Pediatric Dentistry

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We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the contact form below.

Office location:
New York
5 W. 71st Street
Corner Of Central Park West
New York, NY
Phone: 212-362-3360


Recommendations For Parents

Dental visits
Brushing and flossing
Mouth guards
Bike helmets
Focus on fluoride

Dental Visits

Regular dental visits are crucial to maintaining a healthy smile. Take your child to see the dentist by his or her first birthday. Although this may seem early to begin dental visits, the dentist can explain how the child's teeth should be cleaned at home, how diet and eating habits affect teeth and provide methods to ensure that sufficient fluoride is received.

During the first visit, the dentist will examine your child's mouth for tooth decay and growth or development conditions that may pose a problem in the future. The dentist will explain how to clean the child's teeth at home and methods to ensure your child gets the right amount of fluoride.

(Source: American Dental Association. Chicago. 1997)

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Brushing and Flossing

Brushing and flossing help remove harmful plaque bacteria. When choosing oral hygiene products, look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. The ADA Seal of Acceptance means the product is safe and effective for its intended use. The ADA reviews all advertising claims for any product bearing the Seal. Only those claims that can be supported by appropriate clinical and/or laboratory studies and scientific data are allowed.

A child-size brush will soft, rounded or polished bristles is recommended. Check your child’s toothbrush often and replace it when it is worn. Bent or frayed bristles will not remove plaque effectively and may injure gums. Begin daily brushing as soon as the child’s first tooth erupts. A pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used after the child is old enough not to swallow it. By age 4 or 5, children should be able to brush their own teeth twice a day with supervision until about age seven to make sure they are doing a though job. However, each child is different.

Your dentist can help you determine whether the child has the skill level to brush properly.

Proper brushing removes plaque from the inner, outer and chewing surfaces. When teaching how to brush, you may wish to stand behind the child and hold the brush to be certain that brushing is done properly.

By age seven, children should be able to brush alone. Flossing, however, is a more difficult skill to master. You may wish to floss the child’s teeth until he or she can do it alone. Show the child how to hold the floss and gently clean between teeth. At about age eight, the child should be able to floss under your supervision. If you’re unsure as to when your child no longer needs supervision while cleaning his or her teeth, check with your dentist.

Flossing removes plaque between the teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing should begin when any two teeth touch.

(Source: American Dental Association. Chicago. 1997)

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Thumb sucking

Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may use thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects on which to suck. It may make them feel secure and happy or provide a sense of security at difficult periods. Since thumb sucking is relaxing, it may induce sleep.

Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of the permanent teeth can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and tooth alignment. How intensely a child sucks on fingers or thumbs will determine whether or not dental problems may result. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs.

Children should cease thumb sucking by the time their permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Usually, children stop between the ages of two and four. Peer pressure causes many school-ages children to stop.

Pacifies are no substitute for thumb sucking. They can affect the teeth essentially the same way as sucking fingers and thumbs. However, use of the pacifier can be controlled and modified more easily than the thumb or finger habit. If you have concerns about thumb sucking or use of a pacifier, consult your dentist.

(Source: American Dental Association. Chicago. 1997)

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Click for larger image.Mouthguards prevent dental emergencies.

When a child begins to participate in recreational activities and organized sports, injuries can occur. Mouth protectors, also called mouthguards, are an important piece of protective face gear. You've probably seen mouth protectors used in contact sports, such as hockey, football or boxing.

Coaches and team members know that mouth protectors cushion blows that would otherwise cause broken teeth, injuries to the lips and face and sometimes even jaw fractures.

(Source: American Dental Association. Chicago. 1997)

What sports require a mouthguard?
Baseball, softball, ice hockey, soccer, football, gymnastics, track and field, handball, squash racquetball, tennis, lacrosse, rugby, martial arts, trick bicycling, skateboarding, wrestling, boxing, surfing, volleyball, roller-skating, ice skating, competitive swimming and diving, and any other activity in which you can hit your mouth or your mouth can be hit.

Ask Doctor Pat about custom and store-bought mouth protectors.

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A head injury: Not just a broken bone!

Broken bones can heal. But, often, a head injury can lead to death or permanent disability.

Every bicycle rider should always wear a helmet to prevent head injuries.

Each year, nearly 50,000 bicyclists suffer serious head injuries. Many never fully recover. It can happen to anyone.

Your child needs the protection that a good bicycle helmet provides.

How to get your child to wear a helmet:

  • Let your child help pick out the helmet. After all, he or she is the one who will be wearing it. Helmet straps may be difficult for young fingers. Help your child practice until he or she can buckle them easily.
  • Always insist your child wear the helmet. Anyone can get hurt anywhere.
  • When you ride together, wear your own helmet. Your own good example can make a big difference in encouraging your child to ear one.
  • Praise and reward each time he/she wears it. Your youngster may feel strange at first; take away some of the discomfort with words of support.
  • Begin the helmet habit with the first bicycle. Then, it’ll become a natural habit as your child grows.
  • Encourage other parents to buy helmets. Making helmets common is the best way to eliminate the discomfort of being “different”.

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Prevent paintball injuries from hitting home

If you decide to let your child play paintball, here are some tips to reduce the risk of serious injury:

1) Players should wear eye protection devices (EPDs) that are specifically designed for paintball and meet the ASTM F1776 standard.

  • EPDs that are not designed for paintball could be dislodged, or the lens/visor could be shattered or knocked into the eye.
  • Players should never remove their EPD during a game. Many players have been hit in the eye while removing their mask to wipe off paint or clear up fogging.
  • Paintball EPDs with the Protective Eyewear Certification Council (PECC) logo were tested by an independent laboratory and meet the ASTM F1776 standard.

2) Play at an insured commercial paintball field that voluntarily folllows the ASTM F1777 standard for proper paintball field operation.

  • Written parental consent should be required for anyone under 18 years of age.
  • Proper barriers (such as netting) should separate the playing field from the spectator/rest area.
  • Except during play on the field, barrel plugs should be used at all times to prevent markers from accidentally discharging.
  • Area should be designated where EPDs must be worn at all times.
  • Fully automatic markers never should be used.
  • Paintballs should not be fired at over 300 feet per second, and this is measured by a chronograph on site. (There have been reports of concussions.)
  • Referees should be present and able to enforce the rules, especially EPD use.

2004 American Academy of Pediatrics

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Focus on Fluoride

Children who receive a balanced diet will get the nutrients they need with one possible exception – fluoride. Fluoride is vital for strong, decay-resistant teeth. Fluoride is one of the most effective elements for preventing tooth decay. This mineral combines with tooth enamel to strengthen it against decay. Fluoride may also reverse microscopic cavities by enhancing the process in which minerals, including calcium, are incorporated into the teeth.

The most effective way for your child to get fluoride’s protection is by drinking water containing the right amount of the mineral, (about one part fluoride per million parts water). This is a special benefit to children, because fluoride is built into the enamel as teeth form. Children who from birth drink water containing fluoride have up to 50 percent fewer cavities. Many of them remain cavity free through their teens.

Although it is beneficial for a child to brush with a fluoride toothpaste, children under age six should be supervised to avoid swallowing toothpaste. Use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the child's brush. Children should be taught to spit out remaining toothpaste and rinse with water after brushing.

Before you give your child any vitamin or supplement that contains fluoride, check with your dentist to see if one is needed. Based on your dentist's assessment of your family's oral health, the use of additional fluoride-containing products may or may not be recommended.

(Source: American Dental Association. Chicago. 1997)

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