Not afraid of the dentist anymore!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

According to the National Dental Centre Singapore, a child should have his first dental check-up when he is between 6 to 12 months of age. This allows the dentist to prevent and anticipate problems rather than treat them. I have been wanting to bring L for his dental check-up since he was 2 years old. Blame it on my procrastination and plain laziness, hence delaying this important visit. Now that he is 5 years old, he whines about going to the dentist. He thinks the dentist is one scary person who will pull out his teeth as he has not been making effort to take good care of them. 

So, what better way to let him overcome his fear of a dental check-up than to let him role-play as one himself! Thanks to the Paediatric Dentistry Unit of the National Dental Centre Singapore, L participated in their first Be-A-Dentist Day event which took place recently. 

Be A Dentist Day 2013

At the first station, the children practised bending pipe cleaners into a star-shaped wand. One of the volunteers explained that this activity simulates the principles of bending orthodontic wires for braces. 

The group of children were then brought to a "supermarket" where they learnt to choose the right type of food for good oral health. L was one of the last few to complete his shopping as he mulled over the items displayed so carefully! In the end, he picked a pack of carrots, a bun, a pack of instant noodles, chocolate milk and a bottle of orange juice. Mommy expected it, as these are some of his favorite foods. After learning which food items are good for their teeth and which are not, the children were tasked to select 5 other items for the family. This was what he got! Healthy healthy!! (*ehem* except for the packet of instant noodles)

The third station was one of my personal favorites. The children were given a bad tooth model and some tools to dig out the "decayed material". It was amusing to see the children go "eww" and "yucks" when the dentist demonstrated the steps to do a proper cleaning of the affected area and how to do a tooth filling. Look at L's serious look when he did that! 

I took the opportunity to re-emphasize the importance of keeping L's teeth in healthy conditions - that he needs to brush his teeth properly and rinse his mouth after a meal. He was thoughtful while listening, perhaps recalling the "disgusting decayed material" he saw on the tooth model.

Dress-up time was next! The children donned cute little surgical gowns and shower caps. Aren't they all adorable?

Be a Dentist Day 2013 by Paediatric Dentistry NDC

Hubby and I are very particular about hand hygiene as we do not want the older ones to pass their germs to their sister. L cooperates with us very well on this, and sanitizes his hands frequently especially when he is sick. Hence when the dentists explained about bacteria and put on the uv light to prove the existence of bacteria on their hands, L understood it straightaway. He followed the instructions of holding his hands up after sanitizing them with alcohol until a dentist was able to help him put on the disposable gloves. Even when he was monkeying around, he remembered to put his hands together and not touch everywhere!

The last station was the one everyone waited eagerly for! L and his new found friend were paired to room 5 where they had the chance to give a "dental check-up" to their mommies! The two children doubled up as each other's dental assistant too. The paediatric dentist on duty was able to build rapport with the two boys very quickly and taught them how to handle the dentist chair, and how to check Mommy's teeth using the dental mirror. 

Image by Motherof.Xander

Move up! Move down! This is so fun! 
Image by Motherof.Xander

Mommy, your teeth is not clean!
Image by Motherof.Xander

Dental check complete! 
Image by Motherof.Xander

L and new-found friend, X 
Image by Motherof.Xander

The whole experience was well organised by the Paediatric Dentistry Unit. The staff was attentive to the children's needs, and was able to build rapport as well as engage them throughout the activities. I asked L to name his favourite station as required in the feedback form, he gave a beaming smile and exclaimed "all the stations!" This goes to show that this event definitely deserves a re-run next year! 

A happy ending to share - L overcame his fear of visiting the dentist. He was able to share his experience about the dentist chair with his dentist and remained calm throughout the scaling and polishing of his teeth. 

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  1. That’s a great advocacy! The earlier the child is aware of dental health’s importance, the earlier these fears will go away. Roleplaying as a dentist was a brilliant strategy. This way, the children will put away the notion that a dentist is a scary person who does nothing but pull out their teeth.
    -- Dr. Jairo Chavez

    1. Thank you Dr Jairo, for visiting SimplyLambchops :)

  2. Children tend to be scared of things they’re not quite familiar with. Getting them accustomed to the role of the dentist is an excellent practice to eliminate the preconceived notions they had about dentists, who they might perceive as the scary men who will pluck their teeth. This event is great way to give dentistry a good impressions for those kids who are likely to develop a phobia regarding its treatments and procedures.

    Joel Haynes @ Herrin Pediatric Dentistry


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