I don’t know about you, but when I was a child I had some horrid experiences with dentists. So much so, that is scarred me for life, and ensured that I did my level best to avoid one at all costs. It really became a problem later as a young adult, when I ended up being every medical aid savings plan’s nightmare. My mouth could easily deplete a savings account in one dental visit as I grew older. That being said, it wasn’t my parents fault, we were limited to military dental services and they couldn’t help that the dentists there were not focussed on pediatric dentistry and making sure the child was happy and felt safe.
About a year ago we moved into a house right next door to a dentist. I opted to make this dentist my practitioner because of convenience yes but also because she was actually really good, and I felt comfortable. She was a non comparable to and far cry from the military butchers I had come to know as a child, but I still wondered about taking my kids to her, and as an ostrich would, I had put it off more than once. My eldest had already been for her first dental check up at my dentist, after she complained of pain and that wasn’t too bad at all, but I had not even contemplated taking the others.
Later on in the same year, a wonderful thing happened, and a new child only,pediatric specialist dentist, opened her doors in my area. It was all about the child, even down to the finest detail in her decor, and of course her very, now famous Dinosaur dental chair. I watched her Facebook page like a hawk for her launch and opening, and started pshyching myself up for the first time I would take my kids there.
Now, living next to a dentist, you might think could come in handy in the case of an emergency, (We seem to have quite a few of these, you can read about the last one here) And yes I agree it could, but when we were faced with an out of the blue kiddy dental emergency one evening during a bout of Load-Shedding, I didn’t hesitate to look up the details of Dr Amanda Marais at DinoDent.
Yes I could have phoned the after-hours number on my neighbours wall but this was a pediatric case of note, and I wasn’t sure that a regular dentist would handle the situation correctly or like I thought it should be (enter helicopter mom here). You see my son and daughter had collided in a dark passage while playing silly buggers during load-shedding and my Son’s two top front Milk Teeth connected with my 3-year-old daughter’s Coconut hard forehead. His teeth were knocked clean backward, and were virtually able to be picked right out. I panicked, these were milk teeth yes, but I didn’t know what kind of permanent damage may have been done, and there was a lot of blood and my boy was really sore. I took pictures but it was so dark and I couldn’t get a nice shot, the picture doesn’t do the actual injury justice but you can check it out here.
It was rather late in the evening, and I knew that Dr Amanda had a smallish child so, I was worried that if I phoned her I would wake her baby so I sent her a whatsapp with a picture, (Bear in mind we had never met and were not yet patients) and simply asked her if she thought It was severe enough to warrant an emergency visit to her. I actually didn’t expect to get more than a reply by whatsapp, but was completely blown away by an incoming phone call not 2 minutes after pressing send. She was just so sweet and caring, and asked me a few questions about what happened and how it looked. We chatted for a few minutes and because the bleeding had stopped she told me that she thought it would be fine if I just game him something for pain and rinsed his mouth with salt water and then came to see her first thing in the morning. She told me to come before her first booked appointment. I was so grateful but also just so taken a back by her generosity with her time and caring manner in which she dealt with me the very typically panicking mother.
At 8am the following morning we were standing in front of the DinoDent practice. By that time the teeth had actually started settling back a little and we had gotten rid of most of the blood (The mouth heals remarkably quickly) we went inside and what greeted us was just the most wonderful, fun, happy and homey atmosphere. So bright and colourful, and the big smile of Dr Marais and her assistant followed suit. My Son who had been rather nervous before we got there lit up, and became quite excited about his pending dental visit. We filled in some forms and went inside to have a look.
When we went inside we were so excited to see a dental chair that looks like a great big Dinosaur and to boot, there is a little TV attached to it and Dr Marais gives the patient a choice as to what he/she wants to watch. This is the best thing ever, it totally sets the child into another frame of mind and distracts them from what is going on. Once settled watching a movie Dr Amanda and her assistant work carefully with the child, talking all the way and keeping them happy and comfortable. My Son who has never been to a dentist before was quite happy to open his mouth for her and have her touch his teeth and look, he even happily accepted and x-ray. After checking things out Dr Amanda said that she wasn’t too worried by what she saw because the root system had already started preparing for the teeth to fall out anyway but that it might be a while. She didn’t seem to think there would be any permanent damage. She said that the loose teeth could become very uncomfortable, even infected but that if we were happy to we should wait a few days and see if they settle back into place. She said that if the pain persisted or if there was infection that she would have to extract them. She was very clear that she would only do this under sedation as it is otherwise way too traumatic for the child. She was open about every cost involved and gave me the choice at the end of the day. Too often I have been to the dentist and get bullied into procedures without knowing my options. I loved how gentle a stance she took with us. It was obvious to me that all that was important to her was the comfort of my child. To cut a long story short, we opted to wait a little and within a few days the teeth had settled right back into place and it didn’t result in infection. My dear son went around like that for a few months before the teeth started to come out for themselves and the tooth mouse visited just a few weeks ago. I was so great-full that we were given the option to wait and that he didn’t have to endure an extraction although I am sure it would have alright if Dr Amanda was doing it. Another really fantastic thing that the practice has to offer patients is a super great way to deliver anaesthetic when procedures are required. She has a specialised electric dental wand where cute crocodile sleeve hides the syringe and the electronic dental wand takes the pain out of the prick. I was grateful we didn’t need to test it out that day but I am very excited to know that it is available if we need it. There are no scary syringes at this practice. Plus the children can play on a jungle Gym and soon will have other entertainment in the waiting area also like Xbox and DVD’s. I am thinking I should see if I can get an appointment for myself actually.
I really was just so impressed with everything and so extremely glad that what could have been an immensely traumatizing experience for my Son was anything but. Dr Marais and her DinoDent practice will always have my patronage, and I really wanted to share her services with you too. So if you are in the Cape Town area and are looking for a great Child only dental practitioner and especially for a first dental check-up, then I highly suggest to make a booking with them. You can even do it online on their website here. I thought I would put in a little bit of information about the practice below and some images. You will also be able to find the contact details and how to connect with her.
The DinoDent official website has just recently launched and it is lovely. You can go and have a look at it here. I thought that I would share a little of the information with you here too.
So why should you go to DinoDent?:
Taken from the DinoDent website.
DinoDent is a child focused dental practice, providing treatment in a fun and positive way. As I am a parent myself, I know how important it is to work with children in a very patient, creative and playful way.
DinoDent has a dinosaur dental chair that has a DVD player and an octopus that hides the instruments! You wont find any scary syringes here. A cute crocodile sleeve hides the syringe and the electronic dental wand takes the pain out of the prick. Come play at the dentist with a jungle-gym (coming soon), XBOX 360, DVD’s and lots more!
Dr Amanda also shares with us on her website about what age you should take your child for a first dental visit.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), a child should visit the dentist at age one and other resources say when the first tooth erupts. The idea behind such an early visit is to educate parents on good oral hygiene and dietary habits. In this way the focus is made on preventative and not restorative dentistry.
Dr Amanda’s qualifications are amazing:
PDD (Orthodontics) at UWC: March 2010
BChD at US/ UWC: March 2008
1st Dental Visit
Special needs treatment
I also really love the interactive website she has created. It’s great because you can show your kids in advance where they will be going and there is even a page where you can play some games online.
One really great thing I am also very excited to tell you about is that Dr Amanda is offering a great promotion for the month of November.
A FREE POLISH (CLEANING worth R132) when you bring your child for a dental check-up with her.
You can find the practice here:
Fax: 021 851 9715