Believe it or not, many parents don't see the point in bringing their children to see a dentist regularly.
Dr Tabitha Chng, an experienced paediatric dentist, just can't seem to stress enough on the importance of taking care of your child's dental health even before his/her teeth emerges!
She wrote a full guide on seeing a paediatric dentist in Singapore for those who are looking to take better care of their children's dental health and here are a few points from her comprehensive guide.
It's never too early when it comes to your child's first dental appointment
Most parents are probably aware that children should be seen within 6 months of the eruption of their first baby tooth (or by their first birthday as a rule of thumb). However, Dr Tabitha suggests that this may change.
Paediatric dentistry is now recognising the importance of managing a child's oral-facial development (this includes the face and the jaws). These signs could be seen as early as birth!
Children who start seeing the dentist early tend to have better dental health
Research has found a connection between good dental health and early dentist visits. Children will be less susceptible to severe dental issues like tooth decay. Regular visits to the dentist also build a more positive attitude towards going to the dentist in kids.
A consultation with a paediatric dentist in Singapore cost between $50 - $150
First consultation usually would cost you around $50 at public healthcare centres with subsidised rates. It'll be cost you around $100 for private paying status. Private clinics range from about $80- $150 for first-time consultation.
What's the difference between public and private paediatric dentists?
For one, parents can expect to wait longer for appointments at public healthcare centres due to a heavier patient load. Consequently, dentists may not spend as much time with each child.
The demands of the public healthcare system might not allow for consistent paediatric dentists throughout your child's growing years.
Tooth decay is the biggest dental problem in Singaporean toddlers
In general, decay rates have risen rapidly over the years. Today, more than 1 in 2 children under the age of 6 years old will have tooth decay (yikes). These numbers are still rising.
While tooth decay is a manageable issue, many parents only bring their children to see the dentist when decay is severe. By this point, the decayed tooth is already causing headaches, bad toothaches or infection.
Poor tooth alignment and unbalanced jaw development are also common issues
Seen mostly in preschool children, poor tooth alignment and unbalanced jaw development can be found in many patients. These problems are usually caused by the previous use of pacifiers, finger sucking or prolonged bottle feeding.
These dental issues can be fixed rather simply, if it's detected early.
Your dentist will be evaluating certain key aspects during your child's first visit
Apart from the dental check to ensure teeth and gums are in ideal condition, the dentist will also be looking out for key aspects like:
- Your child's level of dental hygiene
- Areas that could be brushed better
- Dental development
- Alignment of his/her jaw
Dr Tabitha also sets some time aside to discuss daily diets and habits with parents.
How can you calm an anxious child down before dental procedures?
Dr Tabitha has 2 pieces of advice for parents with regards to anxious children.
1. Honesty is the best policy - it's best not to trick your child into coming to the dentist. If you promised that you were going to the zoo but he or she ends up at the dentist, tantrums will be thrown.
2. Sometimes less is more - Be careful not to go into too much detail with your child. Trying to describe an injection or an extraction might scare him/her even further!
Paediatric dentists actually manage children with special needs very well
Many are surprised to learn that a paediatric dentist can actually be an expert in managing children with special needs. Significant exposure to children with autism, feeding disorders or genetic conditions strengthens the dentist's experience over the training process.
Paediatric dentists learn a great deal about how to manage a child, so relax and trust that your little one is in good hands.
Always keep your paediatric dentist's contact in your phone
Dr Tabitha learned from a parent's unfortunate experience that storing the names of paediatric dentists in your phone can help (greatly). The parent's child had hurt her mouth badly and spent six whole hours moving from one doctor to the next. They all rejected her until Dr Tabitha finally managed to see her.
Needless to say, it was a stressful situation and yes, urgent situations are probably not the best time to be googling for paediatric dentists.
This article is medically reviewed and based on an original article written by Dr Tabitha Chng. Click here to read the original article.
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