First impressions make a difference, especially for kids going to the dentist. It’s the appointment you hope goes smoothly—you want them to be excited to take care of their teeth, feel comfortable, and leave happy to return. That’s why the approach at DFC Smiles, a pediatric dental office in Clifton, NJ is one where the child comes first in every way. Dr. Hassam Sultan and his team, which includes his wife Sonia, understand this better than anyone. Through their efforts in their personal philosophy, office decor, extensive practice, including orthodontics that grows with your child, and expertise (and being one of the only dental practices treating children with special needs), they truly make their practice a child’s “dental” home. Here’s what makes them stand out from others.
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A personalized treatment where patients are family at DFC Smiles pediatric dental office
For patients who come for the first time, Dr. Sultan wants them to know they will have a personalized experience that feels friendly and familiar. “We offer a plethora of treatment options for kids, with recommendations I’m comfortable providing. I want kids to have modalities to help them and not feel forced, so they leave smiling,” says Dr. Sultan. And that means making the patient experience one that ensures each patient leaves healthier than when they came in.
“In our exam, I go tooth by tooth and take the time to discuss everything and go over any concerns or doubts they have,” he says. The focus is on prevention, early detection, and treatment of dental diseases. And to make the experience a comfortable and painless one for very young kids who can’t sit long in a chair, there’s a dental anesthesiologist on staff to help with IV sedation. It’s an option for worried parents because the procedure can happen in a single visit, instead of coming back multiple times, and the child doesn’t have to feel scared.
They also offer orthodontics with Dr. Rupali Shah, so when your child is ready, they can stay within the practice—a relief to parents who don’t need a referral or do deep research into finding someone they trust.
DFC Smiles pediatric dental space appeals to kids of all ages—and it’s fun
For kids, the environment makes a difference—an office that’s clinical and serious can add to their stress and fears, especially if it’s the first visit. At DFC Smiles pediatric dental office, the emphasis is on the space so kids will feel at ease. With their recent relocation to Clifton, Dr. Sultan wanted a space to feel not like a typical dentist’s office. “We put in splashes of bright colors like yellows, blues, and greens all over in an open, inviting space. It’s young and fun with shapes and a modern design that stands the test of time and makes older kids feel just at home as younger kids,” says Dr. Sultan.
In the open hygiene bay with four treatment chairs, kids will get comfy in specially designed treatment chairs, see other kids having a similar experience, and can look up to find a TV monitor over their chair. As they get their teeth cleaned, they can watch their favorite shows on Amazon, Netflix, Disney Plus, and other channels. For the treatment rooms and first-time visitors, each room is a different color, and kids can follow the color line on the floor to find their room themed with that color. It’s yet another way for kids to have fun and feel comfortable in their surroundings.
Once kids are old enough for orthodontics, the other side of the space feels more like a teen hangout than a dentist’s office. With a sleek couch, big screen TV, and glass door for private consults, it’s got a casual living space vibe that pre-teens and teens will appreciate. Parents feel at home, too, during the consults and visits, and so do the young adults who come back from college who need an orthodontic tune-up.
An experience that’s inclusive for all kids
One of the unique aspects of DFC Smiles is the caring and expert treatment Dr. Sultan provides to his patients, especially those with special needs. His training includes working for two years with a craniofacial team on patients with genetic disorders and special healthcare needs.
“A lot of pediatric dentists go through training for patients with special needs, but in my program with the craniofacial team, I saw more healthcare issues and concerns than with typical training. It helped me gain experience and an understanding of the unique issues that arise as well as how to develop a treatment plan to overcome any dental issue or concerns,” he says.
For patients with autism, sensory processing disorder, or non-verbal disabilities, care starts in the waiting room, where kids can walk on the foot paths, feel special sensory mats, and relax in the calming atmosphere. For treatment, they head to a larger suite with a beanbag, wavy lounging chair, and exam chair and pick where they’d like to sit. “Sitting in a comfy chair like that and not the exam chair right away helps them relax and takes a bit of the fear and anxiety away, “adds Dr. Sultan.
During the treatment, special tools, like a wireless and quieter version of the electric toothbrush, an assortment of toothpaste flavorings, and specially designed toothbrushes, also help the child get more comfortable in the office. For a child that’s anxious before that first visit, the DFC Smiles team will arrange a pre-visit to meet the dentist, see the room, and explain what they’ll do during the treatment.
Indeed, the extra care makes all the difference—and for moms of kids with special needs, DFC Smiles is a place that feels like home. For Stephanie, a mom to a daughter who’s non-verbal and needs help with directions, it’s crucial.” Dr. Sultan and his staff accommodate all who enter, no matter the patient’s ability level. As a parent, I leave with the comfort that my child felt safe during her visit and is willing to return because of the kindness and care given by Dr. Sultan, Dr. Shah, and their staff,” she says. “Also, the ability to have dentistry and orthodontic
services in one office is a tremendous help, especially to a family with a child of special needs.”
During the visit, Stephanie’s daughter is treated with the utmost care, just like any other child who comes for a checkup. “What always impresses me is how the people in the office are very patient, explains what part will be coming next and how it will feel. They also will put on her favorite Netflix show to watch during her procedure. When they are done, they give her a few minutes to ‘relax’ before she must go. They never rush her and let her be on her own time,” says Stephanie.
And that caring attitude of letting the child come first is just one of the many reasons patients make DFC Smiles their “dental” home for all their childhood and teen years.