Patients travel from far and wide for Las Vegas dentist

You could call his an international practice. William Waggoner of Pediatric Dental Care Associates, 8981 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 110, sees patients from as far way as the Middle East, spending as long as 27 hours in flight.

Granted, the youngsters come to visit family in Las Vegas, but their parents ensured that the trip included a visit to him.

"It’s not unusual for them to have a home base here, to have family here in Las Vegas," he said. "So, a lot of times, they’re coming back to visit family one or two or more times a year, and they usually try to coordinate their trip so they can get their dental care at that time."

In April, a family from India flew in, and he tended their children. He also has patients who live in South America.

Some of the children’s parents are missionaries. They fly back from countries in the Far East and Africa.

Closer to home, Michelle Williams lives in Southern California, but her parents live in Summerlin.

While visiting them two years ago with her two children, Sidney, 6, and Lola, 3, her son needed to visit a dentist.

"It was the summer before his second year of preschool, and I was feeling really guilty about not taking him to the dentist yet, so we found the office and we took him there … They actually took Lola in at the same time; she was 2 at the time. She even let them count her teeth, which I was just amazed by because she’s a very shy child. He had me hold her and lean her back so she felt comfortable."

Brian and Lisa Hewitt have been taking their two sons, Spencer, 8, and Benjamin, 6, to Waggoner since they were 2. Benjamin is on the autism spectrum and has issues with light, smells and sounds. She said the staff is very accommodating about allowing parents to be in the room at all times.

"He’s amazing with them … my kids are really amazing at brushing their teeth because they don’t want to disappoint Dr. Waggoner," she said.

Not only do patients come from other countries, Wagggoner travels to international locations about four times a year, invited to give presentations at dentistry conferences. His latest was in March in Saudi Arabia. At that conference, the men sat on one side of the room, the women on the other. The woman wore burkas, as is the tradition there. The burkas covered their faces.

"To lecture to a bunch of people when you can only see their eyes was a difficult thing," he said.

Waggoner’s wife, Linda Ann, had to wear a burka when they were there.

Each time he speaks, he will invariably get a follow-up email from a dentist in the audience asking for his take on a case they have.

"They’ve sent along the X-rays," he said.

His next scheduled speaking engagement is in Mexico this fall.

Just like his international patients, he has patients who have moved to Park City, Utah, and Southern California but still travel to Las Vegas to see him.

"We see children with autism every day," he said. "We see three to four in a day … a 13-year-old almost as big as me who is very cooperative, but we have other children who won’t sit in a chair and scream the whole time. … We can always restrain a child for a brief time to get a look in their mouth .. we can offer general anesthesia (for procedures).

Waggoner has been in Las Vegas for 16 years. He has a second office at 6365 Simmons St., Suite 100, in North Las Vegas.

His daughter, Tesha, has caught the international travel bug. She and two other female dental school students went to Nepal to study tooth decay patterns in villages along the road to Mount Everest. Basically, their premise was that the villages that were along the trek toward the base camp would have a higher rate of decay because of the Westerners coming through.

As for Waggoner, he plans to speak in Cabo San Lucas this August. Out of the blue, he said, he’ll get another email asking him to be a guest speaker. He has been to China, Hong Kong, South Africa, Columbia and Russia, spending up to a week.

I’m like, " ‘Sure, I’ll lecture,’ I’ll do it for free," he joked.

Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at jhogan@viewnews.com or 387-2949.

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