Meet The Tooth-fairy
deccan chronicle| Gokul M G
With play zones, music to get their mind off the treatment and kids counsellors on premises, Dr Shifa is redefining hospital visits for kids
Dr Shifa Shamsudeen
The doctor’s clinic is not a happy place for most children. And when it’s a dental clinic, the stress levels are magnified. ‘Dentophobia’ or fear of the dentist is common among kids. And that’s what Dr. Shifa Shamsudeen of paediatric dental clinic ‘We Little’ seeks to change.
Dental health is an integral part of a child’s wellbeing, and it is crucial to maintain oral health right from the start. The best way is to increase awareness about this important aspect of health.
The first step to effective dental care is removing the fear of dentists. Dentophobia is real and so, Dr Shifa has taken care to transform her clinic into a place of joy. "We have a play area spread over a large part of our facility. When children walk in, they don’t feel they’re entering a clinic. A lot of activities are available for them to engage in, including reading books," she says.
Parents usually feel their children’s oral health does not need attention till they start teething, or till a certain age. At We Lttle, a lot of importance is given to making both parents and children aware of how important it is to look after the mouth right from the start.
"We sometimes think the mouth is just for eating and for producing a beautiful smile. But that's not the case," says Dr. Shifa. "The mouth is the entry to your body and if it's not hygienic, it can create a lot of problems, not just for your teeth but to your overall well-being. We have very little awareness about this."
There is a widespread myth that a child’s milk teeth don’t matter, as they will fall out overnight. "On the contrary, good oral health in baby teeth is very important. It is essential for the development of permanent adult teeth. If your child gets a tooth infection/cavity that is bad, it can certainly affect the growth of the underlying adult tooth," she warns.
At We Little, the focus is on functional dentistry. "Functional dentistry skills are used to discover root causes and abnormalities responsible for a patient’s dental problems. "This branch of dentistry helps us to make patients aware of the real reason for their dental problems," says Dr. Shifa. "It is popularly believed that eating sweets or not brushing the teeth are why a child develops dental cavities. But it could be due to a wide range of reasons, including the way they eat, chew and swallow. Once the root cause is identified, we may be able to get the patient to make lifestyle changes that may be causing the problem," she explains.
"If something's not right with what we eat, how we eat, and how we use our mouth, it could cause crooked teeth," says the dentist. "So we correct the oral and muscle functions and ensure proper development of the jaws with our protocol called Myoline. It prevents children from developing crooked teeth from the age of five years."
"We follow painless dentistry and all the safety protocols are in place. If you can take the fear factor out, children will be fine with the treatment," Dr. Shifa stresses.