The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit the dentist at the age of 12 months, or when the first tooth appears. This will allow Dr. Sakai and the Just for Kids Dentistry Team to evaluate your child and introduce you to proper oral hygiene habits.
Before the First Visit
Please discuss the positive aspects of dentistry with your child. Try to act relaxed and at ease. You can explain that Dr. Sakai and his team will count and take pictures of your child’s teeth.
Please do not tell your child that the dentist will not hurt because this may have never entered his or her mind. Instead, reassure your child that Dr. Sakai will be friendly and gentle. Also, avoid using words such as needle, shot, pull, or other words that could create anxiety. We will explain our procedures in ways that your child can understand and will work to decrease any fear or anxiety they may have. For example, we call the suction device “Mr. Thirsty” and cavities “sugar bugs.”
A common problem that children face is being fearful about coming to the dentist because they are unsure about what will happen. It is normal to be scared of the unknown, and we work with kids every day to help them feel more comfortable so that they can establish a positive relationship with a dentist. This will lead to better oral care as they get older.
There are several things we do to help kids feel more comfortable. We don’t rush the patients into treatment. Some kids take a while to warm up to our staff and the idea of having someone work in their mouth. We talk with the kids, play games with them, and get to know them. When they are in the treatment areas, we show them what we will be doing and use wording that is age-appropriate.
During the first visit, we will spend time educating your child on proper brushing techniques. It is critical to oral health that you, as the parent, follow up on these techniques at home.
Although your child may cry, this is normal behavior when children are put into unknown situations. Please do not be alarmed. We are all trained to help fearful or anxious children through their dental experience. As your child matures, we hope to encourage his or her independence and promote self-esteem.
We will treat your child as our own and perform the dental treatment in the easiest and safest way possible.