Parents' Introduction Letter

Dear Patients
Thank you kindly for making an appointment in our office. I would like to introduce you to our philosophy and a few simple guidelines to best prepare your and your child for the treatment your child will receive. Just a reminder that I am not a child dentist specialist. Our goals are to:

  • Motivate and educate you and your child to have a healthy mouth
  • Teach your child to accept dental procedures with little or no stress in a safe environment
  • Make your child’s mouth healthy by removing decay and plaque
  • Supervise and guide the growth of the jaws and new teeth to have a healthy bite and smile

I have found that many fears can be avoided by not going into great detail about the first visit, and avoiding words such as needle, drill, and pain at all times.
We use words such as “marshmallow”, dentist’s electric toothbrush. The method of the dentist first telling the child, then showing the child (within reason) and doing what has been discussed are most effective in teaching the child about what is going on at the appointment, and to avoid surprises for the child. This is also called the “tell, show, do” technique.

Unless dealing with a dental emergency, the first visit for a child is a complete exam of the mouth which includes taking a medical history, x-rays (if necessary) a visual examination and maybe a cleaning (polish). We will review tooth cleaning methods and go over nutrition and prevention of decay with you and your child. Any fillings needed will be started at the next appointment after an estimate is given or sent to the insurance company. We have a DVD player and recommend you bring a favourite movie to play as an added distraction during filling appointments.

Morning appointments work best for children, especially the young ones. Please have the children eat something before their filling appointments since they may have a numb lip afterward and may not be able to eat right away (“marshmallow” lip)

For many procedures I prefer to have the parent present in the operatory. You must appreciate however, that for safety and communication, I need your child’s complete attention. This sometimes means that the parent may be asked to wait in the waiting room.

At the end of the appointment it is best NOT to make a “big deal” or “fuss” when the child greets you. It is better to focus on the prize they received for being a “good helper”. I usually end the appointment with a “high five” for good cooperation.

Thank you for your interest in reading this!

Catherine Zacal, DDS
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