This year we once again teamed up with the University of Otago Medical School to put on the Dunedin 2018 Teddy Bear Hospital (TBH). More than 500 toothbrushes and toothpastes, 500 preschool children, hundreds of stickers, smiles and hi-five’s later…

This year, our goal was to create a safe, fun environment where children can interact with future health professionals without the anxiety and fear usually associated with medical and dental treatment. Children were involved with a dental check-up of their soft toys (often a teddy bear) allowing them to vicariously experience a visit to the dentist. Through this positive experience, we hope to encourage regular future dental and medical attendance andpositively influence children and adults’ perceptions of dentistry.

This year, TBH was held on the week of the 21st– 26thof May. During the weekdays, the event ran from 9am – 2pm.  Every hour, a different kindergarten arrived to visit the teddy bear dentists and doctors. Saturday was ‘Community day’, where families came along to experience teddy-bear dental and medical consultations, pharmacy and physiotherapy sessions, and guided tours through an ambulance.

This year, the BOH and BDS students have risen above and beyond to provide the very best dental care for children’s teddy bears, dolls, and one very memorable caterpillar. The ‘consultations’ started by asking how many teeth ‘Teddy’ had, asking the kids how often they helped ‘Teddy’ brush their teeth, with many showing off their excellent brushing techniques on the model. Often, ‘Teddy’ would have a sore tooth, and the kids were eager to give the tooth some ‘sleepy juice’ through the empty local anaesthetic syringe.

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed to this great event. Teddy Bear Hospital would not have been possible without your help! Especially as most had exams to worry about also! I hope you all had a wonderful time, and help out with TBH next year!