When Baby1 was in N1, we were very concerned that the childcare centre that she attended did not seem too keen to teach the 3 year olds on oral care. “If childcare will start to teach the children self independence, like eating on their own, keeping their own bags etc, shouldn’t teeth brushing be taught early? Plus the kids have their meals and milk in the centre. Plus shouldn’t good oral practice starts from small!?” We tried to persuade the centre to start inculcating teeth brushing after meals, but the centre only acceded to train the kids to rinse their mouths, and only after lunch before bath. Duh.
Dear1 and I truly believed that good oral care should start young, so we made sure that Baby1 brushes her teeth every morning since then. Night brushing was challenging, as we counted on her dozing off and having a good night/ uninterrupted sleep while drinking her bedtime feed. At both the grandparents’ places, we prepared her tooth brush and mug, and constantly reminded the grandparents to brush their teeth, but gramps being gramps, they seemed to encounter different types of difficulties in enforcing the brushing of teeth, haiz.
The last part of oral care have to be regular visits to the dentist. I am one who is okay with dentist visits. Of course it’s usually uncomfortable, and always bloody and painful, but I like it when the dentist always removes all the hard plague, something that I could never prevent from ‘growing’ despite my rigorous daily brushes. Dear1 is more squeamish about dental visits. Something about the “eeeeeeeh……… zzzzzzzhh…..” of the machinery sounds that Dear1 couldn’t stand, (or simply a childhood fear which is surprisingly very common among many adults? keke).
Dear1 suggested that we bring the kids along when we go for our (supposedly) yearly dental check-up. I said “Are you sure?” and “Am I really up to it?” One: What if Dear1 freak out during his visit? Two: What if I freaked out during MY visit. Luckily at this point, I chanced upon a mummy’s blog about the School Dental Centre. This mummy’s eldest child is about the same age as Baby1, so I was very curious to see how other mummies tackle this issue (which we have to start SOON!).
The School Dental Centre is located in HPB Building in SGH. It seems to be providing dental services to school-going children, but pre-schoolers can visit them too. We made an appointment for Baby1, which the earliest Saturday slot was a couple of months later. Since this is just our first introduction to dentists for her, we were in no hurry. In fact, a few weeks leading up to the BIG DAY, we borrowed a couple of books relating to dental visits from the library. Through the picture books, we preempted Baby1 of what’s to happen during the visit.
On the actual day, true enough, Baby1 was scared to the max. The Dentist was all nice and friendly. There were many other kids around but that didn’t make Baby1 any braver. Nor the many colorful cartoon stickers on the walls or equipment liven the atmosphere any more. Baby1 wouldn’t sit on the chair no matter how we coaxed (or threatened, when all patience and encouragement failed). She finally relented when the Dentist allowed her to sit on Papa while Papa sits on the chair, phew.
The Dentist did a very swift check (lest Baby1 decides to back down). Luckily her teeth was in very good condition, which we all kept praising her (and fueling her pride) afterwards and continually even till now, keke. The Dentist also showed her the proper techniques for brushing teeth (seems like the protocol). Before we left, the Dentist whipped out a box of stickers for Baby1 to choose. That was the WOW. For braving the ordeal, all the kids get to bring home a sticker! How encouraging! With the permission of the Dentist, Baby1 took 2 stickers, one for herself and one for Baby2 who had been silently watching the whole process with us. Dentist said Baby2 should come too (though she was only 2 yo then). We made two appointments for both girls approximately one year later.
Since then, we have been to the School Dental Centre for three times for the kids’ yearly checks. Next year, Baby1 can no longer come here, as she’ll be in Primary School which the school will take over the yearly dental check ups. For Baby2, she’s still very much looking forward to the next year’s visit, because she’ll get a sticker after the visit! Keke!
We highly recommend the School Dental Centre for kids. Baby1’s going to be 7 yo next year, and she’s still having her entire set of her baby teeth, plus 3 molars sprouting at the back. All kudos to the nice dental experiences (frankly, I think the reason why many adults still have phobia of dentist, must surely be due to bad childhood experiences, hush hush), she’s proud of her pearlies and always takes care to brush them well. And it’s only $9 per visit (for Singaporeans), so do book an appointment for your kid soon!