When is a dentist not ‘just a dentist’? Pretty much every day if you are one of the talented and compassionate dentists at Small To Tall Pediatric Dentistry. The care they give to each patient in the office is the same care they extend into our community, supporting non-profit organizations and individuals throughout the South Sound. The Small to Tall team has supported, financially or with their time, more than twenty-one different groups.
But the Small to Tall dentists and staff aren’t supporting our community just to grow a lengthy list. They simply know it’s the right thing to do. Dr. Ben Ruder shares, “If there are things we can support financially, with donations or with our presence we feel everyone can benefit.” And the organizations around our area benefit greatly.
One example is Small to Tall’s support of the South Sound Reading Foundation (SSRF). If you delivered a baby at a local hospital, then you have benefitted from the SSRF. Thank the SSRF for the board book you went home with (ours was titled Mama, Mama). In addition to their Books for Babies Program, the SSRF has more than ten programs aimed at supporting literacy for children – promoting reading 20 minutes a day by making sure books are in every home and childcare center in our area.
As parents of small children themselves, the Small to Tall dentists are proud to support SSRF’s work. “I really enjoyed attending the annual fundraising breakfast and learning more about the great impact this organization has on our community,” says Dr. Scott Rowley.
Coming up soon on the calendar is the Lacey Spring Fun Fair, an event that Small to Tall is proud to participate in and sponsor. This free community event draws thousands of people every year, celebrating the season with a variety of fun activities for kids and adults. Stop by Small to Tall’s booth at the Lacey Spring Fun Fair and pick up educational materials about oral hygiene. During the two day event, all of the dentists and their staff will rotate through the booth. “It’s not just the dentists who feel passionate about community support – it’s a philosophy supported by the entire office,” adds Rowley.
Like many parents in the area, I am thrilled with the new Hands On Children’s Museum. Small to Tall is too. They were key donors during the construction process of the new museum, but their involvement doesn’t stop there. They partner with the museum to highlight Children’s Dental Health Month each February, coordinating free dental screenings. Many dentists from the Thurston-Mason Counties Dental Society pitch in throughout the month. This free service is invaluable to area families who may have skipped early childhood check-ups due to finances or simply didn’t know screenings start with the emergence of the first tooth.
And community involvement of other area dentists is something Dr. Ruder sites as the norm, not the exception. “I really feel that the dental profession as a whole, not just Small to Tall, supports the arts, school groups like PTAs and other non-profit organizations around the Olympia area. Whenever I go to a performance, school event or a non-profit benefit, it’s always reassuring to see how many dentists sponsor or offer support to these organizations,” shares Ruder.
When reading through the list of organizations Small to Tall supports, I was struck with not only the larger organizational support including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County, South Sound YMCA and Providence St. Peter’s Hospital, but that it included so many smaller, more personal connections.
These connections exist because Small to Tall really loves their patients, who travel from Grays Harbor, Mason, Lewis, Thurston and South Pierce County to take advantage of the specialized pediatric care services offered at Small to Tall. Dentists in other counties refer patients to Small to Tall, knowing that their youngest patients will get just what they need from Drs. Rowley, Ruder, and Psaltis. In turn, Small to Tall supports the school auctions, PTAs, dance teams, Scout troops, theater productions, and sports fundraisers of their patients. “It’s built into our business and a core philosophy that we share,” remarks Rowley.
One of the favorite outreach activities of the team at Small to Tall is visiting local preschools where they demonstrate, in larger than life scale, how to take good care of your teeth. Floss made of rope and teeth made from stuffed pillowcases make preschoolers laugh, but also get them excited about taking care of their own teeth, ridding their mouth of the dreaded “sugar bugs.” When kids are excited about their own dental health, parents will follow.
And ultimately, that’s the big goal of community outreach and support. “We are supposed to be advocates for children’s oral health, to make sure they have healthy teeth and quality experiences when they come to the dentist,” shares Ruder. “That certainly extends beyond the borders of the dental office. We want to make sure we are advocates not just in our office, but in our community. Going out to schools and other venues, we can reach out to kids, in an environment they are familiar with, to educate them. It’s a community effort and that is really just part of who we are.”
222 Lilly Road
Olympia, WA 98506