“As parents, we all know that oral hygiene is important. We know our children should brush their teeth twice a day, floss regularly, eat as little sugar as possible, and drink water rather than fizzy drinks or juices, and we also know that they should see a dentist regularly. But when should they see a specialist paediatric dentist? Well here’s someone who can throw some light on that question for us.
Interviewer: Hello Harleen.
Dr Harleen Kumar: Hi Mel.
Interviewer: As a specialist paediatric dentist, how would you advise parents on what kind of dental clinician their child should see and when?
Dr Harleen Kumar: When it comes to children’s dentistry there is certainly a role that is played by general dentists and dental therapists. You go to see them for a routine check-ups, cleans, fluoride, dental sealants and small cavities. But there are a whole host of circumstances may you may consider taking your child to a specialist paediatric dentist, also known as a paedodontist.
Interviewer: And what are those reasons?
Dr Harleen Kumar: often parents request a consult with the highest qualified clinician available. That’s one good reason to see yours or be referred to a specialist paediatric dentist.
Interviewer: For sure, and what else?
Dr Harleen Kumar: At Smile Solutions, we recommend you see a paediatric specialist if your child suffers from any injury to their mouth or teeth, severe overcrowding of their teeth, problems with taking care of their own dental hygiene at home, visible decay at the tender age of 2, 3 or 4, more than one serious cavity, severe toothache, swelling of the gums or cheeks, if they have a fear of the dentist, or any other special needs in the behavioural arena.
Interviewer: that’s quite a lot of reasons to see a specialist.
Dr Harleen Kumar: it is, and that’s because our specific training and qualifications focused on the growth, development and treatment of children’s teeth. Also on preventing decay rather than treating it after it happens. Healthy children’s teeth, are the healthy adult teeth of the future, and that’s what gives us such a big responsibility as paediatric dentists.
Interviewer: so tell me more about the qualifications you need as a registered specialist paediatric dentist?
Dr Harleen Kumar: to qualify as a registered specialist paediatric dentist in Australia, you first have to acquire your general dentistry degree. Then you study for a further 3 to 4 years to obtain a master’s degree or an equivalent degree, in children’s dentistry.
Interviewer: I can imagine a large part of your skill set would involve understanding child psychology.
Dr Harleen Kumar: Definitely. You need to be good at establishing children’s trust by knowing how to communicate with them in a friendly way, and in the right sort of environment. That’s why at Smile Solutions, we’ve located some of our paediatric services in the iconic tower of the building where our practice is based. The Manchester Unity Tower is where the Smile Solutions Tooth Fairy is said to live, and visiting the tower is an ideal way to distract children when they come to see the specialists.
Interviewer: Lucky Kids!
Dr Harleen Kumar: That’s how we like it at Smile Solutions.”