Get ‘em while they’re young

Alun Rees explains why truly caring for children is one of the best ways to build your practice.

I sat in on the chief dental officer briefings on the second day of BDIA Showcase.

In particular I wanted to see the ‘DCby1’ (Dental Check by One) award being presented to the Maltings Dental Practice in Grantham by sponsors NASDAL.

My congratulations go to them.

DCby1 is an initiative by the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD) to increase the number of children who access dental care before the age of two.

As usual, awards bring criticisms, often from practices who say: ‘We do that but don’t brag about it’.

In this case I say, why not?

Practice builder

When I started my practices in 1988 and ’89, I devised a marketing plan that included offering specific services to pregnant women and particularly children under two.


Two reasons – firstly, my initial experience of dentistry was aged six, a general anaesthetic in the chair for removal of five teeth, which left me with a fear that took an inspirational dentist to cure 10 years later.

Secondly, throughout my career, experience showed that the greatest practice builder was to be seen to care, truly care, for children.

During our focused children’s sessions and days, we addressed their present and future needs and it was clear to their parents that we were dedicated to dental health.

It wasn’t always easy, coping with questions from the dental practice board about the number of ‘edentulous’ exams that I did.

Worse, however, was the public criticism from a minority of colleagues.

They suggested that looking at the mouths of children during the first few months of life, giving parents advice on diet, brushing and what to expect during teething was somehow inappropriate.

I didn’t care, I watched the vast majority of my patients grow up disease free and my practice grew on the recommendation of my youngest patients.

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