I stared into the blinding light, trying to make sense of my surrounding. My eyes quickly focused on a masked face which was approaching me, eagerly… but before I could react, I heard a muffled voice speak through the surgical mask, ” Hi Daddy…” her eyes squinted with a wide smile beneath the mask. I smiled in return and replied, ” Hi Dana!” but before I could continue, she commanded, ” Open your mouth…” I sheepishly obliged as she proceeded to examine my teeth with a mouth mirror before proceeding to spray some air into it to clean it…all under the watchful eye of a friendly Dentist, an arms length away.
|My free check up by the aspiring Dentist!|
Surreal yet immensely proud, there was I, seated (and elevated) on a dentist chair looking up to my own 5 year-old’s face as she attempted to ‘count and clean my teeth’ at the second station of the National Dental Center’s (NDC) ‘Dentist for a Day‘ programme, commemorating the 1st year of the NDC’s launch of their Facebook page to promote paediatric dentistry in Singapore.
|What a fabulous celebration – inviting kids to be Dentists for a Day!|
|One of the many fun stations in store for the kids…|
The half-day programme held last Saturday morning brought young children (mainly 5 to 6 year old preschoolers) through a series of experiential stations to simulate ‘A Day in the Life of’ a Dentist. From disinfecting their hands, donning the scrub and gloves to giving dental examinations to their unsuspecting patients. The programme, which was over-subscribed, drew an enthusiastic group of eager kids and their parents.
The team at NDC had devised an engaging and educational experience for the kids which touches on different aspects of dentistry and dental health. These include:
1. Cleaning and Disinfecting: How Dentists clean and disinfect themselves (and their tools) before any dental procedures or treatments.
|Dr. Dana’s in the house!|
|Scrutinizing their germy hands under UV rays…|
|We’re ready for the practice!|
2. Dental Treatment: Children had the opportunity to handle real dentists’ tools and instruments, maneuver the dentist chair and even conduct a thorough dental check on who else but their parents!
|When I signed her up to be ‘Dentist for a Day’…|
|little did I know I had also signed myself up to be ‘Patient of the Day’!|
|Mastering the correct order of brushing our teeth…|
|The young Apprentice and one of the friendly Dentists from NDC…|
3. Wire Art: An experience in orthodontics where children learn to bend and twist colourful pipe-cleaners to form a ‘wand’ as part of their ‘training’ in moulding braces. Interesting and creative!
|To do this, you need an agile and stable hand…|
|Working with pipe-cleaners to form braces…|
|It takes lots of patience and a keen eye too….|
|Finally, her completed wand…|
4. Fixing a Cavity: Children were each given clay tooth with black fillings (representing tooth decay). They had to remove these bad germs, fill the cavity with medicine before closing it nicely.
|A badly decayed tooth? No worries – Dr. Dana to the rescue!|
|First we empty the cavity of the decay…|
|Make sure none of the bad germs are left on the tooth…|
|Earned an extra ‘star’ for doing such an excellent job at fixing the tooth!|
5. The Right Diet and Oral Health: Children were tasked to shop for healthy ‘teeth’ food at the virtual supermarket. Here, I was pleased to hear that ‘moderation is the key’ and children are taught the recommended quota for teeth cleaning daily (min 3 times a day, preferably brush your teeth after each meal).
|Giving kids a chance to demonstrate their understanding of how diet affects their dental health…|
|Never seen kids so happy to go shopping….|
|Dana picked milk, bread, yoghurt, cheese, carrot, broccoli and cucumber…|
|A basket-full of goodness!|
Role-play opportunities are getting increasingly popular with kids (with the presence of KidZania and BabyBoss) but what makes this ‘Dentist for a Day’ activity stand out was that it was facilitated by real-life Dentists and dental nurses. Though some of them were initially apprehensive in relating to a bunch of inquisitive and energetic preschoolers, I felt they did a great job overall in executing the programme and sharing the importance of oral health to the children.
Kudos to the team at National Dental Centre for such a well-organised event which was thoroughly engaging and educational. It certainly helped to dispel some myths and fears kids (and adults) have about visiting the Dentists and created a memorable learning experience for all involved.
|Thank you NDC for a most enjoyable experience!|
|Just hangin’ out at the end of their ‘shifts’!|