Diane Tay

Getting to Know … Dr Diane Tay of Sydney Specialist Dental Group

Dr Diane Tay is a mother of two children and a highly experienced Paediatric Dentist at Sydney Specialist Dental Group, in St Peters. Dr Tay is passionate about ensuring that children have positive experiences when visiting the dentist and believes in treating patients like she would her own family, taking a gentle care approach. Dr Tay’s is also particularly adept and passionate about working with children with special needs and emergency dentistry.


Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Dr Diane Tay and I am a Specialist Paediatric Dentist at Sydney Specialist Dental Group, located in St Peters. My passion is helping children have the best experience at the dentist and my area of expertise lies in caring for children with special needs.

I was born in Singapore but have lived in both Melbourne and Sydney for the most part of my life. I am a proud mother to two beautiful children, who remind me constantly of “what is important in life”. When I am not practicing dentistry, I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking and eating of course!


When and why did you become a dentist?

As a child, I personally had several unpleasant experiences at the dentist. On one instance, whilst my dentist was extracting a tooth, I recall them saying “this will feel like an earthquake”. It was at that point, that I told myself that I would like to become a dentist to help other people have a more positive experience.

I first became a dentist in 2007, after graduating from the University of Melbourne with Honours. I practiced as a dentist in both the hospital and private sectors in Sydney and then went on to embark on my paediatric dentistry training at the University of Sydney, attaining my specialist qualification in 2013. In addition to working in a private practice in Parramatta and St Peters, I am also a visiting specialist at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.


What services do you offer?

Our boutique, specialist practice currently offers paediatric dental services (aka specialist children’s dentistry) and specialist orthodontic care. All of our practitioners are registered specialists who have completed additional training in their respective fields of dentistry. Being a paediatric dentist, we provide dental care for children from birth to adolescence and deliver a wide range of services from check-ups, fillings, managing emergency trauma, oral pathology and surgical procedures. Given that we see many children who may be anxious at the dentist, we also provide dental care under sedation (eg: Happy Gas or treatment in the hospital under general anesthesia). No referral is required to see us.


Do you have a particular area of interest?

Whilst I enjoy all aspects of paediatric dentistry, I have a passion for emergency dentistry and working with children with additional needs, complex medical comorbidities or disabilities. I am also interested in oral pathology and behavioural modification for anxious children.


What is the best thing about being a dentist?

Dentist check-ups are a life-long process. The best thing about being a paediatric dentist is being able to play a role in a child’s life to shape their dental experience and help them to be self-motivated towards their dental health. It is wonderful to be able to see a child grow and develop into confident individuals who value their health, well-being and smile!


What approach do you take when dealing with anxious children/and or their parents on a dental visit?

We understand that coming to the dentist can be a stressful event for both parents and children. Our practice’s core value is “treating our patients like we would our family”. I believe by having this philosophy, we manage our anxious patients by ensuring that we approach everyone with gentle care, attention and ensure good communication throughout their journey with us. In this way, anxious families can be reassured, that we will always facilitate their care in the best way possible.


How do you get children comfortable with visiting the dentist?

Our team are trained to ensure our young patients, have a positive experience right from when they enter the practice. Our clinic is also designed to create a child-friendly atmosphere. Personally, I believing in empowering children, allowing them to feel a part of their dental visit and getting them involved in caring for their own teeth.


What tips can you offer parents on getting fussy toddlers and children to brush their teeth well/regularly?

Being a parent myself, I can honestly relate to the challenges of brushing toddlers’ teeth! Of course, different strategies will apply depending on your child’s age and developmental stage. However, some key tips:

  • Try to introduce oral care early! For example, cleaning of the gum pads twice daily even before the teeth erupt. Once teeth erupt, start to introduce a small, soft toothbrush and start a smear of children’s fluoride toothpaste at 18 months of age.
  • Positioning: You can try lying your child down on the floor or in your lap. This position may allow you to stablise and support them while you gently brush your child’s teeth in a circular motion around the teeth/gum line.
  • Distraction: Someone can read a book or play with a stuffed animal or puppet within the child’s view while they are getting their teeth brushed. You could also play their favourite song (2 mins song) or sing to them whilst brushing!
  • Try to make it as fun as possible: Let them choose their toothbrush or try an electric toothbrush. For those little independent ones, let them ‘have a go first’, then tell them “great job, now let mommy or daddy make sure that you did not miss any spots!”. Lots of positive praise and reinforcement goes a long way!
  • A toothbrushing chart/sticker chart with a ‘reward’ after a specified number of days of brushing, can also be useful for older children.

As part of your dental visit with us, we will always discuss brushing techniques and tricks to help make brushing your child’s teeth easier!


What is your favourite innovation in dentistry in the last few years?

Dentistry is an ever-evolving field and improvements in the industry have been astounding. As a practice, we believe in keeping current with the latest innovations and research, to ensure our patients are receiving up-to-date care.

My favourite innovation in the past few years, would have to be paediatric zirconia crowns (white crowns for children). Typically, we would use stainless steel crowns (metal caps) to repair/restore very decayed or broken-down teeth. Whilst, stainless steel crowns have an excellent success rate, these white (zirconia) crowns provide a wonderful alternative as they are both strong, durable and importantly, provide good aesthetics as they are tooth-coloured.


Favourite places in the Inner West?

Where do I begin? The Inner West is truly a unique and diverse part of Sydney. My family and I love the local markets, particularly Marrickville Markets, for its fresh produce and food stalls. You certainly cannot get past the multitude of cafes with such amazing food and coffee – I honestly would find it hard to pick a favourite café! The team and myself also enjoy going to Sydney Park, which is a short walk from the practice, for some sunshine during our lunch break.


What has inspired you recently?

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a really eventful year! Recent global events, such as the Australian bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic, have impacted our lives in some way or another. However, through all of these challenging times, we see communities working together to support one another. These acts of kindness and community spirit is what keeps me inspired and reminds me how much ‘we are all the same’ and need each other to ensure a better future for the coming generations.


To find out more visit www.drdianetay.com.au.


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