The time for the first dental visit comes “with a child’s first tooth or by their first birthday,” says Dr. Robert Goldsmith. A specialist in pediatric dentistry and owner of West Side Kids Dental, Robert Goldsmith, DMD, has been in practice at 41 West 72nd Street for 16 years. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he’s lived on the Upper West Side for some time.
Preventive care has defined pediatric dentistry over the past 20 years. The idea is to instill the importance of regular dental care among parents who can assist their children as they learn to take responsibility for their own dental care routines—something that happens around age 6. This may seem obvious, but it most definitely has been an area of neglect over the past two years where concerns about Covid have often preempted doctor and dentist visits. “It’s caused a lot of problems with cavities and pain,” says Dr. Goldsmith.
Preventive care including bi-annual fluoride treatments now have to be resumed for children. The treatment involves the annual application of a protection foam or cream to keep teeth strong and cavity-free.
Then with all the activities, responsibilities and tiredness that comes with being a new parent, tooth care needs to be addressed with preventive practices like remembering to wipe off a baby’s teeth after nursing or bottle feeding at night. Wiping prevents a child sleeping with a coating of milk on their teeth and is a precaution to prevent decay. Consumption of foods with a lot of sugar and foods that are dry or sticky and potentially can stick in the groves of teeth should be minimized to avoid damage to teeth. Flossing in between teeth is also extremely important.
Dr. Goldsmith recommends dental visits every 6 months for children without any special clinical conditions. But, of course there are many potential problems related to how teeth are growing. This may include teeth that overlap or protrude in ways that will affect a child’s speech and appearance. Almost all are correctable, particularly with early interventions.
Always from their earliest training, dentists are committed to minimizing pain. Going quite a few steps further, pediatric dentists like Dr. Goldsmith want to make visits to the dentist fun and enjoyable. We use balloons and magic tricks. “Anything that will make the visit fun.”
Dr. Goldsmith received his undergraduate degree in neuroscience and biology form Trinity college in Hartford, Connecticut and then his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree in 2004 at the University of Connecticut. During this period, he participated with other dental students on a trip to the Amazon in Southern Peru to treat children’s dental needs. “That decided me on pediatrics,” says Dr. Goldsmith. He then completed a two-year residency program in pediatric dentistry at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). He also obtained a Master of Dental Science from UMDNJ. He obtained his Pediatric Board Certification in 2010.
Now years later he complements his Upper West Side practice with annual visits to El Salvador and Ecuador with the Global Smile Foundation to treat children born with cleft lip and palate deformities.