When it comes to pediatric dentistry, every parent wants the best for their kids. Office visits should be free of fear and full of attentive, compassionate care. When a child has positive experiences from an early age and learns proper oral care and hygiene, they are setting themselves up for a lifetime of better health. Dr. Renuka Rao Bijoor of Briarcliff Pediatric Dentistry, an innovative leader in the field for over 30 years, believes that when kids start early, experience non-invasive, caring visits to the dentist, and understand how their mouth impacts the rest of their health, they’ll have better outcomes as they develop and grow.
Dr. Bijoor explained that “according to the American Dental Association, dental decay is the most common chronic condition in children. It’s about seven times more prevalent than asthma and this one condition is among the most preventable.” That is a driving force behind her practice’s goal of having children visit the dentist at an early age. They achieve this by starting visits at age 1, so that by 2 – 3, they consider Briarcliff Pediatric Dentistry their familiar dental home.
For the last 14 years, Dr. Bijoor has utilized laser dentistry to fix cavities without Novocain and drilling. Those types of procedures have the potential to be unpleasant and traumatic for children (and adults) so when a patient can leave the office without having a numb mouth after a shot and drilling, that is always a bonus. It’s nice for young patients to be able to get on with their day without a bad memory or lingering pain from the experience that could tarnish their entire view of visiting the dentist for years to come.
Laser dentistry is also used by Dr. Bijoor in procedures that release upper lip and tongue ties in the youngest patients to resolve early feeding issues. When habits are evaluated early and preventative measures are taken, children can sleep better. By establishing good oral habits in patients as young as 2 or 3 years of age, they have a strong template as their jaws grow. “Seventy to 80 percent of facial growth stops around age 9,” explained Dr. Bijoor, “so if you tackle any dysfunction early, you can avoid issues.” Knowing that ADHD and sleep apnea can be impacted by oral habits makes addressing pediatric dental issues essential to development.
In July of this year, Dr. Kathy Kim joined the practice. She trained at University of Pennsylvania and has been a pediatric dentist for over nine years. She started looking in Westchester four years ago, seeking out an office where she could learn laser dentistry in an environment that focuses on early preventative procedures and education. As a fellow advocate of providing patients with a roadmap to better habits and optimal oral health, Dr. Kim was drawn to this practice. She said she “Feels like everyone here treats me like family. Dr. Bijoor is a mentor to me now and the team here is great.”
Dr. Bijoor could not be happier to have her on board. She appreciates Dr. Kim’s dedication to modern, evidence-based dental practices and said, “she is a breath of fresh air and we were so lucky to get her. She’s gentle, patients love her, and as the mother of two young children, she has the perfect mindset to approach each patient with the utmost care.”
Briarcliff Pediatric Dentistry sets a high standard for pediatric oral health and they are doing what they can to spread the word. Dr. Bijoor and Dr. Kim both visit local daycares to provide information on what pediatric dentists do. With the help of presentations, puppets and songs, they enjoy engaging with kids in the community to highlight the importance of taking care of your teeth in a fun way the children can appreciate. Communication is key to making parents and patients feel comfortable. “It’s never ‘drill and fill,’” according to Dr. Bijoor, who believes it’s their job to, “address the cause and encourage prevention through proper oral hygiene practices.”
Dr. Bijoor’s experience spans three continents, which gives her a unique, holistic perspective on dental care. By learning from different professionals all over the world, she understands that at its core, dental health is a public health initiative. That realization led her to getting her executive master’s in public health and it ties everything together with her volunteer work with Columbia University’s Community DentCare’s school-based clinics and mobile dental care.
As they look towards the future, Dr. Bijoor and Dr. Kim are excited to continue their mission of promoting the importance of early and gentle pediatric dental care, ensuring that each child leaves their practice with a healthy smile and the peace of mind that they are empowered with the tools they need for healthy living.
Briarcliff Pediatric Dentistry
325 S Highland Ave Suite 102, Briarcliff Manor