Play resource rolled out across Scotland
A project aimed at reducing inequalities and improving access to oral care for children with additional support needs and anxiety is to be rolled out nationwide.
NHS Education for Scotland (NES) has teamed up with Action for Sick Children Scotland to provide training for oral health staff in how to use play to help break down barriers. Throughout February and March, 120 extended duty dental nurses (EDDNs) and dental health support workers will be offered training, delivered by ASCS, related specifically to the use of the ‘Special Smiles Dental Playboxes’. These will be used to help engage these children with the practical elements of Childsmile and the oral health message through play.
The playbox developed by ASCS includes a toy inflatable dental chair, props to mimic a dental surgery, dressing up attire and many other dental themed resources. It helps the child become familiar with the dental setting and reduces anxiety. The training looks at understanding how children use play as communication and how this knowledge can help oral health workers communicate with children in their care.
Preventive treatment is particularly important for this group because interventive dental treatment is often very difficult or impossible to carry out in the usual way
David Felix, NES dental director
NES dental director David Felix said: “It is important that all children, no matter their circumstances, have access to good oral health and care. Preventive treatment is particularly important for this group because interventive dental treatment is often very difficult or impossible to carry out in the usual way and can often lead to treatment having to be carried out under general anaesthesia with the associated delay, risk and costs.
“That is why we are pleased to join up with ASCS to offer this training, which will give more staff the tools and insight they need to help get the message across.”
Liz May, ASCS national coordinator said: “In recent years, ASCS’s ‘Special Smiles’ project has worked in schools to enhance the preventative care system for children with additional support needs by helping teachers, parents and carers to carry out their role in developing good dietary and oral health habits. Our play resources have been able to help children cope with dental examinations and treatment for the first time ever.
“We have also encouraged dental services to become more patient and childf riendly to enable children and young people with additional and complex support needs to experience a more positive contact with the dental health service.”
In November 2015, Scottish Dental visited Three Towns Dental Care to learn about the dental playbox resource and met dentist Clare Craven and her two children. To look back at the article, click here.