I’ve been an advocate of this idea for years,since I first heard about it. Why do dentists and their teams tolerate families arriving in the practice after school finishes – the children sugar deficient and hyper-active, the parents rushed by traffic congestion and impending dinner-time, the dentist and team frazzled at the end of the day? “Because it suits the parents.” Maybe so in the days of the horse and cart. Not in 21st Century Britain. So why not do those long-suffering parents a favour – and introduce specific days in the calendar when you can “lamb-dip” all those little treasures and get the thing over with. There’s no better a person to ask about this than my partner, Annie Bradley, who, as a hygienist at Meneage Dental in Helston, Cornwall, saw this system in operation for years. When asked about the finer points, she replies: Please bear in mind that the practice I worked in was very different, i.e had two and at one time three full time hygienists with three full time dentists. Childrens days were held during every school holiday. 1 during the Christmas break. 2 during the Easter break. 2-3 during the Summer break and one during each half term holiday. Occasionally these would be themed, for instance a healthy pancake recipe competition on shrove Tuesday, dressing up and decorating the surgery on Halloween, dressing up and raising money on Children in Need day. It you book the dates out in advance you should be able to plan around whats going on at the time. Invite along the local newspaper or local radio. Show Childrens DVDs in the waiting room. We used to book in 6 young children per half hour, all day. Be careful to book the into age related groups. The younger age groups (11 years and under) would all go into the hygienist surgery together (admittedly, we did have the space to be able to cope with that) and all the hygienists would work with the children on disclosing, tooth brushing and dietary advice. The dentist would then come in and do the examinations. Treatments were re-booked for another day. Older children were given a ten minute slot with the hygienist, again for OHI, dietary advice etc and then sent through to the dentists room for an examination. So if it can done in Cornwall – it can be done anywhere – give it a try. A client in Northern Ireland recently shared a newspaper clipping describing his first children’s day – and the journalist was praising the innovation – free positive publicity.
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