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Pediatric dentist celebrates office opening in Shelbyville

Emhardt Pediatric Dentisty held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday morning at its new Shelbyville office, 1818 N. Riley Highway, Suite B. Dr. John Emhardt, fourth from left, and the office staff as well as a welcoming committee of Shelbyville dignitaries and the Chamber of Commerce were in attendance.

By JEFF BROWN - jbrown@shelbynews.com

Pediatric dentist Dr. John Emhardt saw a need in Shelby County.

On Dec. 17, he saw his first patient. Four months later, Emhardt Pediatric Dentistry now has over 200 patients and is still growing.

“I really have appreciated the support from my mentors and all that are here today,” said Emhardt after the ribbon-cutting ceremony occurred in front of his new office at 1818 N. Riley Highway, Suite B. “This has been great sharing all this with them ... and my team.”

Emhardt is a Lawrence Central High School graduate who attended DePauw University, where he played tennis for the Tigers, then earned his master’s degree in pediatric dentistry through Indiana University.

Emhardt has worked for, and will continue to contribute his time to, Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis while his practice grows in Shelbyville.

“I’ve always known this area was underserved as far as pediatric dentisty goes. So when I was looking for a place to practice and call home, I mapped out all the pediatric dentists,” said Emhardt. “A lot of them are up north in Indianapolis where I’m from, so I looked down here and there is no one as far as pediatric dentistry goes.”

The process to build his practice was done with small steps, including a complete renovation of his new dental office. The doors were open just one day a week as the calendar switched to 2018. It’s now open twice weekly with a third day soon to be added to the routine.

“My ultimate goal is to stay on staff or faculty at Riley because I love working there and teaching but also being here three or four days a week,” he said. 

Pediatric dentists go through extensive training to deal with children who may feel trepidation in clinical visits.

“We learn how to see children and adolescents of all ages that have a little more anxiety or different medical conditions that may make it difficult to see them in the dental chair at a general dentist’s office,” he said. “Our goal is to be a resource for other general dentists. There are so many children out there. Our goal is not to see all the children in the area. Our goal is to see the children that might be a little bit more anxious and might need a little more help guiding them through the dental process.”