Interview by Divyasri Nair
We as parents always obsess over weight, height and other milestones but there is one area that many of us ignore. Well, it is dental care!
In today’s interview, Dr. Premila Naidu, who is a pediatric dentist, tells us in detail about the importance of dental care in kids and why it is important to see an expert at the right time. Read on to know what she has to say, as this will really help parents of children of all ages.
Dr. Premila Naidu is the chief pediatric dentist at Small Bites Dental Clinic, an exclusive dental centre for children. She has been practicing exclusive child dentistry since 10 years, loves working with children and believes in making dentistry fun for the kids. She has worked in Narayana Hrudyalaya and Fortis hospital before setting up the child friendly dental centre in Bangalore.
What exactly is a pediatric dentistry? Why did you decide to specialise in pediatric dentistry?
Pediatric dentistry is a speciality of dentistry which deals with dental needs of the children. Its main focus is not only child dentistry but also prevention of dental problems in children. It is somewhere is 3rd year of graduation when we get exposed to different branches in dentistry and since then my love for the subject has only grown.
Pediatric dentistry gives you an opportunity to interact with children, understand their psychology and instil positive dental habits from a very young age. Apart, from that I saw a need to create child friendly dental clinics where a child would love to visit, play, watch their favourite cartoons and get the dental treatment done. So after my graduation I did 3 years of post graduation in pediatric dentistry. I am just loving it.
How often should kids visit a pediatric dentist?
With the change in dietary habits dental caries have been increasing. Actually it is the second most common disease in children. Hence I would advise parents to get the kids teeth checked at least once in 4 months. As a pediatric dentist, we are not only looking at cavities, we check the child’s mouth for any developing malocclusions (mal aligned teeth) or even harmful oral habits. So a routine check up is a must for children.
How do you deal with kids who are afraid of going to a dentist? Any advise for parents on how to approach this?
Fear towards doctors is understandable in children.
We try to reduces the fear and stress by letting them play , making them feel comfortable before checking their teeth , playing their favourite cartoons and most importantly we spend a lot of time with children to understand them better .
Regular checkups can reduce the fear; parents shouldn’t refer to dental visits as punishments and even at home parents to try preparing the child is a fun way. All of these can make sure child’s first dental visit is less stressful for the child.
You run Bangalore’s one and only theme based pediatric clinic. Can you tell more about it?
To fight against the dental fear and make dental visits fun we have designed a theme based dental set up. Each dental room has a different theme. There is an animal theme for the younger children, a superhero theme for the older ones and even a bike themed room for the young adults. And we have a wonderful play area, which a child sees as soon as they enter. These small changes helps in reduces the stress.
What causes cavities in children? What can parents do to avoid it?
Cavities can be caused by many things. But the important point to remember is any sticky carbohydrates, which sticks to the tooth can cause cavities. It’s very important to keep the child’s tooth/ teeth clean as soon as they erupt into the mouth.
Proper breastfeeding and bottle feeding methods also play a significant role in cavity prevention.
Long term medications, improper oral hygiene, unhealthy snacking habits can all increase the risk of cavities. Regular visit can help in identifying the cavities at an early stage and also help in preventing future dental issues.
One common concern for all parents- “my child doesn’t allow his teeth to be brushed”. Any tips for such parents?
“My child doesn’t let me brush his/ her teeth” yes this is the most common concern we hear. It’s all about forming the right habits. It’s better to introduce the brush at an early age; a finger brush may be when the child has only few teeth and slowly move to baby brush. If the child is resisting brushing the best thing to do is have a firm yet gentle hold of the child and then brush, as the most important thing here is we don’t want the child to get hurt. If he or she moves suddenly then they may get hurt and resist further for brushing.
Finally, what is your favourite thing about being a pediatric dentist?
My favourite thing about pediatric dentistry is of course working with children. We can help them develop good oral habits; we can make their experiences fun and as pediatric dentist can help create a generation which doesn’t fear dental visits.
Isn’t that a super power? I absolutely love it.To schedule an appointment with Dr. Premila Naidu, log on to www.smallbites.in or https://www.facebook.com/SmallBitesChildrenDentalClinic/