Children's Dentistry & Orthodontics in Schenectady

- Dr. Matt & Lindsey Battiste

In this interview, Dr. Battiste goes over questions parents may have about their child's growing teeth. Some of what's covered include when should your child have their first dental visit, why baby teeth are important, are x-rays safe for children and much more!

Dr. Matt and Lindsey Battiste run the first Pediatric and Orthodontic combined practice in Schenectady!


Tye: Can you tell us about your practice? 

Dr. Matt: Lindsey and I met while in Dental School at Stony Brook University. Unlike many dentists, neither of us had any family members in dentistry and it was a completely new field for both of us. Lindsey completed her Pediatric Dental residency and I completed my Orthodontic residency at Eastman Institute for Oral Health in Rochester, NY.

The residency programs there are associated with both Strong Memorial Hospital and the University of Rochester and they were fantastic experiences for both of us. We ended up settling in Schenectady, NY, which is where I grew up and we started our combined practice almost 6 years ago.

Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry really are a natural fit and Lindsey and I love working together! Our general philosophy from Day 1 has been that if we always do our best and treat people the right way then everything will work out well. We genuinely care about both the quality of work that we do and the relationships that we're building with our patients and our team. The team at our office is amazing.

The biggest thing we look for in our team members are generally just being nice people. When you combine a number of those personalities together the result has been fantastic. We are very proud of the environment at our office and I believe it shows in the satisfaction of our patients. We make dentistry as convenient as possible by combining orthodontic and regular dental appointments for many of our patients and their siblings. In the hectic world we live in parents are always appreciative of anything that makes their lives easier.

Often, parents of children in for cleanings can have their orthodontic questions answered immediately and any orthodontic wires or elastics can be removed during cleaning appointments to allow the best care possible. We made sure to start our practice the right way from the beginning with cutting technology to provide the best treatment for our patients.

Tye: What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a regular dentist that treats kids?

Dr. Lindsey: Great question! After dental school is completed a pediatric dentist needs to complete an intensive 2 year residency designed to treat the specific needs of all children including those with special needs. Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of the dental profession.

All that Dr. Lindsey does during the work day is provide dental care for children age 0-18. Her experience is unmatched when compared to general dentists that are only seeing children occasionally.

Our office is designed to help make kids at ease from the video games in the waiting rooms to the TV's on the ceiling above the treatment chairs. One of our favorite compliments is from parents who exclaim, "I can't believe how much my kids were looking forward to coming to the dentist today!"

Tye: When should a child have their first dental appointment?

Dr. Lindsey: Generally around a child's first birthday is when they are getting their first teeth and it is the appropriate time to see a Pediatric Dentist for the first time. This establishes a dental home in case of any dental emergency's and information provided at those early appointments provide a foundation for a lifetime of dental health.

Tye: What should be used to clean my baby's growing teeth?

Dr. Lindsey: A soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, ideally one specifically designed for infants, is perfect to keep your child's teeth clean. Parents should use a very small smear of toothpaste while brushing as soon as they erupt.

At age 3, this can be increased to a "pea sized" amount of toothpaste while brushing. After age 6 children can use a normal amount of toothpaste and should spit out any excess after they are finished brushing. The most important time to brush is right before bedtime so that your child's teeth are clean throughout the night.

Tye: Are baby teeth really important if they will lose them anyway?

Dr. Lindsey: Baby teeth are definitely important for numerous reasons. They are necessary for chewing properly and are integral in speech development. They are very important in holding space for the permanent teeth that will replace them.

If baby teeth are lost too early a child is much more likely to need orthodontics in the future and will be much more likely to need teeth extracted as part of their orthodontic treatment. Keeping baby teeth healthy is also very important because bacteria from cavities on baby teeth can infect adult teeth when they erupt into the mouth.

Tye: Are thumb sucking and pacifiers harmful to a child’s growing teeth?

Dr. Lindsey: Thumb-sucking and pacifiers will usually only be problematic if they go on for an extended period of time. Generally, if children stop their habit by age 3 they will not be adversely affecting their oral health, growth and development. If a habit persists longer than it should, a mouth appliance can be considered to help break the habit.

Tye: What are some of the bad dental habits you see with kids?

Dr. Lindsey: The biggest issue we see with kids is not keeping their teeth consistently clean, which can result in cavities and tooth decay.  It's important to make sure your child's teeth are always clean on all surfaces including along the gum-line. A healthy diet is also a very important habit for dental health.

Diets that are high in sugars and carbohydrates are more likely to cause cavities and it is important to make sure those types of foods are cleaned off of the teeth after meals.  Sugary drinks (juices, milk, sodas) can cause extensive cavities if they're consumed constantly so try to have your child drink mostly water with any other type of drink only during meals.

Going to bed with a bottle of milk or juice can be extremely detrimental to the health of your child's teeth.  Please, make sure your child's teeth are completely clean before they go to bed! As mentioned previously, thumb-sucking and pacifiers can cause growth and development issues if they persist for a long time and we see these relatively frequently.

Tye: Are there any signs I should look for to let me know my kid’s teeth may not be growing properly?

Dr. Matt: At every dental visit with Dr. Lindsey she evaluates your child and makes sure that their growth and development is normal. Early dental visits (around age 1) and regular 6 month cleaning appointments are important to make sure we are keeping your child's teeth as healthy as possible.

Tye: What are some signs that my child may need braces?

Dr. Matt: Orthodontic treatment can be beneficial in a variety of circumstances. Cross-bites, overbites, under-bites, deep bites, tooth misalignment, overcrowding, impacted teeth, and dental spacing are all reasons that orthodontic treatment may be indicated. If there are any concerns please discuss them with your dentist and see if an orthodontic evaluation is appropriate. At our office, with these issues, we often discuss the major concerns during cleaning visits and can set up orthodontic consultation appointments as appropriate from there.

Tye: When should the first orthodontic visit happen?

Dr. Matt: The earliest age that we consider orthodontic treatment is 7 years old. In general, I am as conservative as possible with early orthodontic treatment. Cross-bites and under-bites where children can do damage to permanent teeth will often need to be corrected at a young age.

In the absence of these conditions, we will usually wait until your child has lost all of their baby teeth prior to beginning orthodontic treatment, which usually happens around age 11 or 12.

If your dentist thinks there might be an issue that needs to be addressed it is better to have it evaluated early than either risk damage to permanent teeth or have growth asymmetry's develop that cannot be corrected later on.

Tye: Is Orthodotic treatment for children covered by most dental insurance providers?

Dr. Matt: Many times a child will have an insurance benefit to help cover their orthodontic care. During the initial orthodontic consultation we will determine your insurance benefit and discuss financial options that make the most sense for you and your family. We provide numerous flexible financial options to make sure orthodontic care is accessible to all of our patients.

Tye: Do you need to take x-rays of my child's mouth and are they safe?

Dr. Matt: Often dental x-rays are a necessary part of providing the best dental care for your child. We follow the ALARA principle for x-rays, which is anacronym to keep x-ray exposure "As Low As Reasonably Achievable." We only use digital x-rays and specifically use the ICAT FLX imaging system that provide state of the art 3D imaging at the lowest possible radiation levels. The bottom line is that we never force anyone to get x-rays, but dental x-rays are very safe and the information and benefits they provide far outweigh any risks.

Tye: How is your dental practice unique from others in the Schenectady area?

Dr. Matt: Thankfully, we live in an area where there are numerous exceptional dentists who provide quality services. As stated previously, the only promise we'll ever make is that we will always do our best and try to treat people the way they should be treated.

We were the first practice with a Pediatric Dentist and Orthodontist working together in the same office to provide coordinated dental care. Dr. Lindsey is still the only Pediatric Dentist in all of Schenectady County! In addition, as a combined practice we have the ability to do things that other offices simply cannot from an efficiency standpoint, which I think makes us stand out.

Tye: I noticed the Madagascar Ankizy fund on your website. What is it?

Dr. Matt: I'm glad you asked. The Madagascar Ankizy Fund is a charity that was founded by a paleontologist, Dr. David Krause, at Stony Brook University where we went to dental school. Ankizy means "children" in the Malagasy language and this charity builds schools, provides salaries and supplies for teachers and provides dental care to children in rural portions of Madagascar.

Prior to my fourth year of dental school I spent a month on a dental mission in rural Madagascar with three other classmates providing dental care to children and people who had never seen a dentist before. It was an amazing experience both for the the care we provided but also for the effect it had on me.

These are people that are truly in need in ways that the majority of us will never understand and any help we can provide goes a long way. The Dinosaur theme for our office came from the Dinosaur's that Dr. Krause discovered while in Madagascar! For more information please visit

Tye: What is the best way to schedule a consultation?: For a complimentary Orthodontic consultation or for a Pediatric Dental new patient appointment please call (518)545-4040. For more information about our practice please visit Thank you.

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