Every parent and doctor will have a different opinion about when to take your child to a dentist, but we felt confident with Lulu's regular dental hygiene routine, that it would be okay to wait until she was three years old. At two, after one of my own appointments, my dentist Dr. Brett Lent peered inside Lulu's mouth and while he would've loved to have inspected her teeth more thoroughly, Lulu was definitely too squirmy to sit still for more than a few minutes. Lulu's Pediatrician from Tenth Street Pediatrics felt her teeth looked healthy and that it would be okay to wait until then too.
I learned that our friends were taking their daughter, M, for a routine check up and since Lulu adores M, I thought that maybe after watching her friend go first, Lulu wouldn't feel as scared. This seemed like a sound idea.
We made an appointment at Sawtelle Family Dental with Dr. Emily Kwong to immediately follow M's appointment. And for weeks I explained to Lulu that she would be going to visit the dentist soon to have her teeth examined. The days leading up to the appointment, I reminded Lulu of her pending visit. She was excited to hang with her friend and to show M what a big kid she was too.
Morning of the appointment, Lulu had breakfast and we had a chill morning. Since the complex is familiar to us, we were able to arrive without sweating where to go or park. For a Saturday morning, there were plenty of spaces available.
Dr. Kwong's brother, Ernie greeted us upon arrival. He was extremely friendly and welcomed us to the waiting room, which was spacious with clean with comfy furniture. There was also a table with snacks for the hungry and warm beverages for the caffeine-needy.
When it was M's turn, she climbed into the children's chair and while she watched "Cars" on a small monitor, all four parents and Lulu watched M get her teeth cleaned. Lulu sat on my lap and stared intently at M, as M intently watched the movie, while Dr. Emily intently cleaned her teeth. We were all welcomed in the room together.
Next up, Lulu! I could tell Lulu was feeling a little nervous. It took her a minute to warm up to the chair. Dr. Emily suggested Lulu sit on my lap with her blanket and then moved the chair up and down and back and forth and Lulu thought it was a really fun ride. She asked for a few more rides and Dr. Emily obliged.
Then came the introduction to the dental equipment and the noises that even scare adults. Dr. Emily quickly squashed Lulu's fears by explaining what the tools were: a very shiny light, vacuum for her mouth, an air pick that also sprayed water, and tools for fighting Sugar Monsters.
By then Lulu was pretty comfortable so Dr. Emily turned on an age appropriate children's program and before Lulu could change her mind, she had her mouth open, getting her teeth cleaned! Silvio snapped photos and Lulu oddly enough, really seemed to be enjoying her appointment. She wasn't even watching the program, instead she was focused on Dr. Emily and what she was doing.
At the end of the appointment, Dr. Emily checked Lulu's gums and gave us a few oral health tips. She also suggested we move Lulu to the big kid's toothpaste but insisted that we only smear a small amount on her toothbrush daily. We were also advised to have her start flossing. I can barely get myself to floss but with the pressure of having to be a good role model, it's something I will do.
Check out was painless. Dr. Emily's mom (it's a family affair) was in charge of this process. We filled out all of Lulu's information and paid for the appointment. We received several discounts because we did not include Lulu on our dental insurance (we will next year though) and I was grateful for that.
Overall, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect first dental check up. My little girl was never scared and walked out happy with a bag of dental hygiene goodies (and a rubber toy lizard). Lulu is already looking forward to her next visit!
Sawtelle Family Dental is well equipped for children. It is located on the second floor of the same complex as Beard Papa and Nijiya Market in West Los Angeles. There is ample parking in the lot and on the streets and it is very accessible to the 405 and 10 Freeways.