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.
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!
This fall, Dr Joseph has enjoyed visiting many local preschools and elementary schools in support of October’s National Dental Hygiene Month.
During her visits Dr. Joseph reviews the importance of good oral hygiene with our community’s youngest residents. Her interactive discussion familiarizes children with what to expect in a typical check up appointment at the dentist and the importance of good oral health. The students are able to see many of the instruments that their dentist or hygienist will be using at their appointment as the presentation demonstrates these activities utilizing our loyal puppet, Mr. Chops. In office teeth cleaning, as well as how to have a proper tooth brushing at home, are reviewed along with the benefit of a healthy diet. The dangerous potential of “Sugar Bugs” to harm healthy teeth is discussed along with how damage can be avoided with careful brushing and flossing.
At the end of the visit, students are given a special goody bag with a toothbrush, floss and toothpaste. Our goal is to educate children of all ages about optimal oral health, and demystify what happens at a typical dental appointment. Hopefully, this fun presentation is just the start of a greater conversation in each child’s home about the importance of good oral health. Ferguson Dental Associates is committed to community dental education and promoting healthy dental habits. If you would like Dr. Joseph or another staff member of Ferguson Dental Associates to visit your child’s school, please contact our office at 973-744-3181.
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
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!
Our staff is gearing up to celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month in February and brought their children to work to take a few photos for educational materials and ads we’re working on. Dr. Ferguson and his staff will be visiting local schools to discuss oral health care with students throughout the month.
Pictured above is our fantastic staff and their adorable children!
Below is Dr. David Ferguson with his grandparents,
Dr. and Mrs. Richard Ferguson, and two of his three children.