Dr Premila Naidu: Taking Dental Care to the New Level of Kindness and Fun-filled Experiences

Dr Premila Naidu
Dr Premila Naidu

If someone asks you what is the most severe healthcare issue in children today, then Dr Premila Naidu bets that almost all of you won’t even think of paediatric dental decay, which keeps affecting children’s diet, nutrition, health, growth, development, and overall wellbeing. She insists, “Yes, as kids’ dentists, we cannot keep calm anymoreWe believe in spreading awareness at all levels and all segments of society.” From school camps, health talks, and camps at IT segments and apartments to orphanages and government schools. Dr Premila Naidu started her journey by starting Bangalore’s first exclusive dental clinic for children, and now has chain of dental clinics under the brand name Smallbites for children and also Smilestation which believes in giving the best healthy smile to adults.

On this noble mission, Dr Premila Naidu started her journey with a dream of making dentistry fun for children, and she pursued it, even though it involved pledging all her wedding jewellery. She believed kids’ oral health needs more attention and deserves more awareness. She says, “Oral health is directly related to a Child’s nutrition, and few are aware of it. Dental caries is the second most common disease in children, after the common flu, and no one talks about the prevention and treatment in our country. It may seem a small issue, but repercussions run deep in.”

It was in 2007 that she set out on a mission, conducting camps in schools and preschools talking about paediatric dentistry. Now, when children with Autism and Sensory processing disorders are on the rise, and she feels these children suffer because of a lack of awareness and inclusion, she is trying to move mountains to spread awareness of children with special health needs. This year again, against all odds and bearing the brunt of the pandemic, she has formed her own company called PnG Healthcare with her husband Dr. Gurudev, who is also a Cosmetic Dentist. Now they have Smilestation which takes care of all adult dental requirement and Smallbites, which remains an exclusive dental center for children.

Small Bites Dental Clinic –

India’s first sensory-adapted dental centre in Bangalore is a fully inclusive clinic providing large spaces for children to play, wheelchair accessible, stress-free environment, and, most importantly, making dental care more comfortable for children with special needs.

Dr Premila’s intent behind establishing Small Bites is that oral care isn’t restricted to only chewing and masticating, ensuring the teeth and gums are cared for. Oral care is very important for children’s psychological and physiological health and wellbeing. While children generally become anxious with dental intervention, children with special needs find it particularly hard to undergo treatment. As a result, they face continuous ongoing poor dental hygiene and find it very difficult to get the right kind of oral treatment. The reasons for this are many;

  • Lack of access, especially when such speciality dental clinics are rare even in cities. Wheelchair accessibility, sensory adapted environment parking for individuals on wheelchair are some of the problem areas we have addressed in our center.
  • Non-cooperation by the child. Neuro-diverse as well as Neuro Typical children find it difficult to let someone near them, and any dental intervention is fraught with fear and anxiety.
  • Children with special needs need a little more time to get adjusted to the environment, typical dental clinics may be a scary place. So many times they do not receive the required dental care. We at our center provide play area and some space for them to unwind, before the dental treatment.

Fostering Innovative Dentistry Solutions

Dental care centres, too, are unfamiliar with handling such children. Designed and set up like a typical dental clinic, they treat patients generally without specifically looking into the child’s needs. This results in being unprepared to address the sensory needs of neuro-diverse children and being unable to give them adequate oral care.

Sensory over-stimulation in a dental clinic can be as simple as bright fluorescent lights to touch in and around the mouth and the smell and taste of oral care products, which all have the potential to negatively impact such children.

Once a fear of the place sets in, it becomes impossible to provide adequate oral care unless the child is sedated –in extreme cases – to get some critical dental intervention done. It is critical to identify innovative solutions to address such children and provide them with the essential dental hygiene and care they need. Small Bites Dental Experience Centre provides this at its newly opened centre in Bhartiya Mall of Bengaluru, Bhartiya City – North Bangalore.

By modifying the sensory characteristics of the dental office for children it helps in reducing physiological anxiety and behavioural distress, OUR centre hopes to put such children at ease the minute they walk into the clinic.

Sensory Adapted Dental Environment (SADE), as found at Small Bites, does the following for your children;

  • Brings down physiological pain, distress, and sensory discomfort during routine checkups and dental cleaning.
  • Pre-empt and plan for the dental checkup of the child minus the stress and fear of a regular dental environment.
  • Distract the child from the machines, sounds and chaos that accompany a regular dental environment.
  • Ensure shorter dental cleaning time, fewer staff to manage the children and reduced need for anaesthesia to perform even routine examinations.

With experienced dentists and medical staff who know how to handle children with sensory issues, our clinic provides them with all the comfort they need to make the dental experience calm, soothing and less stressful.

A Strong-Willed Social Transformer

Dr Premila is a strong-willed woman who wants other women to believe in their dreams. She has come a long way from no banks giving her loans for her first set-up to having India’s unique dental clinics and being featured in Fortune India. She believes winning this award would give her the strength and creating a more inclusive and accessible world, starting from dental clinics, shops, malls, restaurants and common places, and last, but not least, help women believe in their dreams.

When probed about what motivated her to launch the first-of-its-kind multi-sensorial dental clinic in Bangalore, Dr Premila reveals that making kids’ dentistry fun has always been her goal. As time has changed and kids have more exposure to different modes, using coloured walls does not provide enough distraction. And many studies have proven that having positive distractions for children during a dental procedure makes the whole experience stress-free and helps the child develop a positive attitude towards dental treatment. “Driven by passion and scientifically backed, I wanted to give our children the best experience and hence launched this first-of-its-kind multi-sensorial dental clinic in Bangalore,” she adds.

Focusing on Preventive and Therapeutic Treatment for Children and Adults in A Stress-free Environment

She ensures that her clinic is different from the others in the industry. She says her dental clinic is theme based, provides advanced dental care, follows stringent sterilization protocols that are continuously monitored, and, most importantly, is child-centric. It is first of a kind multi-sensorial dated dental clinic, child can select the mood and the movie they want to want and also have a large play area and lots of books to make sure they are having a good time.

She furthers that at her clinic, she and her expert caregiving staff provides all dental treatment for children, from simple fillings, polypectomies, crown, habit breaking appliances to advanced braces treatment and cosmetic dentistry. They focus on preventive and therapeutic treatment and work towards the child’s overall wellbeing. “We help the child learn proper brushing and oral hygiene habits which help in having good oral health for rest of the life,” she says.

In her mission, she is committed to enriching lives through compassionate dentistry. “Our vision is to Make kids dentistry fun and create a generation of children who would not be scared of their dental visit,” she states.

Additionally, Dr Premila believes in behaviour guidance for children to help them have a good dental experience. Hers is also the first dental clinic designed to keep children with special health care needs in mind and is fully accessible through a wheelchair.

At her clinic, she ensures they prioritize the child and focus on the child’s overall health. They not only resolve dental issues but also help prevent future dental issues. They help in habit breaking, proper jaw growth and most importantly, an overall growth of the teeth and aw for children. They partner with parents to help children develop good oral habits.

At PnG healthcare we believe we as dentist have the ability to enrich lives through compassionate dentistry.  Even as adults we lead a stressfull life, and dental visits shouldn’t be an added stress. At our smile station dental clinics which focusses on adult dental care, we focus on making dental visits a happy experience. Our clients can listen to their favourite songs, watch a movie or relax as we carry on with their treatment. We also provide laughing gas to help reduce their anxiety and relax through the procedures.

Not only from the comfort point of view, but we also use best equipments like lasers, zoom whitening and dental scanners and loupes to provide best dental care.

Making Dentistry Fun

Speaking more about Small Bite, Dr Premila says it is the first of its multi-sensorial adapted dental centre. So as soon the child enters the dental clinic, there are textured floors and walls, finer optic lights with starry sky effects, and a faint aroma of the beach to hide the typical disinfectant smell of the hospital.

In this way, through their environment, she and her staff interact with every sense of the child, the tactile, smell, and visual and also provide the child with a personal screen where he can watch and hear his fav cartoons. This way, she provides the Child with the distraction that will help reduce anxiety and stress. “Our goal is to provide a fear-free dental experience. We have also extended the same to our adult dentistry wing smile station. So as a twin clinic, we take care of all the dental requirements of the whole family,” she adds.

Expanding the SADEs Scope

According to Dr Premila, there are no clinics with similar concepts focusing on the environment and stress-free dental experience. But she wants more and more hospitals and places involving children should take upon them to modify and change depending on the needs of the children.

On continuing her journey and mission, Dr Premila says that as they are the first Sensory Adaptive Dental Experience Centres (SADE), they had to learn many things as they progressed into the project. The area, planning execution and finances were all obstacles, but now seeing children enjoy the space makes everything worth it.

Now, they will keep focusing on

  • The first SADE centre.
  • Expanding SADE centres to other parts of the country.
  • Spreading a beautiful smile to all the children.
  • Making dentistry fun for them.

Dr Premila Naidu’s Hall of Fame:

  • Dr Premila Naidu was awarded The National Dental Excellence Award in 2014and The Best Paediatric Dentist in 2020.
  • The Times of India Health survey rated Smile Station as the seventh-best dental centre in Bengaluru in 2018 and the fourth-best dental centre in 2019.
  • Dr Premila Naidu is featured on the Women’s Entrepreneur cover, showcasing the top ten dentists in India.
  • She is the Founder of Bengaluru’s first themed and speciality twin dental clinics.
  • Recognized as a leading regional health service provider (dentistry) in South Asia by EBA in association with the European Medical Association.
  • The Bhartiya City branch is India’s first multi-sensory adaptive dental centre.

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