Frequently Asked Questions
About Our Practice
Why should I visit My Town’s Little Dentist?
Our pediatric dentists and orthodontist are Board Certified or Board Eligible, and all have completed extra training in their various areas of expertise. Our office environment is bright and fun, and is designed with children in mind. Our goal is to create positive experiences that will stick with your child throughout his or her life.
What is special about your office?
We work hard to provide an atmosphere that makes families’ lives a little easier. Our staff is easygoing and professional, and can help you understand your insurance benefits. Our themed waiting area offers TV, video games, and even free beverages while you wait.
When should my child have his or her first dental checkup?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a first dental checkup no later than the first birthday. This visit is important in establishing preventive care and letting parents and caregivers know what to expect. It also give parents a “dental home” to ask questions and visit if a little one suffers trauma. We will do everything in our power to give your child a fun and successful first visit.
When do children lose their first baby tooth?
Most kids lose their first baby tooth at 6 or 7 years old, though this can vary somewhat by child. It is always a good idea to make sure your child’s dental health is progressing optimally, so we encourage you to stop by if you have any questions or concerns.
When should I start brushing my baby's teeth?
As soon as the first tooth comes in, you should start brushing it twice a day. Use a child-sized toothbrush and a tiny dab of non-fluoridated toothpaste. You can switch to a fluoride toothpaste once your child is old enough to spit. There are some other toothpaste options, come in to discuss.
What is laser dentistry?
Laser dentistry is a revolutionary new field that is transforming dentistry. In pediatrics, it is most commonly used to clean out cavities without shots, vibrations, or the sound of the drill. Because there is no numbing involved, children (and adults!) can resume normal activities right away.
How does the laser work?
Lasers have been in dental use for roughly 25 years, though they have exploded in popularity in the past decade. Dental lasers use light energy to cut, cauterize, and sterilize soft tissue. There is little bleeding and minimal risk for infection, and most people report reduced pain and faster healing.
Why should I choose My Town’s Little Dentist for my laser dentistry?
Our team is highly experienced with laser dentistry, more so than any other office in Long Island. Our outcomes are excellent.
Insurance & Payment Plans
What about insurance?
We are a preferred provider for many dental insurers, and we can work with nearly any dental plan. Most of our patients use dental insurance, so our office staff are experts at determining and explaining benefits and out of pocket costs.
Do you offer payment plans?
We participate with Care Credit, a healthcare financing option that offers various zero interest payment plans. We may also be able to offer in house financing on a case by case basis. We offer interest free payment plans for all orthodontic work. Our goal is always to treat children and families well, so we will work with you to develop a treatment plan and financing solution that meets your budget.
Why do baby teeth need to be fixed? Won’t they just fall out anyway?
Baby teeth hold healthy spaces open for the adult teeth to eventually emerge. They are also required for eating, and for your child’s appearance. In addition, infected or abscessed baby teeth can cause intense pain and even system-wide health problems.
Can you just pull a bad baby tooth?
Like permanent teeth, baby teeth can be pulled if they are too far gone to save. Like permanent teeth, though, this is always a last resort. If a baby tooth is lost too early, we will need to use a space maintenance appliance to hold open the space for the adult tooth. Otherwise, the adult teeth may become too crowded, requiring expensive orthodontic correction, or even become stuck and unable to emerge at all.
What is a stainless steel crown?
Stainless steel crowns are a relatively inexpensive way to repair a badly decayed back tooth in your child’s mouth. Stainless steel crowns can be fabricated for baby teeth in just one short visit. When the adult tooth is ready to emerge, the crowned tooth will fall out like any other baby tooth. We’ve heard a rumor that the tooth fairy sometimes pays extra for a crowned tooth…
Why stainless steel? Can you place a white crown instead?
In most cases, yes. Stainless steel is a simpler and less expensive option for baby teeth, but if you and your child prefer a white crown, this is generally possible. Please note that while stainless steel crowns are sometimes referred to as “silver” due to their color, they are NOT old-fashioned mercury amalgam crowns. They are made of pure, medical grade stainless steel.
Why choose My Town’s Little Dentist for my child's dental needs?
Our dentists, orthodontist, and staff members are specially trained in pediatric dentistry. Our dental lasers mean that the majority of treatments are completed without needles or drills. We are highly experienced, and are committed to providing the best possible experience for you and your child.
What happens if my child knocks out a baby tooth?
If your child knocks out a baby tooth, call our office immediately. Never attempt to put the tooth back in the socket yourself, as you could damage the permanent tooth behind it.
What if My Child knocks out an adult tooth?
Call our office immediately? Find and rinse the tooth, taking care not to touch the roots. Drop the tooth gently in a glass of milk and come in for an emergency visit. Most successful reattachments are performed within the first hour after the tooth is lost.
What if my child breaks an adult tooth?
Call our office for an emergency appointment, and bring the tooth fragment if you can find it. We will x-ray the tooth and create a treatment plan. In many cases, the tooth can be bonded in just one visit, restoring normal strength and appearance.
Why should I use My Town’s Little Dentist for my child’s dental emergency?
We are on call after hours, allowing you to speak directly to one of our dentists rather than an answering service. We are trained and equipped to handle most pediatric dental emergencies, and we have an extensive referral network if needed.
What is Xylitol and is it safe?
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that has become a popular alternative sweetener. It also maintains a health neutral pH in the mouth and reduces the risk for cavities by preventing bacteria from adhering to the tooth’s surface. In some cases, Xylitol is an excellent alternative to fluoride treatments.
Should I use a fluoride toothpaste for my child?
Generally yes, but it depends upon your specific child and several risk factors. Fluoride is an excellent way to minimize the risk for cavities. We can also perform additional fluoride treatments as well, depending on your child’s needs. Come in and ask your dentist.
Should I give my child a fluoride vitamin if we already use fluoride toothpaste?
Topical fluoride, such as that contained in toothpastes and fluoride treatments, protects the teeth that are currently in the mouth. Ingested fluoride, such as that contained in a vitamin, protects the adult teeth that have not yet emerged. Ask your dentist whether fluoride vitamins are recommended for your child.
What is a dental sealant?
A dental sealant is a strong coating that fills in the grooves and pits in the biting surfaces of the back teeth, sealing out food particles, bacteria, and dental plaque. Since these areas are difficult to fully clean with a toothbrush, a dental sealant reduces the risk for cavities.
When can my child get a dental sealant?
Dental sealants are most commonly applied to the back permanent teeth, and may be applied to the different molars as they emerge between the ages of 6 and 12. Sealants are not always used on baby teeth, but they may be recommended if your child is at high risk for cavities or if you as a parent wants to lower cavity risk even more.
If my child has a filling, can you also seal the tooth?
It depends. We cannot place sealant over a filling, but we can seal the healthy, remaining portion of the natural tooth. If the cavity is caught when it is small, we can seal virtually the entire tooth.
How long does dental sealant last?
Dental sealants can last for decades with impeccable oral hygiene. We will inspect the sealant at every visit and repair or replace it as needed. Keep in mind that although dental sealants reduce the risk for cavities, they do not fully eliminate the possibility. Your child must get regular cleanings and checkups twice per year.
Why should I have your team place my child’s dental sealant?
As pediatric specialists, we have far more experience with dental sealants than dentists who focus primarily on adults. We use the best, BPA free, sealant material available on the market.
My child has special needs and doesn’t do well in a dental chair. Do I need to bring him for regular checkups, or only if there is an issue?
Children with special needs deserve the same oral health as any other child. In fact, your child with special needs may actually need extra checkups, especially if she is unable to communicate any dental pain or other issues. It is always best to get your child as used to the dental chair as possible. We will work with you and your child to provide the best possible experience, even if this means scheduling extra time for each appointment.
Why do you recommend two checkups per year when my insurance only covers one?
We don’t let insurance companies dictate our standard of care. Instead, we follow the guidelines provided by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Two checkups per year allow us to give your child the best possible care, and to catch any emerging issues before they become severe.
Why would a child be sedated for dental treatment?
Please rest assured that we do not recommend sedation lightly. If we make this recommendation, it is because we feel that it is in the child’s best interest. Special needs, behavioral issues, and extensive treatment needs are the most common reasons for us to recommend sedation. We want to avoid causing any unnecessary trauma, and to ensure that your child feels safe when seeking dental treatment throughout her lifetime.
Why should I use your office for my child with special needs?
Dr. Postel and Dr Alyssa have extensive specialized training in dentistry for children with special needs, and our entire team is dedicated to providing these children with the best possible experience. When needed, we can even bring in a medical anesthesiologist to provide sedation in our own office. In short, we provide a higher level of care that is better for the child and easier on the family.
Why should I choose the orthodontist at My Town’s Little Dentist for my child’s orthodontic care?
Dr. Schecter has extensive training and experience in orthodontics as well as orthognathic surgery. He is extremely skilled in the latest techniques, and he coordinates closely with the pediatric dentists in our office for comprehensive care.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign uses a series of clear, medical grade, nearly invisible aligners to gently straighten teeth. The aligners are removable, allowing kids to eat their favorite foods and perform brushing and flossing as normal. However, Invisalign is not the right choice for everyone. Dr. Schecter will help you and your child decide which treatment option is best.
Why should I consider Invisalign over regular braces if the orthodontist gives me the option?
If your child is a candidate for Invisalign, it is well worth considering. Aesthetics, little lifestyle impact, and fewer orthodontist visits are among the top reasons for choosing Invisalign instead of braces.
Why do I see such young kids starting orthodontic treatments?
Some children require two separate phases of orthodontic treatment. The first phase may be to provide more space for the adult teeth to emerge or to take care of missing or extra teeth. Some appliances can only be used while the bones are still soft enough to manipulate. Later, after the adult teeth emerge, the child may still need braces or Invisalign.
What happens at my child’s initial orthodontic consultation?
The doctor will thoroughly examine your child, take photographs and X-rays, and diagnose any orthodontic issues. He will then develop a treatment plan that is specifically customized for your child’s needs.
How long does my child have to wear braces?
It depends. The average treatment time is generally 1 to 2 years. However, this can be impacted by the patient’s age, the complexity and severity of the orthodontic issues, and even compliance with appointments and home care.
What is a frenectomy?
There are two basic types of frenectomy: maxillary and lingual. Maxillary frenectomies release lip ties by removing some of the tissue that connects the upper gums to the front teeth. Lingual frenectomies release tongue ties by removing some of the tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. A frenectomy can improve feeding, speech, growth, and development, and can make orthodontic issues easier to treat.
Why would an infant need a frenectomy?
Infant frenectomies are generally performed to assist with problems with breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Freeing the lip and/or tongue can help the baby to properly latch. We recommend an evaluation by a lactation consultant to determine if a lip or tongue tie is the issue.
Why are dental lasers better than scalpels for soft tissue surgical procedures such as frenectomies?
A dental laser easily cuts through and cauterizes soft tissue. There is minimal bleeding, little or no scar tissue, and a far more rapid healing time.
Does a frenectomy hurt?
Most frenectomy patients need just minimal local anesthetic, sometimes supplemented by a bit of nitrous oxide (laughing gas). With our advanced laser technology, frenectomies are fast, easy, and virtually painless.
Why choose My Town’s Little Dentist for a frenectomy?
Our dentists are highly trained and experienced with dental lasers. This provides a much better and easier frenectomy than a traditional procedure performed with a scalpel.
What is a mouthguard?
As the name implies, a mouthguard is a device designed to protect the mouth from traumatic injury. Mouthguards are most commonly used for contact sports such as football, although the American Dental Association also recommends their use for non-contact sports with an elevated risk for dental trauma, such as gymnastics and cycling.
How much is a custom mouthguard and why is it better than an off the shelf or boil and bite guard?
Off the shelf mouthguards are not customized to the athlete in any way, and are often uncomfortable and badly fitted. Boil and bite guards provide some limited customization, as they are fitted to the shape of the mouth after purchase. However, custom mouthguards start at just $80 and are precisely fitted based on a mold of the child’s teeth. This precision fitting provides the most comfortable solution, as well as the best protection against injuries.
Can my child get a custom mouthguard if he or she wears braces?
Not only is this possible, but it is highly recommended. Off the shelf and boil and bite mouthguards are NOT recommended for kids with braces. We can not only shape a custom mouthguard to fit over braces, but we can actually create a track that allows for tooth movement.
How do you make a custom mouthguard?
We take impressions to create a dental mold of your child’s unique oral anatomy. He or she then chooses a mouthguard color. In approximately 2 weeks, your child will return to our office to try in the custom mouthguard and have any needed adjustments performed. We recommend that your child bring the mouthguard to all future appointments, so we can ensure that it still fits well and make any needed repairs or adjustments.
Why should I choose your office to make a custom mouthguard?
Dr. Postel is certified and experienced in sports dentistry. He genuinely enjoys creating custom mouthguards, and will make a mouthguard that is comfortable, well-fitted, and provides maximum protection for your child.
Diet and Nutrition
Can I give my child watered-down juice or soda throughout the day?
While there is nothing wrong with an occasional treat, even watered-down juice or soda should not be sipped throughout the day. These drinks bathe the teeth in sugar, increasing the risk for cavities.
Is my child at risk for cavities from breastfeeding?
Nursing before bedtime or throughout the night without brushing your child’s teeth raises the risk for cavities. Even in the middle of the night, you should always clean your child’s teeth after nursing with tooth wipes or a tiny dab of fluoride-free toothpaste on a child-sized toothbrush.