Child Born with Heart Condition Referred to Eastman Dental

Apr. 15, 2019

When Jeff Brandow got full custody of his son Nathan, one of the first things he did was get him to a pediatric dentist.

Jeff Brandow talking to Dr. Tofighi about Nathan's oral healthAt age 3 ½, Nathan had severe tooth decay, also known as Early Childhood Caries.

“Because he was born with a heart condition, his cardiologist referred Nathan to the specialists at Eastman Dental,” Jeff said. Shortly afterwards, Nathan underwent comprehensive treatment in the operating room, including extractions, crowns and fluoride.

Many providers throughout New York and surrounding states refer pediatric patients to Eastman Dental, especially if they have a medically complex condition like Nathan, who was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a condition where the lower left ventricle of his heart wasn’t fully developed, leading to two surgeries before his first birthday and another at age five.    

Dr. Hamid Tofighi“Communication with other medical providers like Nathan’s cardiologist, for example, is very important, especially if the patient needs comprehensive dental treatment in the operating room under general anesthesia,” said Dr. Hamid Tofighi, senior resident in Pediatric Dentistry Program.

“At first, Nathan was very timid and apprehensive of the dental chair, which is very normal for that age,” Dr. Tofighi explained. “As pediatric dentists, our goal is to build trust at a young age, and as they become more familiar with us, they learn that the dentist is their friend and their appointments are not scary.”

Nathan with Dr. TofighiLittle by little, Nathan showed progress with his behavior. Since his initial treatment, Nathan, now 11 years old and a fourth grader who loves video games, has not developed any cavities. He comes to Eastman regularly for cleanings, fluoride treatment and exams.

“We’ve been real happy at Eastman,” Jeff added, adding that Nathan never has any anxiety before or during his dental appointments. “He thinks it’s fun.”

“I think Nathan is a great example that shows the importance of successful dental treatments for children under the supervision of a professional team,” added Dr. Tofighi. “Nathan is a great patient and a really great kid.”