With the name ‘family’ in its title, you might expect Park Family and Cosmetic Dentistry to serve the needs of children as well as adults. However, they do more than just serve needs, they pay special attention to their smallest patients, thanks in part to the pediatric specialties of Dr. Leanet Ascunce and Dr. Ana Scopu.
According to the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child should have their first dental visit by age one. Dr. Ascunce says, “It’s important to see your pediatric dentist by this age so that parents can be educated on how to keep their child’s oral health in tip-top shape. We teach techniques which can make brushing a baby and toddler so much easier for both the parent and the child.”
Dr. Ascunce’s aunt was a dental assistant and she would go to her office during school breaks rather than go home. She says, “At Park Family, our goal is to have our patients feel like they are family. Pediatric dentistry is the first exposure to good oral health. We want to make this experience as good as possible to shape a child’s view of the dentist as a positive one.”
Dr. Ana Scopu knows from personal experience how important that first impression is. She remembers hers saying, “I had 14 cavities, a root canal, AND I left with a scar on my lip.” She is dedicated to making sure that doesn’t happen to patients at Park Family.
Focusing in orthodontics, Dr. Scopu can see skeletal patterns forming in children very early from 2 years old and up. Some of these patterns can predict the eventual need for braces. Keeping an eye on the development of young patients during regular checkups allows her to plan ahead with parents on treatment plans.
She explains, “When children are eight and nine, their permanent premolars are coming in under the primary (baby) molars. There is a lot of hidden space underneath these baby molars. I always try to utilize this time to preserve as much space as possible, especially for young patients already having signs of crowding. This is why we start orthodontic consults as early as 8-9 years of age.”
Braces do much more than straighten teeth. Applying them when bones are still growing allows Dr. Scopu to subtly change the skeletal structure of the mouth and help prevent more serious problems from forming as an adult.
Park Family is the only dental practice in Naples to use Insignia Custom Braces, according to Dr. Scopu. Made individually for each patient, she says, “The system allows me to do a comprehensive analysis in the beginning. This will allow me to virtually visualize the final treatment outcome before we even place the braces. By doing this we can work out any expected problems before they even happen. This system also lets me use custom arch form wires with prebends, which gives us the best final visual result.”
In turn, the combination of custom braces and wires allows for a more predictable outcome and can shorten the amount of time a child wears braces by approximately six months. These braces are also smaller and more comfortable for the patient to wear.
Planning the First Appointment
When planning a child’s first dental appointment, Dr. Ascunce advises parents to, “Hype up the visit as lots of fun, with new and exciting adventures. Keep the dental terms friendly. Tell them we are going to brush their teeth and maybe take some pictures with our special dental camera.”
She says the best part is, “If they are good listeners, they will be rewarded with a prize from the treasure chest.” It’s important for a parent be positive and conscious of not transmitting their own fears to their children.
If you are looking for a dental practice with a staff that is attuned to the needs of children and committed to making their experience a positive one, call Park Family for an appointment.