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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

“Dr. Jenny“: Teaching Kids to Brush, Floss and Love the Dentist

Oct 02, 2014 04:19AM ● By Natasha Michaels and CJ Golden

Dr. Jenny Federman knew from a very young age that her calling was pediatric dentistry. “Ever since I was 4 or 5 years old, when people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always, ‘I want to be a dentist for children’, ” she says. Federman’s love of the niche profession began with her own very bad teeth and excellent experience with her pediatric dentist in Manhattan, where she grew up. “I enjoyed going because she gave out amazing sugar-free lollipops,” she recalls with a laugh. “I don’t remember any pain.”

That positive childhood experience set the standard for Federman’s own practice in Brookfield since 1996. Focused on providing children with good dental experiences and helping them establish good dental hygiene habits, Federman’s mission is to make sure every child grows up happy to go to the dentist.

“Children have to eat their entire lives. If they’re traumatized as children and don’t take care of their teeth, it will have a lifelong impact not only on their dental health, but their overall health and wellbeing,” she explains. Federman and her dental hygienist run a low-key office where the emphasis is on taking the time needed for each child to be completely comfortable with the procedures being performed. Federman has strong feelings about sedation for children. “Putting a child to sleep should always be the last resort, not the first,” she says.

So that sedation is not necessary, she employs relaxation techniques such as aromatherapy and music, as well as an anesthetic warmer so when she does need to use novocaine, the substance is felt less since it’s already body temperature. “I have a way of doing things so they never see the needle and barely feel anything,” she says. “I also don’t rush. Whether it’s one tooth or more, I take all the time the child needs. That can mean the difference between a good or scary trip to the dentist for a child.”

On the controversial subject of fluoride, Federman says, “Fluoride is an incredible element that is very dangerous when it’s overdosed. Swallowing it in any quantity is a problem. We do use fluoride treatments but we take great care to ensure that kids don’t swallow any of it.”

Federman works on infants as young as a week old as well as young adults heading off to college. She says one of the fun parts of her job is watching her young patients grow. “Some of the kids started with me when they were three years old and now they’re leaving for college!” Her goal is to ensure they have learned from her how to care for their teeth as they head off for their new start. “If they have a strong basis and develop good habits as young children, then they’ll go off to college with less chance of coming home with a mouthful of cavities,” she says. Oral hygiene instruction – including brushing and flossing practice – is a large part of each hour-long visit.

Federman works with most insurance companies as an out-of-network provider. She says most companies pay 100 percent or just under for cleanings, so the out-of-pocket cost to her patients for routine care is low.

Dr. Jenny Federman is director of Children’s Dental Care, located at 60 Old New Milford Rd, Ste 1D in Brookfield. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 203-745-2489 or visit ChildrensDentalCareCT.com. See ad, page 6.

Natasha Michaels is a contributing writer to Natural Awakenings Fairfield County.