Imagine looking forwarrd to going to the dentist. Not because you enjoy the feeling of pain—like that guy in “Little Shop of Horrors”—but because it is a place of comfort and ease.
Briarcliff Pediatric Dentistry, which is located across the street from the Ossining’s Arcadian Shopping Center at 325 South Highland Avenue (Rt. 9) in Briarcliff Manor, teaches children that the dentist is not someone to fear in fact going can be a whole lot of fun.
Dr. Renuka Rao Bijoor, who leads the practice, is a board certified pediatric dentist who started her career as an oral surgeon in her native India. She is an assistant clinical professor at the Columbia College of Dental Medicine and is also affiliated with Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow.
Her technical skills mixed with her role as a mother have helped to create an atmosphere that is friendly and inviting to youth. She even offers different age appropriate waiting rooms so that the tween and teenage patients do not have sit with the toddlers.
The main reason that Dr. Bijoor is able to offer such a positive experience for her patients is because her focus is on prevention. While the old philosophy was to start bringing a child to the dentist when he or she reached 3 years old, she actually follows the American Pediatric Dentistry Association’s recommendation to start visits at age 1.
“Often by age 3 the child may already have cavities,” Dr. Bijoor said. “Then we have to start out our relationship with the child on a negative basis, by having to fix the cavities. By starting earlier we also get the child used to coming in for exams. They should be coming in six months after the first tooth comes in or by age 1 whichever comes first.”
“Many parents do not understand that when the first tooth comes in it is time to start brushing,” she added. “If you prevent things from the beginning a person can go through life without any major cavities.”
Once a child starts to visit the dentist, they should have a follow up visit every six months and have annual x-rays. “We recommend bringing them back in every six months because the mouth is constantly changing as a child is growing,” Dr. Bijoor stated. “Otherwise you do not address a problem until it starts and untreated cavities can land a child in the emergency room with pain and swelling.”
After a child starts losing their baby teeth, which typically starts in between ages 6 and 8, the dentist then is monitoring how the adult teeth are coming in and whether there will be any orthodontic issues. “Addressed early orthodontic work can be less extensive and less expensive,” she explained. Current studies show that a child should have an orthodontic screening in between the ages of 6 and 10. Dr. Bijoor has a board certified orthodontist on staff so patients can get all of their work done within one office.
Dr. Bijoor is the only pediatric dentist in the region who has Waterlase laser technology which is used in place of a drill to fix dental issues such as cavities typically without the use of an anesthetic. “This is a great tool for children with dental issues or those children who have special needs,” Dr. Bijoor said. “We use a laser light and a gentle spray of water to be able to take care of cavities and damaged teeth as well as gum and soft tissue issues in the mouth without the need for an anesthetic.”
“It does not make the noise of a drill and you do not feel that pressure,” she stated. Children are able to get up afterwards and go back to their normal routine.
The laser is so safe and effective that Dr. Bijoor has used it on a newborn that had a hard time latching onto the breast to eat. After using the laser on the soft tissue under the tongue the child was immediately able to latch on.
Another way Dr. Bijoor helps reduce the anxiety and trauma for a child is through the use of hospital dentistry. “Very few pediatric dentists can offer this, but I am affiliated with Phelps hospital, so if I see a child that has such extensive dental decay or tooth damage that they are not going to be able to sit through the treatment I can arrange for us to do the work in the operating room,” she said. “By being able to sedate them and allow them to sleep, I can provide good dentistry while avoiding long traumatic dental procedures for a child.”
“I do not want my patents to associate my office with pain,” Dr. Bijoor stated. “I want them to come in skipping; ready to get their exam and their teeth cleaned.”
For more information, visit www.briarcliffpediatricdentistry.com or call 914-762-4151.