Q & A w/ Dr. Dr. Craig Bair @ Bair Pediatric Dentistry
Let’s be honest, even for most adults, a trip to the dentist isn’t something we look forward to. Taking a child to the dentist can be even worse, and, for many of us, it is at our child’s dental appointments that we realize we need to be brushing better. As your kids get older and require more dental care, dental visits can be stressful. But what if you could find a dentist, orthodontist, and periodontist all in one office? Is it possible to cover all your child’s needs in one appointment? It sure is!
Dr. Craig Bair, owner of Bair Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Justin Bair, owner of Bair Orthodontics, and Dr. Daniel Bair, of Pocono Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, work together to create a one-stop shop for all of your children’s dental health needs…and yours too! Establishing a dental practice in their home town of Stroudsburg has always been a dream of the Bairs’, and they feel extremely fortunate to have the privilege to provide dental care to the many wonderful members of the community, including infants, children, teenagers, and individuals with special needs.
Q. Tell us about yourself, Dr. Bair. We know you’re not as scary as some children may think dentists are!
A. I was raised in Stroudsburg, and I am a proud alumnus of the Stroudsburg Area School District. My wife, Lauren, works as a Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist, and we are blessed to have a 5-year-old son, Ari, and a 3-year-old daughter, Ava. I graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology – Go Orange! I received my Doctorate Degree in Dental Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh and remained in Pittsburgh to complete a residency program in Pediatric Dentistry. Following my residency program, I became Board Certified and am a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.
In my spare time, I enjoy reading fiction thriller novels, playing tennis, following sports (particularly the Philadelphia Eagles and other Philadelphia sports teams), and spending quality time with family and friends.
Q. Bair Pediatric Dentistry is a family-friendly, stress-free office. What else can patients expect to find when arriving for the first time?
A. Upon first arriving, our pediatric or teenage patients should expect a warm welcome from our office staff and doctors. They will find a waiting room with toys to play with, books to read, and tablets to keep themselves occupied. Children should also be aware that their parents are invited back into the operatories during their visits. Once in the treatment room, I like to take some time to get to know my patients; I find it particularly important when treating children to build a rapport and establish a sense of trust to help reduce the anxiety some patients have during dental appointments. During the first visit, we also discuss each child’s medical history and provide parents with an opportunity to share any concerns or questions they may have regarding their child’s oral health.
Q. What are some important factors parents need to consider when selecting a dental office?
A. The most important factor when selecting a dental office for your child is to select a practice that places your child’s oral health and well-being as its number one priority. Other considerations often factor in, including practice location, office hours/availability, and personal financial considerations. At our office, we strive to provide the highest quality dental services while treating every patient with care and compassion, delivered in a relaxing setting. We also pay extra attention to parents’ concerns, tailor our treatment to each individual patient, and are honest and up front with our office philosophy.
Q. A child’s first dental appointment is an important milestone. When should regular dental visits become part of a child’s normal healthcare routine?
As advocated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and American Dental Association, I recommend the first dental visit occur when your child’s first tooth erupts or no later than 12 months of age. This allows for a thorough oral examination and the opportunity to provide insight and hands-on demonstrations on brushing and flossing at home. Your child’s dentist will discuss how diet contributes to getting cavities and will advise on teething, oral habits, and injury prevention. These early visits will allow children to become familiar with the dental team, the dental office, and various tools/equipment used during routine procedures.
Q. Getting kids of any age to brush correctly (or at all) can be a struggle for parents. Do you have any suggestions on how to make it easier?
A. From a position standpoint, standing/sitting behind your child allows for a more natural arm position when brushing, while allowing your non-dominant hand to help your child open. For toddlers, distraction and modeling often help. For example, try counting, singing a song, holding a favorite toy, watching something on a device, or listening to a song. Brushing at the same time as the parent is a great way to model good brushing. As your child gets older, it is important to emphasize the importance of brushing and also explain the consequences of not brushing. Trying different toothpastes or different toothbrushes can be helpful and make the experience more enjoyable.
Q. At what age can children be trusted to brush their teeth correctly by themselves?
A. Typically, children can start brushing all the necessary surfaces around 5 or 6 years old. For children younger than that, I recommend parents help their kids brush their teeth in the morning and at night. Parents should also expect to help their kids floss until at least that age as well.
Q. Visiting the dentist regularly is important to a child’s overall health. Can you explain how neglecting a child’s oral health can affect more than just the mouth?
A. Just as oral health is a component of general health, oral disease can have a major impact on overall health. If untreated, oral disease, such as cavities or periodontal (gum) disease, can lead to pain, infection, and loss of function. For kids, this can adversely affect eating/nutrition, learning, communication, and normal growth and development. Periodontal disease has been associated with cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Oral diseases can also increase the risk for problems with esthetics and a developing psyche, such as lower self-esteem and self-confidence.
Q. At what age do kids start requiring the help of an orthodontist?
A. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. While most children won’t begin active orthodontic therapy until adolescence, an early evaluation provides orthodontists with an opportunity to treat developing problems and guide jaw growth and permanent teeth into a more favorable position. This can prevent the need for more extensive treatment once permanent teeth are settled in the jaw.
Q. Your brother is an orthodontist and owner of Bair Orthodontics, correct? Can patients needing orthodontics be referred there seamlessly?
A. Correct. My older brother, Justin, is a Board Certified orthodontist. I find it incredibly beneficial and convenient for patients to have to such easy access to an orthodontic specialist. Dr. Justin and I work at the same office and are often available for treatment during the same hours, which allows your children to have their dental and orthodontic needs evaluated simultaneously, without the need for multiple appointments at different locations.
Q. What is the most common piece of advice you give parents regarding their children’s oral health?
A. It is important to implement a pattern of good home care for your child and offer a diet that reduces the risk of developing cavities. It’s easy to forget that cavities are not just based on how much sugar children eat/drink, but also on how long that sugar is on the teeth. Limiting drinks with sugar (including milk) to mealtimes only and encouraging children to drink only water in-between meals and at night is really helpful at reducing tooth decay.
Bair Pediatric Dentistry
Pocono Periodontics & Implant Dentistry
296 East Brown Street, Unit C
East Stroudsburg, PA 18301