A child’s first trip to the dentist shouldn’t be a scary thing! Check out our ultimate guide to kids’ dental health and the best family dentists in Singapore!
Poor dentists get a bad rap; the truth of the matter is, if you start going early and make good dental hygiene a priority, chances are you shouldn’t have to fear a trip to the dentist. And yet, many children do find going to the dentist a very frightening experience.
To help them understand what’s in store for them, and to promote healthy dental habits for life, you might want to read them a book or let them watch a video that calms the nerves. We spoke to top dentists around Singapore to get their top tips on promoting healthy dental habits – from when to schedule baby’s first dentist appointment, to how to encourage healthy brushing habits – along with their favourite books, videos, and apps for making a first trip to the dentist a fun one. Check out their pearls of wisdom in our gallery below!
Perhaps most importantly, be sure to choose a good, child-friendly dentist. We’ve rounded up the best family dentists in Singapore for you to choose from, mama! Good luck and remember to keep those pearly whites shiny and bright!
Dr. Graeme Burlinson got his start in paediatric dentistry visiting scholkids in his native Australia as “Colgate’s Dr. Rabbit”, so he clearly knows his stuff! East Coast mums praise his friendly, relaxed manner and the convenience of his Siglap practice right on East Coast Road. The practice caters to kids and adults of all ages, and also covers orthodontics (including clear aligners like Invisalign and state-of-the-art FASTBRACES).
Burlinson Dental Surgery, 697 East Coast Rd, #01-01, Singapore 459060, Appointments: (+65) 6241 3088, www.burlinsondental.com
This family-friendly practice in Bukit Timah is run by Dr Prashanth, a father of two young boys with 18 years’ dental experience treating families in the UK, Australia and Singapore. Mamas love visiting Azure Dental for its yummy coffee and fun music, while kiddos from the age of 16 months feel comfortable under Dr Prashanth’s warm, patient care. Azure also offers orthodontics services including Invisalign and Simpliclear.
Quote ‘Sassy Mama‘ when you make your appointment to receive a complimentary fluoride treatment worth $30!
Azure Dental, 22 Sixth Avenue, Singapore 276480, Tel: (+65)6463 6318 www.azuredental.sg
The laid-back and friendly atmosphere at the Siglap practice is ideal for families and kids, and reflects the warm, personalised service you can expect during treatment, mama. Canaan’s team of highly-experienced, well-qualified dentists provide a wide range of services, with everything from children’s dentistry and orthodontics, to sports dentistry, smile rejuvenation, dental implants, and teeth whitening!
Canaan Dental Surgery, 29 Upper East Coast Road Crescendo Building, Singapore 455294 (Opposite Siglap Shell Petrol Station Closest Mrt Kembangan or Bedok), www.canaan.com.sg
With state-of-the-art facilities in both Singapore and KL, this family practice has everything your whole fam needs for a perfect smile: including Invisalign, conventional braces, early interceptive treatments and much more. An American-trained orthodontist, Dr Lee approaches every patient with personal attention and a completely customised treatment plan. Most importantly, she strongly believes in both early intervention and takes a “no extractions unless all other options are exhausted” policy. Just what we like to hear!
Singapore, Collyer Quay: [email protected], 16 Collyer Quay, #36-01/02 (Penthouse) | Tel: +(65) 6835 9571/9647
Malaysia: Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Suite B241, 8 Jalan Bukit Pantai, Kuala Lumpur | Tel: +(60) 12 345 3168
Dental Essence is a family and general dental clinic opened in 2009 by a British and Australian dentist team who’ve been practicing in Singapore for over 15 years. Since then the team has grown to also include a specialist in Periodontics as well as an oral surgeon. From their convenient location at Tudor Court next to Tanglin Mall, the clinic combines modern technology and a conservative approach with a homey, relaxed ambiance that’s comfortable for the littlest patients. Doctor Andrew Lui is very gentle and kids have been known to kick and scream on their way OUT of his office!
Sassy Kids can get a comprehensive exam, scaling and polishing, air-prophyflex, and fluoride treatment for just $125, and Sassy Mamas can get all of the above plus consultation and X-Ray (Bitewing OR Panoramic) for $175. Applicable for first visit only; be sure to mention SASSY MAMA when booking!
Dental Essence, 127 Tanglin Road, Tudor Court (right next to Tanglin Mall), Singapore 247922, Tel: (+65) 6733 9433, www.dentalessence.com.sg
The Dental Studio (TDS) is a comprehensive one-stop dental centre that strongly believes in personalised service for every single patient, making an effort to treat each patient as a unique individual. In addition to general dentists, TDS employs a group of resident and visiting dental specialists with a common goal – to practise ethical and high quality dentistry. Their two conveniently located clinics (in the CBD and at Orchard) provide affordable and quality dental care and services like teeth whitening, braces, and Invisalign, along with all-important family dentistry and a kids’ dentist. The team of specialists also covers Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Prosthodontics and Periodontics.
Mention Sassy Mama at booking for a Scaling and Polishing appointment at $86 nett per person (or $120 nett for 2). You can also arrange a braces or Invisalign consultation for the special price of $54 nett.
The Dental Studio
290 Orchard Road, Paragon #13-01/06 Singapore 238859, Tel: (+65) 6836 0050
11 Collyer Quay #03-28, The Arcade Singapore 049317, Tel: (+65) 62211395
A group of internationally-trained dentists and hygienists, Expat Dental offers a comprehensive suite of services ranging from general and paediatric dentistry, to oral surgery, orthodontics, facial aesthetics and even sports dentistry. Providing dental excellence and comfort to patients of all ages is their top priority, mama!
Expat Dental, Novena Medical Center #08-15/16 & #11-04, 10 Sinaran Drive Square 2, Singapore 307506, Tel: (+65) 6250 0048, www.expatdental.com
This family-oriented group of dental clinics has three convenient locations across the island (River Valley, Tanjong Katong, and Upper Bukit Timah). Clinics are spacious and kid-friendly, and feature state-of-the-art technologies including a 3D intraoral scanner, dental crowns that can be 3D-milled within an hour, dental lasers and more. Kiddos love getting to watch cartoons on overhead TV screens while child-friendly dentists do their thing!
Tanjong Katong: 354 Tanjong Katong Road Singapore 437118
Bukit Timah: 110 Jalan Jurong Kechil 01-01 Singapore 598606
River Valley: 401 River Valley Road Singapore 248299
The only international dental clinic network in Singapore with six locations across the island, MALO CLINIC is renowned for its ‘All on 4 Protocol/Teeth in a Day’ concept that was popularised by Professor Paulo Malo. The network’s commitment to technology includes low-radiation digital imaging equipment using green technology. Their team of well-qualified Children’s Dentists can address everything from tongue tie release, to standard cleaning and polishing, to orthodontic assessment, all in the name of ensuring healthy and appropriate dental growth!
MALO CLINIC Nuffield Dental Kovan
2 Kovan Road, #01-03, Simon Plaza, Singapore 548008
Tel: 6281 4313
MALO CLINIC Nuffield Dental Seletar
1 Seletar Road #01-07/08, Greenwich V, Singapore 807011
Tel: 6481 4261
MALO CLINIC Nuffield Dental Serangoon Gardens
57 Serangoon Garden Way, Singapore 555953
Tel: 6280 7909
MALO CLINIC Nuffield Dental Siglap
914 East Coast Rd #01-03, The Domain, Singapore 459108
Tel: 6636 1303
MALO CLINIC Nuffield Dental Simpang Bedok
430 Upper Changi Road #01-63, East Village Singapore 487048
Tel: 6702 3238
The Dental Implant Centre Private Limited
1 Raffles Place #04-43/44/45 Singapore 048616
Tel: 6532 2644
Priding themselves in providing holistic dental care in a comfortable and relaxing environment, the Orthodontic Clinic’s highly qualified team offers a wide range of services not just in orthodontics, but also in general dentistry (including for kids) and cosmetic dentistry. In fact they’re a huge hit with kids, who love coming in to check out their library of storybooks and choosing a favorite cartoon to watch during checkups! Mamas, meanwhile, will love their convenient location close to Orchard MRT.
The Orthodontic Clinic, 9 Scotts Road, Scotts Medical Center (Above Pacific Plaza), #08-02, Singapore 228210, www.orthodontic-clinic.sg
With a mission to provide excellent, caring and honest dentistry to patients of all ages from its modern, comfortable office in Bukit Timah, Pure NZ has a particular specialisation in Paediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics. The team of Dr Justin and Dr Jo offer relaxed and friendly service befitting their Kiwi roots; with kid-friendly décor, plenty of toys, distracting movies, stickers and reward certificates, the practice is a huge hit with kiddos.
Pure NZ Dental, 62 Jalan Jurong Kechil, JK Building Singapore (located at Bukit Timah near Beauty World MRT), Tel: (+65) 6463 0257, After Office Hours: (+65) 9679 8770, www.purenzdental.com
This modern family dental clinic right along East Coast Road in the heart of Katong is headed up by Dr Kuek Yit Liang, a graduate of the University of Melbourne’s Dental School who’s been practicing in Singapore since 2005. Patients rave about Dr Kuek’s warm, gentle manner (so key with kiddos!); he recommends taking bubs on their first trip to the dentist as soon as their first teeth have emerged, and then scheduling regular cleanings from the age of about 3. Dr Kuek also has a particular interest in orthodontics, and provides a range of options to help straighten teeth out at any age!
Raintree Dental, 107 East Coast Road, Singapore 428799, www.raintreedental.com.sg
Created by Australian dentist Dr Marcus Cooney, Smilefocus has been caring for the Singapore community for over 20 years! Their team of international doctors covers a range of treatment areas (including orthodontics and cosmetic and general dentistry), but they’re particularly known for their focus on children’s dentistry. In fact their offices are equipped with everything from toys, colouring books and even TV to keep kiddos entertained (and distracted if need be). Your kiddos just might start begging to take another trip to the dentist, mama!
Conveniently located in Novena a short walk from the MRT, Smile Makers caters to the whole family, offering everything from dental checks for pregnant mamas to special introductory visits for little ones’ first time at the dentist. They also provide a full suite of orthodontics services, with braces for teens and options like Invisalign for adults. We love that they display their fees right on their website, and that they offer super convenient online booking. Clearly this is a very mama-friendly practice!
Smile Makers Dental Clinic, #09-26 Novena Medical Center, 10 Sinaran Drive, Singapore 307506, Tel: (+65) 63972739, www.smilemakers.com.sg
Established in 1979, this award-winning, multi-specialty dental practice has four clinics with central, convenient locations and topnotch facilities. Paediatric Dentist Dr Elizabeth Tan has over 30 years’ experience working with children and special needs patients; the other 11 doctors on staff cover specialty areas including Orthodontics, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Endodontics, Periodontics, and Prosthodontics. With over 200 years of collective experience between them (!), it’s no wonder that many of Specialist Dental Group’s doctors are considered key opinion leaders within their specialty areas, both in Singapore and regionally!
Specialist Dental Group® Orchard, Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, 3 Mount Elizabeth, #08-03/08/10, Singapore 228510, Tel: (+65) 6733 7883, [email protected]
Specialist Dental Group® Gleneagles, Gleneagles Medical Centre, 6 Napier Road, #07-17, Singapore 258499, Tel: (+65) 6471 5150, [email protected]
This multi-disciplinary dental centre has been in practice for more than 43 years! Perched atop Ngee Ann City in an ultra-modern penthouse, the practice offers advanced equipment and an outstanding dental team of 14 general dentists, 1 endodontist, 1 paediatric dentist, 2 periodontists, 1 oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and 4 orthodontists. Talk about a one-stop shop (and with a location like that, it’s easyy to reward yourself with some retail therapy afterwards)!
TP Dental Surgeons, 391B Orchard Road, #26-01 Ngee Ann City Tower B, Singapore 238874, Tel: (65) 6737 9011, www.tpdental.com.sg
Children’s Dental Program at NUH
Praised for their reasonable prices and convenient for families in the West, the Children’s Dental Program at NUH deals with all aspects of oral care for little ones. From prevention, diagnosis and management of kids’ dental problems such as gum disease, dental anomalies and injury to children’s teeth.
NUH Dental Centre, National University Hospital, Main Building, Centre 1, Level 1 5 Lower Kent Ridge Road Singapore 119074
Tel: (+65) 6772 4921
Dr. Scott Chao, Dental Icon @ Costa
Dr. Chao gets raves from East Coast mums for being gentle and patient with little ones, and we hear his office staff is a dream to work with as well (always a plus!). The practice also accepts Baby Bonus funds.
Dr. Rashid at the Kids Dentist
The emphasis is on fun at this Camden Medical Centre practice. Specialising in paediatric dentistry since 1997, Dr. Rachid is a father of two as well as the President of Singapore’s Society for Paediatric Dentistry. With video games, a foosball table and a playhouse, his office looks like more fun than a lot of playgrounds!
GPA Dental (Holland Village, Novena, Bugis)
With three locations across Singapore, GPA Dental has developed its own “Kids Teeth” program with a dedicated kids’ treatment room and scaled-down, child-sized equipment. It’s also the only clinic in Singapore to offer the Waterlase system, which promises no pain, no drilling and no injections! We’ve heard great things about Dr. Ong at the Holland Village location.
Holland Village, 3 Lorong Liput, Holland V Shopping Mall, Singapore 277725
Tel: (+65) 6466 4900
United Square, 101 Thomson Road #01-96/97, Singapore 307591
Tel: (+65) 6251 9633
Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Road #14-04/05, Singapore 188778
Tel: (+65) 6732 1020
Kids Dental World at Mt. Elizabeth Novena
Dr. Ong has more than 20 years’ experience and is a founding member of Singapore’s Society of Paediatric Dentistry. Her practice specializes in working with children, from infants through adolescents, and her shiny new office offers a fun and colourful environment for kiddos.
“The biggest issue we face is parents projecting their own fears onto children. Don’t ask your kids to be “brave” at the dentist! That makes the whole thing sound scarier than it is; we see so many children in our practice and they love coming to the denstist! We always have little games and chats and incentives for the kids; we have special bubble gum-flavoured polishing paste and strawberry-flavoured topical anaesthetic. We also have a wide variety of children’s and adults’ DVDs – everything ranging from Peppa Pig and Enchanted to Kung Fu Panda. The kids love it and their mouths end up being wide open in awe!” – Dental Essence
“A large part of dealing with children at the dentist is dependent on the dentist themselves. Our dentists are trained to engage children’s attention by showing rather than telling, and this gives the child a sense of calmness and control. Our dentists take the time to talk and explain to kids what we do, and cool gadgets like the intra-oral camera never cease to fascinate little ones!” – Pure NZ Dental
“Don’t transfer your anxieties to your kids, just take the child to the dentist BEFORE there is a problem!” – Smile Makers
“Avoid using phrases such as ‘Don’t worry’ or ‘It won’t hurt’, as these comments only instill doubts not previously present. Our experienced dentists enjoy creating a positive dental experience for every child, and can help with any questions you may have to help your child through their dental visits.” – Expat Dental
“We usually recommend a first visit around age 3 or 3.5, unless there’s some issue of particular concern like teeth not coming through, dark spots on the teeth, or difficulty eating,” — Burlinson Dental
“We recommend making the first dental appointment for your child as soon as his/her first tooth emerges. Schedule the appointment for a time of day when the child is usually in a good mood, like playtime and after thair nap, rather than just before. Ideally, both parents and any other primary caregivers will be present during the first appointment. Typically, kids will be ready for a full dental check-up and clean from about 3-4 years.” – Raintree Dental
“Based on the recommendations of both the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry and the Australian Dental Association, your child’s first dental visit should be within 6 months from when they get their first baby teeth, or by the age of 1. We see a lot of kids aged 3-4 years where it’s already too late to save their eeth as they’ve been affected by early childhood or nursing bottle caries.” – Dental Essence
“We see children of all ages from 6 months onwards. The first dentist appointment should be when the first tooth has erupted; oral care needs to start the minute the tooth is in the mouth.” – TP Dental
“The first visit is usually about having fun, getting to know the dental office and allowing your dentist to catch a glimpse of your toddler’s new teeth to ensure development is proceeding normally. Every subsequent visit will become more and more comfortable and will grow your toddler’s dental confidence!” – Expat Dental
“With regard to Orthodontics, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. They may find a problem that could benefit from early treatment, which could then prevent a more serious problem from development. This helps make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.” – The Orthodontic Clinic
“During a young child’s first visit, we’ll count his/her teeth, reinforce good dental hygiene habits, and provide a lighthearted introduction to the idea of a dental visit. We’ll also discuss with the child’s parents and other caregivers the child’s diet, how to develop good cleaning habits, and other oral hygiene Do’s and Don’t’s.” – Raintree Dental
“The most important part of visiting the dentist is the time spent talking about oral care. Our dentists make an effort to ensure parents and children understand the basics of oral health in terms of sugary foods and cleaning. We explain the cause of dental decay to the children themselves so they understand the importance of brushing. We also encourage parents to use rewards charts for good oral hygiene at home.” – TP Dental
“Prep your child by telling them you’re going to visit a friend who will help care for their teeth. Practice how they need to open their mouth and pretend to count their teeth using a flashlight. Make sure the child is well-rested and has eaten well; we’ve had parents bring their sleeping toddlers in, and of course when the child wakes up, they are NOT going to be happy! Finally, don’t set expectations too high. Sometime shy children may not respond well to strangers, just try again another day.” – Smile Makers
“Make brushing at home a habit; items like cartoon brushes, a reward system, and brushing together with your child can all help!” – Burlinson Dental
“Brush your own teeth with your kids. Children learn by example and repeated practice. If your child watches you brush and floss your own teeth every day, cleaning their teeth becomes the norm. Those three minutes spent together also become a bonding opportunity!” – Raintree Dental
“We tell parents that if the kids brush for 2 minutes in the morning and 2 minutes at night every day for a month, they should get a new toothbrush at the end of the month. This kind of positive reinforcement also makes the process more fun.” – Dental Essence
“Routine is important, so getting kids to brush at a set time and place improves adoption of healthy brushing habits. Flossing is what people usually don’t do, and this is where parents should step in. Turn it into a game, or reward them for flossing and you’ll be starting them on good dental habits for life.” — Pure NZ Dental
“Make brushing part of bathtime; tell kids they need to clean inside and outside. We also recommend singing songs while brushing, and letting kids choose their own toothbrushes so they have a sense of ownership.” – Smile Makers
“Up to age 6 or 7, it’s essential that you are actively invovled in helping your child brush their teeth twice a day. Even after this age, checking their brushing is still important. Use videos, brush to an animated song or design a toothbrushing chart and award a gold star twice a day for a job well done.” – Expat Dental
“Toothbrushes should be soft-to-medium in strength and not too big; basically follow the age range on the package. Toothpaste should contain fluoride in different concentrations for different age ranges.” – Burlinson Dental
“The most important part is to brush and floss daily. Dr Kuek himself uses an electric toothbrush, because for the same duration of 2-3 minutes of brushing, more cleaning can be achieved, especially in hard-to-reach places.” – Raintree Dental
The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist
Curious George Visits the Dentist
Colgate Adventure Books (electronic)
Dora the Explorer: Show Me Your Smile! A Visit to the Dentist
Going to the Dentist (Usborne First Experiences)
Maisy, Charley and the Wobbly Tooth
Sesame Street Ready, Set, Brush!
Lead image sourced via Nishan Halim DMD. Gallery image #3 sourced via Ader Iblog. Brought to you in partnership with Burlinson Dental Surgery, Raintree Dental, Canaan Dental Surgery, Dental Essence, Malo Clinic Nuffield Dental, Pure NZ Dental, TP Dental Surgeons, Smile Makers Dental Clinic, Expat Dental, Specialist Dental Group, SmileFocus, Gentle Dental, Orthodontic Clinic and Dr Catherine Lee Orthodontics