Dentist Corey Hastings started Little Smiles of Washington at 1709 Heritage Hills Drive to quash the connotations of pain and fear that children associate with the dentist at an early age.

“I’ve always worked with kids. I used to do substitute teaching during my summers off in college,” Hastings said. “It took awhile for me to realize I wanted to be a dentist but once I did, I knew working with kids is a lot of fun.

“And really, my goal is to eliminate their fears of the dentist when they’re young so they can be good dental patients for 100 years,” he said.

Hastings, a graduate of Ohio State University, initially wanted to go into medicine, but felt something was missing. He did various externships shadowing doctors in medicine, but didn’t enjoy it. Pediatric dentistry gave him what was missing, especially building a rapport and a lifelong relationship with a family.

“I actually took time off of in undergrad and my wife’s uncle is a dentist, he’s like ‘come on in, shadow.’ The day I came in and shadowed him, he was treating someone’s child since he knew them when they were a kid. I kind of wanted that same thing,” he said.

That has led to Hastings and his young family calling Washington home. He and his wife Kelly have an 8-week old daughter named Grace, and a 3-year-old son named Graham.

Originally from Troy, Hastings said he would play sports in the area and enjoyed the atmosphere in Washington.

“We’re here to be immersed in the community,” he said. “My main goal is making kids comfortable with the environment, making them good dental patients.

“We get that bad rap of ‘I hate going to the dentist,’ but a lot of the kids who leave here want to come back,” he said. “That’s my goal. I want to alleviate a lot of the fears they may have.”

Little Smiles of Washington also fills a need for the area. According to Hastings, the nearest pediatric dentist is about 22 miles away.

Little Smiles offers a tell, show and do method created to help kids learn about cleaning and keeping teeth healthy.

At a child’s first dental visit, expect an exam, teething advice, brushing tips and what to expect as the child grows older.

For more information on the dental practice, visit littlesmilesofwashington.com.