Article by Drew Kramer for Scarsdale Moms
My three year old doesn’t brush his teeth. There. I said it. Twice a day, I hold him down to do the job. Unsurprisingly, when he sat for his first appointment with our family dentist, it did not go well. While the experience felt like a unique brand of parental torture, we are not alone. For many children, going to the dentist can be an anxiety provoking experience. Today’s detached system of managed healthcare makes matters even worse. Few pediatric dentists have the time necessary to build trust with the children they serve, resulting in tears and tantrums in the dental chair. Here in Scarsdale, there is a new solution to the dental blues. This winter, pediatric dentist Dr. Adam Silevitch brings his unique concierge-style services from New York City to Westchester.
A New England native, Dr. Adam recalls his commitment to children beginning as a camp counselor in the suburbs of Boston. His special patience for children motivated him to become a psychology major as an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. There, he worked with special needs children, an experience that informs how he works with patients to this day. While studying to become a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry at Boston University, he decided to leverage his experience in psychology and child development in pediatric practice. As the chief pediatric dentistry resident at Columbia University, he honed his ability to connect with all children, particularly those on the more medically complex side of the spectrum. The more difficult cases require empathy and the devotion of more time to build trust. According to his past patients, this is where Dr. Adam shines. As Becky Israeli, mother to three boys under seven years old, recalls, “my son had no pain threshold, but looked forward to his cavity fillings.” Dr. Adam “takes the time to connect with my sons, creating a relationship that feels familiar and even fun.”
Fun takes time to build, but Dr. Adam is willing to put in the work. When he meets a two-year-old, he respects that “the mouth is a very personal, sacred place.” Dr. Adam is comfortable if the child mostly plays with toys. He knows that “it doesn’t help to jam a foreign object in a child’s mouth when he is too little to understand.” Rather, “we hang,” building rapport with the parents and trust with the child. The magic in Dr. Adam’s work is creating that bond and watching the two-year-old grow into a young adult.
As Dr. Adam’s young patients grow into adolescents, his families often look to him to help with the difficult task of giving teens ownership over their personal hygiene. For teens who feel hounded by their parents to brush and floss (and parents who feel their teens aren’t doing the job), Dr. Adam is called in as the voice of reason. Since he is not the parent, he can appeal to the teen as a friend or “cool uncle.” For one fifteen-year-old, Dr. Adam encouraged, “if you want to be dating, maybe you want to brush your teeth.” With humor and reason, the problem was solved.
In more complicated situations with special needs children, parents often require more hand holding. All patient families will get Dr. Adam’s cell phone number, but some will also want FaceTime to ensure that the child is brushing properly. Some children with more complex history need more regular monitoring and consultation. Dr. Adam is here for that.
His mission is to ensure that all children–no matter their circumstances–have access to the dental care they need. His commitment to this outcome extends far beyond the doors of his office. His passion for global healthcare equality took him on missions to the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cape Verde, and Costa Rica to treat local children and families who lack access to dental care. His work in Costa Rica is particularly close to his heart, as Dr. Adam spearheaded the first Doctors Without Borders initiative in the country. In addition to his own good work there, he inspires his teenage patients who are interested in the project to volunteer. In doing so, Dr. Adam fills up his own cup, as well as cements the next generation’s commitment to service.
As a Hastings-on-Hudson dad to his three young children, an empathetic pediatric dentist here and abroad, and a passionate Boston sports fan, Dr. Adam Silevitch works from the heart. His unwavering patience and compassion for his patients meets their needs with baby steps wherever they are today. As he says, “we’re all surviving.”
Advanced Dentistry of Scarsdale
Dr. Adam Silevitch
30 Popham Road, Scarsdale