Denise Bass Allen, DDS, who is in downtown Oakland. 

    She's amazing with kids, the office staff are very nice and organized, and the kids always enjoy going. (We've been taking each once since they turned 1.) The practice only serves pediatric patients and they really have it down to a science.

    Can't recommend her highly enough!


  • We've been taking our son to see the same adult dentist that we do and it has worked really well so far. He has no fear or anxiety about going to the dentist and I really like the business-like, matter-of-fact approach. They never acted like there might be an issue with going to the dentist so he's never had an issue with going to the dentist. It probably helps that I love getting my teeth cleaned and look forward to our appointments.

    Unfortunately my dentist is a general dentist and seems to know very little about dental issues specific to kids. I asked some questions about an issue that's been worrying me and she couldn't answer them. In fact, she wouldn't have even known that there was an issue until I brought it up. I think that we need to switch him to a dentist that knows about issues specific to children (permanent teeth, orthodontists, etc.). We have MetLife for our dental insurance and would like to find a pediatric dentist in Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, or Kensington who is in network.

    I did some research and came up with the following names. Do any of you have any feedback on any of them? We want someone who is proactive and recognize issues. But we don't want to take him somewhere where he'll be overly babied because we don't him to get the impression that he should be afraid of or dread going to the dentist. The names that I've found are:

    Dr. Nancy Ekram Elias and Dr. Roxanne Gould in Berkeley

    Dr. Patrick Ting and Dr. Vivienne Valdez, Pediatric Oral Wellness, Albany

    Any feedback that you have would be appreciated. REcommendations to any good pediatric dentists in the area that take MetLife would also be appreciated.


    We have MetLife and use Drs. Terlet and Aziz in Berkeley.  While they are not specifically pediatrics, they do see a lot of peds patients and would probably steer you in the right direction for pediatric specialists.  Worth a call anyhow!

  • Hi There!

    Our family is moving from Chicago to Berkeley this weekend & my 4 year old son is in need dental care.  He has had a bad experience with the two dentists in Chicago & it is very important we find a pediatric dentist that is warm, nurturing, & will let parents go to the back with their child. Any recommendations would be helpful.  Thank you in advance.

    We love Alameda Pediatric Dentistry- they are GREAT with kids! They have an office in Oakland.

    Both my picky daughters liked Aloha Pediatric Dentistry. I liked that they had many locations that were convenient as we moved a few times.
    -mom of 2

    These guys are recommended a lot on BPN for good reason:  Aloha Dentistry in Berkeley.  They really know how to work with children.  My youngest has just graduated from Aloha to a regular dentist, but the years going to Aloha were happy and stress-free.  Yes, parents can hover over their kid if they want to during the visit. The kids, and optionally their parents, are in a big examining room together, which I think reduces the anxiety for kids when they see other kids getting their teeth checked. They are a great dental practice.

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