Name - DR. NIDHI TANEJA Location- Orange County, CA Occupation- Pediatric Dentist Website- www.nurturesmiles.com
What inspired you to become a pediatric dentist?
I was always interested in healthcare because I wanted to feel empowered about my own health. Through dentistry we focus on a very special area of our body, which in the oral cavity. Our teeth are not just important for chewing, digesting and framing our face, but also a vital part of our self esteem. A healthy and beautiful smile helps us be more confident influencing positive first impressions. Helping children develop good habits of tooth brushing and eating healthy diet can eliminate most of the long term problems in dentistry, which can get expensive, both physically and emotionally. Thus I love working with children in their most formative years to help them have a lifetime of good oral health. My goal is to empower parents with techniques to overcome toothbrushing and picky eating battles with mindfully connecting with their children.
What are important considerations parents should make when deciding their children's dentist?
Teeth are the strongest substance in our body and are meant to last for a lifetime. It is important for parents to understand that going to the dentist does not have to be scary experience for them or their children. Choosing the right dentist early, who focusses on prevention and minimal invasive techniques will help their child have positive experience at the dentist. Proper oral health education and support on the journey is the key to help children be cavity-free for life. My recommendation is to find a dentist where you feel that you are heard and your child is treated with gentleness and compassion. Your dentist should be one step ahead of your child's specific needs, help you identify the root cause of any problems, and helps you understand how to navigate those challenges early on.
How can parents help their children with going to the dentist?
1- first dental checkup by 1st birthday (early intervention),
2- regular oral care at home (building a routine),
3- learning the right technique of brushing & flossing (efficiency)
What brings you joy?
It brings me utmost joy to transform a child's dental fear and anxiety so they feel confident and excited to come back next time. I often see children that are referred to me for advanced behavior techniques and sedation. When I am able to spend time with the family to discuss alternatives, and treat the child with non invasive techniques it really builds a connection with the child where he/she feels safe. Now it is not always the case, but it happens more often than not.
What is the best advice you received?
"The better you get at behavior management, the less you are going to use sedation in your practice". Pediatric dentistry is unique since it is not just treating a child's teeth, but the whole little body & mind with those teeth. My focus is always to work with a child such that it is psychologically a positive experience for a child. Most of our fears in childhood can be resolved with connecting and understanding the child. As a functional dentistry advocate, I focus on the child's mental health in addition to dental health.
How do you practice self care?
From a very young age, I have been practicing meditation. I call myself a Mindful Pediatric dentist because I utilize my learnings from mindfulness practices to help children experience calm and fun experience at the dentist. My self-care practice includes aromatherapy, music therapy and cooking nourishing meals as a routine for myself, which also helps me translate those to my practice.
What do you wish for your patients?
I wish for a world of no cavities. Dental decay is the number one preventable chronic disease of childhood. It is six times more prevalent than asthma. I wish to change the paradigm of dentistry to be more prevention focussed and it will start with parents being empowered with the right tools to implement home care for their children.