Our office is a relaxed, family-oriented environment which accommodates the anxieties and needs of young patients. Aside from the kid-friendly office that features a fish tank, colorful toys and magazines, and fun prizes, the staff is committed to making the experience fun and stress-free for each child.
A child’s first visit is focused on meeting the office staff, getting comfortable in the office environment, and having a positive experience. As our hygienist Geri Caughey explains, “It is a great feeling to be a part of a child’s first dental visit. Many children arrive fearful, but by the end of their visit they are so proud of their smile! They can’t wait to tell family members and teachers about what a great experience they had at the dentist.” Our youngest patients can expect to have a “ride in the chair”, have their “teeth counted” while Dr. Ferguson or Dr. Joseph complete a quick exam, and receive a short talk on brushing and taking care of their teeth. Following the first visit, it is suggested that parents schedule follow-up appointments every six months.
Parents can expect our staff to check their child for early signs of decay or developmental problems, as well as answer any questions they might have. Hygienists will also explain exactly how to care for young teeth through brushing and flossing. It is important to know that our hygienists and dentists are experienced with hesitant and fearful patients. Our staff is prepared and committed to patiently work with the child and family towards a positive experience. This process of trust-building may occur over several consecutive office visits.
Children are special to us, and their dental needs, from toddlers to teens, vary widely. Our goal is to foster the growth of children who are prepared to maintain healthy teeth for a lifetime. We have developed a series of age-appropriate protocols for children as they pass through the many developmental stages between their first dental visit (usually between ages two and three) and adulthood. These guidelines are flexible and can be adapted to the needs of each child.
Dr. Jessica Joseph's daughter recently visited the office for her first official dental visit!
We find that the more information people have about conditions or treatment, the less anxious and more in control they feel. Often, a simple conversation can ease fears and reduce anxiety. Our doctors are available for consultation and are always happy to discuss your concerns and treatment. Patients can expect full explanations of planned dental treatment and will also be provided with information concerning appropriate pain relief medication and strategies.
2. Oral anti-anxiety medications:
For some patients, information is not sufficient to ease their fears. For more profound relaxation, oral medications to reduce anxiety can be given to patients prior to your appointment.
3. Nitrous oxide:
Sometimes known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a gas that is administered with oxygen through a small nose piece and requires you to breathe normally through your nose. The advantages of nitrous oxide are that it works rapidly and produces a feeling of relaxation and can diminish pain sensation. The effects are instantaneous, unlike oral sedatives (pills), the gas can be switched off and its effects are removed. There are no lasting side effects and you can resume all normal activities, including driving, after the procedure is completed. For patients with procedures involving the gums (scaling and root planning, deep cleanings) that feel uncomfortable, nitrous oxide can make the treatment more tolerable with or without the need for local anesthesia.
4. IV sedation:
Dr. Ferguson has successfully partnered with Dr. Glen Atlas, a board certified anesthesiology physician, to provide safe in office sedation for the last 10 years. This option is offered to patients who require extensive procedures or exhibit extreme dental phobia. In these situations, Dr. Ferguson treats patients while in-office sedation is safely administered and monitored by Dr. Atlas. Dr. Atlas is a full Anesthesiology Professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and more information is available through Dr. Atlas’ website. Dr. Ferguson is also available to answer any dental anxiety or sedation questions you may have by calling the office at 973-744-3181.