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 were pleased that a recent article in the NY Times titled "Defending Your Children's Teeth (and Dentists): The Value of Sealants" mirrored many of our sentiments about the benefits of dental sealants.
Sealants are generally placed on the molar teeth. These teeth are often characterized by deep grooves and pits that are susceptible to getting food, small particles and bacteria stuck on their surfaces. To help protect these teeth from decay, dental sealants can be placed shortly after these teeth erupt into the mouth. A dental sealant is a material that bonds to the deep grooves on teeth, leaving the chewing surface smoother and easier to keep free of food debris and plaque.
The NY Times article discussed two different types of sealant material, resin-based and glass ionomer. At Ferguson Dental Associates we use a glass ionomer sealant. We have found that these sealants are easier to place successfully on the teeth and tolerated better by many of our patients. They can be placed with less isolation, shorter setting time and penetrate into the pits and grooves well. An added benefit of the glass ionomer sealants is a lasting fluoride release that has been shown to continuously release fluoride at the site of application for up to 24 months. This means that the sealants are not just a physical barrier on the tooth, but also strengthen the tooth and make it more resistant to secondary caries. Sealants typically last 3-5 years, but if and when they do fall off, the tooth structure under the sealant is stronger because of the fluoride release. We guarantee sealants for 24 months after application. At your child's subsequent cleaning appointments we will continue to assess the integrity of sealants and reapply as necessary.
Sealants are normally placed by your child's hygienist, following a dental cleaning and exam. We strongly believe that sealants are a great preventative measure against tooth decay, and, as always, we are happy to answer your individual questions about sealants at your next office visit.
From the New York Times
Feeling Guilty About Not Flossing? Maybe There’s No Need
This is a good article that highlights many of the issues relevant to dental x-rays. A few thoughts:
1. X-rays provide valuable diagnostic information. X-rays have always allowed dentists to identify issues such as cavities, gum disease and developmental dental problems at a point where they can be successfully treated with minimal and conservative dental treatment.
2. Radiation should be avoided in all forms, and dental x-rays must always be used only after evaluating the cost vs. benefit to the patient. All professionals should follow ALARA guidelines or As Low As Reasonably Achievable. But, it is important to have perspective when evaluating the radiation associated with dental x-rays to the typical background radiation experienced by all of us on a daily basis. A day at the beach or a flight from New York to LA will expose a person to significantly more radiation than patients will experience in a dental office. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/pdf/safety-xray.pdf
3. Beyond this, Ferguson Dental is committed to providing patients with the safest, most advanced technology available. Digital dental x-rays expose patients to a 1/5th of the radiation experienced from film x-rays, and we have provided digital dental x-rays for our patients for over 20 years. Additionally, our new extra-oral x-ray machine provides us with the option of ultralow dose panoramic x-rays and ct scans. This technology provides, again, significantly lower radiation dose x-rays compared to film panoramic x-rays or medical CT scans. Using our advanced technology, we are able to see more with less radiation than conventional full mouth radiographic imaging.
4. Most importantly, we work with every patient and parent to assess individual disease risk before determining the proper interval of dental x-rays. We are committed to minimizing radiation dose while also maintaining dental health.
5. Choosing dental care based upon what dental insurance will cover is not advisable and that approach is not found at Ferguson Dental. We recommend and implement dental protocols on an individual basis given the specific needs of every patient. We are absolutely committed to your dental and overall health. Please always feel free to ask us more about any issue that concerns you!
Got too much leftover Halloween Candy? Please consider donating your extra Halloween Candy for a Cause!
As partners in your child’s dental health, the staff at Ferguson Dental Associates would like to help get the extra Halloween candy out of your house and away from your child’s teeth! This year, instead of throwing it away, consider putting the treats to good use by participating in Ferguson Dental’s first Halloween Candy for a Cause.
For every child that drops off their leftover candy, Ferguson Dental will donate $10 to the Human Needs Food Pantry. Money donated to the Food Pantry is used to provide healthy food to many individuals and families in need in our community. Ferguson Dental will donate up to $2000, so please encourage your children and friends to stop by.
The collected candy will be donated to Operation Gratitude, which will ship it to our troops overseas.
Bags can be dropped off at Ferguson Dental Associates at 177 Gordonhurst Avenue during regular office hours through November 9th. All donations are welcome, you do not need to be a patient to participate.
Common Dental Dangers for Teens
Guest Blog Post by
Mira Linaugh, Student Intern
Oral care is not just for young children and adults. Dental dangers that are most often targeted at teens can cause big problems in the future, but can be avoided through proper care!
- Coffee, sugary candy, and junk food- For teens in particular, poor nutrition can cause permanent oral health issues. High sugar consumption over an extended period of time causes plaque bacteria to produce acids that decay the enamel of your teeth. To avoid damage and decay, avoid high-sugar and sticky foods and always floss and brush thoroughly.
- Braces- Many teens get braces for a few years to correct the alignment of their teeth or an improper bite. Braces can make it more difficult to clean your teeth and allow for food to get stuck in hard-to-reach places. It’s recommended that you try to floss or brush every time after eating to avoid decay and white spots on the teeth, and see your dentist for cleanings more frequently.
- Wisdom teeth- These usually come into the mouth around the ages of 17 to 21. They can cause problems such as crowding, pain, decay, infection, and pericoronitis. Regular visits to the dentist are important in order to identify any problems with wisdom teeth through x-rays before they become severe. Removing wisdom teeth is a common dental procedure for teens.
- Contact sports- For anyone who plays contact sports, the use of mouthguards is necessary during all practices and games. Studies have shown that athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer harm to their teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. Discuss with your dentist the right mouthguard for you. If a mouth injury does occur during physical activity, contact your dentist for specific advice or emergency care.
- Eating disorders- Improper nutrition negatively affects all areas of the body, especially the mouth. For people with bulimia, stomach acid erodes the enamel of the teeth and can cause yellowing and shortening. If you suffer from an eating disorder, it is important to seek counseling and talk to your health care provider. A dentist can often identify early signs of a negative impact of poor diet on your dental health. It is important to be honest and communicate with your dentist to avoid permanent dental problems.
- Smoking, e-cigarettes, hookahs, and smokeless tobacco- Beyond the well-known risks of smoking, these behaviors can be specifically detrimental to a teen’s dental health. Cigarettes, along with the new “healthier” alternatives to cigarettes, expose people to dangers like nicotine addiction, tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease, and various oral cancers. Studies at the NYU College of Dentistry have shown that the newly popular e-cigarettes can cause periodontal bacteria to become more pathogenic, which causes periodontal disease. Alternatives to conventional cigarettes have not been researched for extended time periods because they are so new, but initial findings have suggested similar risks and should be avoided in the same manner as cigarettes.
by Mira Linaugh, Student Intern
The ADA recommends that parents bring their children to the dentist soon after their first tooth comes in and no later than the child's first birthday. These early visits are informal and often occur as a child accompanies and older sibling or parent. We recommend that parents schedule their children’s first independent appointment before his or her third birthday. Even as a toddler, care and upkeep of primary teeth is integral to future oral health.
What to expect from a first visit to the dentist:
The Ferguson Dental Associates office is a very 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 for 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 often occurs over several consecutive office visits.
Our dentists and hygienists frequently visit elementary schools to teach young students about oral health. They aid children in learning the importance of a healthy smile and the correct techniques of brushing and flossing. This dental education promotes good habits that will last a lifetime!
Dr. David Ferguson (Baltimore, 1996)
Hygienist Geralyn Caughey in 2014
In a recent New York Time’s article Anahad O’Connor discussed the possible benefits of “Sucking Your Child’s Pacifier Clean.” The article states,
“For years, health officials have told parents not to share utensils with their babies or clean their pacifiers by putting them in their mouths, arguing that the practice spreads harmful germs between parent and child. But new research may turn that thinking on its head. In a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, scientists report that infants whose parents sucked on their pacifiers to clean them developed fewer allergies than children whose parents typically rinsed or boiled them. They also had lower rates of eczema, fewer signs of asthma and smaller amounts of a type of white blood cell that rises in response to allergies and other disorders.”
The ADA quickly responded,
“The ADA wants parents to be aware that licking a pacifier can transfer the cavity-causing bacteria from parents to children—increasing the possibility of tooth decay as they grow....Sharing eating utensils with a baby, or the parent sucking on a pacifier to clean it, can also increase the likelihood of transmitting decay-causing bacteria.”
Dr. Ferguson’s take on the issue? He has three children that used pacifiers when they were young, and the pacifiers honestly weren’t boiled every time they dropped on the floor. But, it is important to note that the environment of every mouth is not the same. If a parent has good dental hygiene sharing utensils is less potentially harmful than if a parent has significant decay and disease. Germs and bacteria are easily spread to our children through all normal family activities. Keeping your child free of cavities and other oral infections is easier when you’re keeping your mouth healthy as well.
Learn more about Sesame Street’s Oral Health initiative Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me at www.sesamestreet.org/teeth
Good dental hygiene Isn’t just about a pretty smile, it is important to your heart’s health! Ferguson Dental recommends routine dental visits for adults and children at least every six months.
The Heart of the Matter
By C. CLAIBORNE RAY
Q. Are oral plaque, coronary vessel plaque and eye plaque the same substance?
A. Coronary plaque and eye plaque are directly related, while oral plaque is a different entity, said Dr. Holly S. Andersen, director of education and outreach for the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
The kind of plaque that causes atherosclerosis is “a soft, yellow, greasy gruel that is made up of a combination of cholesterol, fat and inflammatory cells that circulate in your bloodstream,” Dr. Andersen said. It can rupture and cause a heart attack or stroke.
Eye plaque is a cholesterol-filled embolus, or bubble, that breaks off from an atherosclerotic plaque elsewhere and lodges in a small blood vessel in the retina. “It shows that you have significant plaque buildup and have already had a partial plaque rupture,” Dr. Andersen said.
Oral or dental plaque, also yellow, is a film made up of colonies of bacteria, proteins, sugars and salts, she said. Excessive buildup allows for acid production, which can lead to tooth decay, gum inflammation, and tooth loss.
Studies link poor dental hygiene to higher risks of heart disease, Dr. Andersen said. The explanation probably has to do with inflammation produced by the plaque, which is known to contribute to atherosclerosis, and possibly with direct damage from the bacteria and toxins released into the blood.
C. CLAIBORNE RAY
This year Ferguson Dental Associates’ staff visited over 690 students in 31 local classrooms. It was our 13th year visiting students in kindergarden through first grade, and this year we also visited 2nd through 6th grade classrooms. At every visit we stress the importance of a healthy diet and caring for your teeth. What to expect when you visit a dentist is also presented. Did we visit your child’s school? If not contact our office to schedule a visit next year during National Childrens’ Dental Health Month!
From the New York Times 10/20/2012
OCTOBER 20, 2012
Your Assignment for Today: Chew Gum
By EZEKIEL J. EMANUEL
Our office suggests sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol especially to cavity prone patients. Chewing sugar-free gum has been shown to reduce cavities and plaque.
Check out the articles below on how to keep your mouth healthy beyond flossing and brushing daily.
From the ADHA website http://www.adha.org/ndhm/index.html -
Brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day remains a critical component to maintaining a healthy smile. Studies have shown that brushing for two minutes is perhaps the single most important step an individual can take to reduce plaque build-up and the risk of plaque-associated diseases, such as cavities and gingivitis.
Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach — under the gumline and between your teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended.
Let’s face it, getting into a routine of regular flossing is probably the greatest home care challenge for our patients. Studies have revealed that only 16% of 961 periodontal patients followed over an eight-year period, complied with the recommended maintenance schedules. The results of these studies are an excellent example of how different our perceived ideal can be from clinical reality. Any product or technique that can demonstrably make flossing easier will be more likely to make it actually happen! There are many different types of floss (besides waxed or unwaxed) with different thicknesses, filaments, and coatings. They are available at most dental trade shows; try them in your own mouth. If a patient is resistant to flossing, find out why. Explore probable causes of the problem, and suggest several products which might help.
For proper flossing instructions please click here.
Rinsing your mouth each day with an anti-microbial mouth rinse is another important step in preventing the gum disease known as gingivitis. Speak with your dental hygienist for more information on which mouth rinse is right for you.
Chewing sugar-free gum after eating is clinically proven to be an important part of good oral health. It stimulates the most important natural defense against tooth decay - saliva - which, in turn helps fight cavities, neutralize plaque acids, remineralize enamel to strengthen teeth and wash away food particles.
Research from around the world has now shown conclusively that chewing sugarfree gum has many oral health benefits. When chewing is incorporated into the daily oral healthcare routine, especially after eating and drinking, it positively affects oral health.
Many people don't know about the scientific evidence supporting the use of sugarfree gum, here are the hard facts.
Another great article on sugar-free gum and caries prevention from the ADHA website...