|Visit your dentist early for prevention.|
You will be surprise by the information ( or lack of ) available. This is probably because most parents do not think it is necessary to bring the toddlers to dentist. After all the first set of teeth of a toddler will most likely drop when they approach the age of 5 , thus there is not much urgency to deal with dental issues of the toddler.
|First Dental visit|
Our quest began when we discovered that the younger one has possible baby bottle tooth decay. Initially we though it was just a minor issue and treatments are limited. However recently , the boy's dental condition worsen and thus a trip to the dentist was warranted.
We tried to search for information on kid's dentist in Singapore. We hit more than a roadblock. It was a stonewall as results only yield a handful of websites. Given that the limited information on kid's dentist, we thought we should contribute our experiences here.
Singhealth recommends that it is ideally best to take the child to visit the dentist when he is 6 to 12 months. Most parents would bark at that suggestion given that the toddler would probably has not much teeth to examine. However it is good to go early in order to anticipate the problem rather than to treat them. Treating a child's dental issue may be the last thing a parent wanted, especially if there is a need for extraction and general anaesthesia
Tooth decay in toddler are more common than one would imagine. The common dental problems in children are :
Baby Bottle tooth Decay
Decay usually cause when a baby falls asleep while sucking on a bottle. The sucking becomes passive and milk pool around the teeth to form plaque. Sugar in the milk is converted to plaque and changed to acid. This will lead to severe decay known as Baby bottle Tooth decay. Decay could be worsen with intake of sweet drinks / fruits / sweets without proper dental care ( i.e. brushing after exposure or before sleep)
Thumsucking/ Pacifier Use
Some toddlers / babies likes to suck thumb / pacifier. The practise usually cease on its own from 2-4 . However if remain unchecked, it may affect teeth alignment
Accidental falls may result in damages in tooth.Treatments such as extraction and alignment are done by the dentist.
Kids dentists are considered a 'rare' commodity in Singapore. In our quest to search for a kid's dentist, we discovered that there are mainly 2 different kinds of outlets available. They are either from big chain names (Such as Specialist Dental Group, Smile Concept or T32 Dental)or specialists known as Pediatric Dentist. The few specialist dentists also has a waiting list of more than 1 month
In our search for a dentist, we stumbled upon the term paediatric dentist. Pediatric Dentist is the branch of dentistry dealing with dental treatment of babies, doodlers, children. Not all dentist are willing to treat a toddler's tooth. In some cases, they are not train or qualified to deal with young toddlers, making a visit down to the dentist a nightmare instead of a of a stress free environment.
Do look for dentists that are trained to look after children's teeth. We had visited 2 specialist (as we needed a second opinion) and was surprised by the service given by the different dentists.
Finding a good dentist is a hit and run affair.
We often rely on word of mouth or friend's recommendation. Initially we bought the youngest boy to a reputable kids specialist. The first impression was rather unpleasant. The dentist has a long waiting list of 1 month plus, but we managed to squeeze in an appointment after some cancellation. During consultation, we got an earful from the dentist on the child's dental issue. We were told that general anaesthesia and an operation was needed.However there was not much time spend explaining the procedure.
As for advice, all we have to work on is ' You have to change the habits' (We know that!). When prompted if such procedure is safe and if the dentist had done it before, the response was a curt, 'I have over 20 years experience you know' (Which still did not explain if his experiences had been good or bad) and ' GA is safe otherwise you will hear of babies dying in KK every other week' (Duh , that is as good as telling me pigs don't fly, but not why it doesn't)
Sorry, you may be experience and reputable. Your clinic may be swanky and located in a desirable address. Yes the environment with all its kids toys and accessories is appealing to the kids, but if you do not address the parents concern, all the above is of little use. The whole consultation took about 15 minutes ( including examination) and left a bad taste in the mouth.
Our Choice- Kids Dental World
After some thoughts we decided we need a second opinion. We found this clinic Kids Dental World - by Dr Ong Yean Sze from a positive review. We decided to give it a shot. We called and was surprise to learn an appointment can be fix as early as the next day. This lead us to be sceptical as we thought usually the more popular dentists will have a long waiting list.
|Kids Dental World|
Nevertheless , it did not deter us. This time we made an appointment for both boys. The clinic is located at the newly open Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. We were greeted bay a rather small waiting area. it was a bright and cheery room. with a decent size LCD TV and 2 xbox stations ( The normal Xbox and a kinect) Seating area is rather limited with a four seater sofa and a few stools.
We were there on time for our appointment and waited less than 10 minutes to see the dentist (weekday afternoon) Dr Ong began by interviewing us on the kids lifestyle and dental habits. Upon hearing us, she identified what is wrong with our lifestyle pattern and suggested changes to our habits (such as feeding less frequently for Land flossing for C). In addition, she informed us on the use and benefits of fluoride for the child. She gave us a quick education on the essential teeth of a toddler ,which incidentally are the molars and canines that will help space the adult teeth in the future.
The interview process itself takes about 10-15 minutes
All these time, the kids entertain themselves with a huge teeth replica to brush upon as well as LCD tv on the ceiling.
|Checking the teeth out.|
First up was C. Dr Ong introduce a storybook to tell the concept of tooth and brushing. She was very patient with him. Being his first time, he was a little apprehensive when she began to floss his teeth. However she managed to divert his attention effectively. In the end, Charles managed to get his yellow teeth cleaned as well.
He was rewarded with a Spiderman toothbrush for his efforts.
Next up was L, upon seeing his brother's reward. he was determine to get the same.He was the perfect patient , sitting there readily opening his mouth while the Dr prodded his mouth. All these time she was reassuring and praising him. Needless to say he has his reward at the end of the day.
The boys did better than expected for the dental checkup . They were familiar with the Tiny Dentist app on the iPad and were well prepared on what the dentist is going to do. Check out the app here.
The results of the examination yields the same result as the first. An extraction was necessary in Louis case. However the difference was that the Dr Ong took the effort to explain by drawing on a tooth diagram the areas that she will work upon including the cavities and the fillers of each individual tooth ( there are quick a few problem areas). In addition, she had shown us visuals of past cases and let us know what to expect should extraction be necessary. This was lacking during our previous visit to another dentist.
Given the clear explanation, we were more assured and thus had decided to go ahead with the operation.
Overall, the experience was a more than pleasant visit. Dr Ong had made dental visit a delightful experience for the boys. She had spend over 1 hour with the 2 boys diagnosis, placing more emphasis on Louis.
We would highly recommend Dr Ong if you are looking for a good paediatric dentist. She has a vast experiences of over 20 years in Singapore and UK, and had work in the established Smilefocus group prior to setting up her own clinic. In addition, being one of the founding members and Vice President of the Society of Paediatric Dentistry ( Singapore) does tell volumes of her capabilities.
To sum it up, use this guide as a reference for kid's dentist in Singapore.
- Get a Pediatrics Dentist : Especially for kids below 6 . We have nothing against the bigger dentist chains that does it all, but a specialist for kids would be preferred as it takes a different skill set to handle kids. Clinics with kids room does not automatically qualify a dentist to be a pediatrics dentist.
- Check the kids teeth before they turn 2 , or when first signs of decay appear. Prevention is better than treatment and if treated early, extraction can be prevented. (If only we had more information earlier, we would have not delayed treatement.
- Choose a dentist who care to explain and advise rather than chide and be authoritative.
- Do not believe on heresay and hype. Go and seek a 2nd opinion if needed. Not all expensive dentist are good and long waiting time does not guarantee a good dentist. Go for a consultation and assess the Dentist, rather than decide by perceived reputation.
Too bad we are not kids, otherwise we would gladly have her examine our teeth anytime.
The Little Details
Kids Dental World
Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
38 Irrawaddy Road #08-33
Tel : 66843113
(Payment can be done through Child Development Account)
This is a personal post on experiences and it not sponsored in anyways by Kids Dental World