When I was small, there was no such thing as pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentist is a dentist for children. For some reasons and some problems, I had to visited the dentists so many times when I was a kid. Unfortunately, it happens until I’m on this age. Visiting the dentists were never been comfortable experiences for me, but after sooo….many visits, I get used to it now.
Lil boy also has many problems with his teeth. He used to drink milk 4-5 times during the night until he was almost three years old. He drank milk from bottle until he was four. He spent two hours or more just to finish his one plate of food. Yes, those times when he was a very picky eater (he preferred milk than solid food, he put his food for a very long time in his mouth before he swallowed it, and he only liked certain food). Fortunately it changes a lot nowadays. Although he can’t eat in big portion every time he eats (maybe the portion is smaller than other children in his age), but he eats quite frequent (3 times meals, snacks, fruit, and milk).
After months of happiness because lil boy ate very easily, then came another difficult phase again. After praising his appetite for food (the times when he ate super fast, sit alone in the dining table to eat just anything that I served, had his meals sometimes more than 3 times a day plus the bread and biscuits and fruit and milk), then suddenly everything just changed in seconds.
At first it annoyed me a lot, and I became very impatient when it was time to eat. He became the super slow eater again, picked his food, and never really wanted to eat unless he was super tired and super hungry, and the portion had becoming smaller and smaller.
Then he started to complain about his teeth. At first he said that his gums were hurt so much every time he had to chew his food. I was puzzled because I didn’t expect that his molar teeth would come this soon. Then I searched about this information on the internet, and it said that adult teeth will usually appear at the age of 7 to 10. So my first guess was the gums hurt because his adult teeth were about to grow. After making this assumption, I started giving him a very selective food (not too hard, only gave mincemeat, no veggie, no apples of pear because they’re quite hard to be chewed).
When my mom saw this, she suspected that it was not just the gums, but also the teeth. Two of his back teeth had decayed once, but this problem was solved by the school dentist in his K2 time who filled this decayed / hollow teeth. At first I didn’t believe her by saying that those teeth should had been patched a year ago, but my mom said they should be temporary patches so they might open again after a year. Then again, I tried to find this information on the internet and yes…..the teeth patches in children could be opened again because of many cases.
So, we brought him to the local dentist near our home, and we were greeted by a beautiful lady named dr.Monique who was very patient and sweet. Fortunately, lil boy didn’t refuse to visit this dentist. His father took some pictures, but I could’t find them, so I can not attach them here.
And yes, she confirmed about the gums and that his adult teeth are beginning to appear, and that there’s nothing we can do about them. We just have to wait. And yes, the back teeth are decayed, but she suggested to visit kids dentist ti fix them. She said the process might gonna hurt for the children, so visiting the pediatric dentist would be a better option for us.
I tried to get some recommendations about the kids dentists (considering they must be very expensive). Dr.Monique recommended his colleague, but many parents said he is not too patient with children. After a very careful searching, I decided to try dr.Chan in Smileworks. Reviewers said she is a very nice lady, very patient, and very pretty too. One person that I know from the blog said his 3 year old son got his teeth patched with dr.Chan, and it worked very well that the mother wrote a special thank you note to her. We decided to go to Paragon Branch since it’s the closest to our house.
To persuade lil boy to willingly go to the dentist, we promised him that he could play in Paragon Playground for as long as he wanted. Ok, it works. Smileworks located in eleventh floor Paragon Office Tower. The waiting room is small but cozy, and to my surprise there were no children toys at all. This clinic is not just for children, but also for adults. I had to fill a form about my child’s health condition in general and other information about lil boy. such as if he has any allergies, heart problem, etc. Hmm…..I never expereince this kind of thing in Jakarta, and some questions confused me (why should they asked those questions? Ok, I would find out later anyway).
While waiting, I saw some children (most of them were younger than lil boy) came from the dentist’s room with big smiles. The nurse gave them big stickers and certificates because they had been so brave. Oh ok, that is nice…..I thought…..my son should have no problem with the dentist. Then it was our turn, and yes we met a young and very pretty doctor with big smile on her face.
I was hoping to see a small TV screen in the dentist room to distract the attention of my lil boy from all the process, but I didn’t see any. Well, perhaps all the kids facilities was not in Smileworks Paragon. They have soft toys like animals dolls though, but not too many. The room is just plain white without any pictures or drawings related to children.
Dr. Berenice Chan was a lovely lady, and she never hesitate to answer my questions even with pictures and was very detailed too. She kept talking to lil boy, explained about what she was going to do, and so on. The nurse was nice too. So, this must be a big success, right? Lil boy would come home with his teeth patched, and he could eat any food that he wants in a faster pace.
Now, before I continue the story, let me give you some hints about going to pediatric dentist with your children:
1. Every child is different, they have their own characters. Some of them are very cooperative, some will not open their mouth, some will cry hard, and some might bite or kick the doctors
2. The doctor should handle the child differently according to their characters. He/she must be very patient to understand the child’s needs and wants and comfort them
3. Don’t set your expectation too high. You might fall off to the ground and get hurt
4. Last but not least, even if a doctor succeed in handling one child, doesn’t mean he/she will be successful in handling your child too.
So, what was that suppose to mean? It means that the first visit to the pediatric dentist was a big mess. It didn’t work at all…….My son went home still with all his teeth not being patched at all. The doctor could only did one temporary patch that will break up in weeks. She said there are 4 decayed teeth to be fixed, and probably she should do root canals to two of the teeth.
It doesn’t mean that lil boy wasn’t cooperative. He was very cooperative and opened his mouth whenever the doctor asked him too. But he was too nervous that his tongue kept fighting with all the equipment. So the doctor could’t do the job properly. He refused to use plastic booster in his gums because it was hurt (I always refuse when the doctor asked me to use this because it’s not comfortable at all).
What confused me was….at first she said she didn’t need to do the root canal, it’s just the usual teeth patches. But after she couldn’t make it right, she concluded that the boy wasn’t very cooperative but suggested that we must fix the teeth problem very soon because they will affect the growing up of his adult teeth.
Do you know what she suggested to us at the end? She suggested that she should do the job in an operation room in 16th floor, gave the boy anesthetic which would be done by the expert (the anesthetic only will cost $500). He will be put to sleep using gas and injection for a few hours while she’s working on his teeth. Ok……at first I was sooooo shocked that I could’t think and said anything. Wouldn’t it be too dangerous? The boy must not eat or drink 8 hours before the operation and might vomit after the procedure because of the drugs. That was too scary for me! For personal reason, I don’t worry about the cost since we can reimburse it to daddy’s office, but the whole thing just made me speechless.
She said she would be doing the root canal treatments too, but wait a minute…didn’t she say before that it should be just the filling process? I was too shocked to ask any further questions. After the examination, the doctor said lil boy had tried the best that he could and gave him big stickers and a certificate too. How nice…..
I needed some time to digest the information. After I shared the news to my mother, she said just go for it so lil boy doesn’t have to suffer so much because of his teeth. The cavities of the back teeth were quite huge actually. His father also said to do it. But not me. I said let’s give it a try with another dentist, I would try to find a suitable one. I thought he didn’t have this kind of problems with the school dentist before, so why did this happen? And besides, using the anesthetic process just to do the teeth patches? That sounds unreasonable to me. Plus, I don’t this to be a habit in the future. I mean this might happen again in the future, and I don’t want the doctor to put him to sleep every time he/she has to do the tooth filling.
His father said to go for the process because we both had had our root canal treatment, and it took a very long time, not so comfortable procedures, and involving some small needles on the process. He thought lil boy could never handle this.
My opinion about dr.Chan? She was very nice, very patient, willing to explain everything to us…and looked sincere too. She had done great and successful process with other children, but somehow it just didn’t work with my child. I said parents should try bringing their children to her, since she is actually very good.
We brought lil boy to the dentist on Saturday, and after I digested all the procedures and process, I started to think rationally again and began to search for other alternatives. One alternative that I read being very good was GPA Dental. They have some branches, but for our convenience I decided to go to United Square Branch in Novena. I didn’t pick the doctor, it just happened that dr.Park was on duty on that day. I decided to bring him to see another dentist in Monday.
I read a review about a very good and patient male doctor in one of their branch, but somehow it didn’t work with one child. The child couldn’t be handled with soft tone voice, so the parents needed to step in during the process to handle the child. It worked that way. See, every child is different and should be handled differently.
I tried to find reviews about dr.Park, but there wasn’t any. On Sunday, I searched the internet again and find suggestion about this doctor is good and that doctor is good too…….thus making me more confuse than ever. I was very doubtful during Saturday to Monday. I could’t sleep well and kept praying that it better be a success this time.
This questions kept crossing my mind: What if it doesn’t work? Should I try that doctor in Camden instead? What if the doctor suggest for an anesthetic process too? If that happen, maybe I should bring him to NUH instead since this hospital keeps lil boy medical record so if anything happen they can handle it quickly…..and so on….and so on.
At first, lil boy hesitate to go to the dentist again. But I was using all kinds of things to persuade him (I had to bribe him of course), saying that if he can cooperate well and open his mouth big and in a long time, let the doctor put the gum booster….and after all the teeth are patched….than we will:
1. Take him to Jurong Bird Park (he wants to try Birds of Play)
2. Buy him toys in the bazaar
3. Buy him potato twister in the bazaar
Well, after that I was sort of counting all the money that I have to spent when all is done…..hahaha……did I promise too much? Oh never mind as long as all is done.
So, off we go to United Square in one foggy morning. I was so worry during our travel to the dentist, I was sooo nervous, but lil boy looked so calm….I didn’t ask how he felt.
Upon entering the clinic (this is not just for children, but adult too) we saw on the left side of the waiting room stacks of children books, soft toys, and wooden toys. There are also small chairs for children, and they even have a chair in shape of tooth. There is a hopscotch play too. So, lil boy could relax and play while waiting. Well, after the treatment, he refused to go home and spent another hour to play in this small playground.
As usual, I had to fill up a form…..and I asked the staff: “Why are you asking about heart problem?” She said because if the child has heart problem, there might be a chance that there will be some dirt/bacteria (during the dental treatment) might go to the hole of the heart and make the child sick. So the child must consume antibiotics before the treatment. Ok, got that!
Then the doctor herself came out and greeted us. Oh my…she is very young with a very soft voice, and the nurse didn’t look so friendly too unlike the one in Smileworks. Iwas in great doubt about this. We came with my mother, and since there was only one chair in the doctor’s room, she actually came out to find another chair for us. Very nice……
I told the doctor that 2 days ago I brought him to another doctor and it was a mess (I gave her the look….Are you sure you can do this? Well, sorry dr.Park…..that was before I knew you were sooo good in handling lil boy that made me almost cry because of happiness after the process).
When we enter the doctor’s room, one thing that caught my attention immediately was……the little TV screen…..and it was playing Toy Story the movie when we came. Great thing since lil boy likes Toy Story, and he never watched this version before.
The doctor was veeeery patient, spoke in soft tone voice, explaining all the equipment and the process, and gave him time to digest the information. And the nurse was also very good in my surprise. Unlike the one in Smileworks who kept quiet during this process, this one gave everything she could try to persuade my son to open his mouth. When the doctor was busy working, she took the part of talking to my son in a very calming and motivating tone. She was very efficient too. I thought she was very helpful in making all the process a big success after all. Sorry for underestimating you at the first place…….
First, Dr.Park took photos of lil boy’s mouth, and found out there were actually six decaying teeth in total. I was shocked! How are we going to fix them all??? After that, she cleaned the teeth and gums, and sealed them with fluorite to strengthen them. She said the teeth were quite dirty and since there are too many hollow teeth, she needed to seal them first for anticipation. During the process, lil boy had fun watching the movie. So, if all fails…..just bring your child to a doctor who has TV screen to play movie. The nurse also gave him sunglasses so he wouldn’t be dazzled by the lamp.
The doctor only managed to patch one tooth on the first visit. Lil boy got tired and bored after all. She said she didn’t need to do the root canal treatment after seeing his condition. She explained that root canal treatment in adult is different than in children. For little children, the doctor actually just put some medicine unlike the complicated process in adults. Well, at least she filled the biggest hole in lil boy’s teeth.
When asking which doctor that he likes best…lil boy said the second one.Why?
1. Because I don’t have to worry (about the process), I just look and watch the movie……
2. There is a right hand rule…..when I’m not comfortable, I just need to raise my right hand. Not like the other doctor, I had to say hhhmmmmmmmmm…so difficult.
So funny right, and so simple…….
Dr.Park was very detailed in explaining every thing to me, she even taught the lil boy how to brush his teeth. She ushered me out of the room every time she had finished the treatment, and sometimes I still asked her some questions in the reception area. I couldn’t describe all the process here, but it was a very long and stressful one for me. She could manage it very good, and knowing that I was stressful….she gave me the sign of “it’s done” after finishing that big hole. I was so relieved. After the treatment, she showed me the pictures of before and after the treatment in the computer. She knew she couldn’t finish all in just one go, so for lil boy’s convenience…we agreed to do it in phases. Besides, pushing him too much can traumatize him to go to the dentist again.
We’ve been visited this doctor for three times…and lil boy already had his five teeth patched. The one that still left is the temporary filling from the previous doctor, and dr.Park said no need to rush to replace that. But I want this to be finished before P1, so we will go there again next week to finish the last one. It is going to be a tough job, so really hope all will go well on the last visit.
After the adult teeth have fully grown, she suggested to come back to her and lil boy can have the teeth sealed to prevent from cavity again in the future. And oh by the way, the second and third nurse wasn’t as good as the first one. She was very quiet during the process, not being encouraging at all.
Lil boy still likes playing in the mini playground a lot, that on the last visit we decided to come earlier to let him play first before going in. And we hope to catch the Barney and Pingu show too after our next visit.
After every visit, the nurse would give him a sticker that he proudly stamped it on his clothes. When he had to change his clothes at home, he removed the sticker to his new clothes, and did that again until the next morning.
So, at the end, I found this doctor is suitable for my child’s needs and wants, and will certainly recommend her to others. But as I said before….what works for one child might not work for another child. I guess we just have to try to give the best for our children.
And what’s the cost for all these? Not cheap at all as I can say!
And here are the rewards that he already received:
Jurong Bird Park must wait until next week when all is done.
As for the eating habit, it’s almost back to normal……he can eat apples, pear, vegetables, and any hard food, but must be very careful not to eat very hard food with his front teeth since the filling can be broken.