Moms and Dads during treatment

The culture of Blue Whale is team-oriented, with all adults having the same goals: the safety, health, and long-term well-being of each child. As adults, we all have specific roles to contribute, and communication and respect for each role is important, as we cooperate to create a safe and effective environment.

For all appointments with infants and toddlers, we prefer a parent be present in the examination and treatment areas. During these stages of child development, there is less communication that occurs directly between the dentist and the child, and it is useful to have a parent present to assist and discuss care. This also allows parents to observe and build trust with our dental team. Parental presence requires some scheduling consideration, in order to respect the privacy of any other children in our open-bay layout.

As children enter preschool, they quickly begin developing independent communication and participation skills, and our values include fostering these abilities. We are flexible with families, and understand that some kids possess less independence and self-control than others, but by age 4, we expect most parents to encourage their children to begin communicating and succeeding in appointments without immediate parental participation.     

During dental treatment or surgery for children age 4 and above, safety is maximized when clear and un-interrupted communication occurs directly between the child and the dentist.  Sometimes this communication is verbal, sometimes it is subtle and unspoken. We consider how a parent’s presence can contribute, or distract, from this critical patient-dentist relationship. Although it is natural for parents to feel a protective instinct to help their children, a dental setting is one where a third-party can greatly interfere with the patient-dentist communication needed to maximize safety and cooperation. This distraction often occurs through verbal or non-spoken communication and body language given off by a parent in the treatment room. This can be very confusing and distracting to children, and interferes with the dentist successfully guiding the child through the appointment and procedures. 

In situations where Dr. Gavin feels it will positively contribute to the situation, a parent’s cooperation will be specifically requested.  In most treatment and surgical situations of children age 4 and older, the participation of a parent will be specifically discouraged. In either case, our team’s goals are the same: the safe treatment of immediate dental needs, while actively building long-term confidence and communication skills for child patients.    

Click here for the illustration that explores our framework for the role of Mom and Dad during various dental appointments.

“Helicopter Parents”  

Some parents may firmly insist that they will always remain at their child’s side, to also participate in any dental appointment. We respectfully acknowledge that this may be rooted in good intention; however, this position is not consistent with our practice goals of maximizing child safety, the development of a trusting patient-dentist relationship, and for the development of a child’s confidence and self-control. Additionally, if a parent’s insistence to remain at the side of their child is rooted in suspicion or distrust of dentists, then it is seems wise to postpone any dental service, and openly resolve any underlying parental concerns about trust. 

We invite you to be comfortable with the care of your child, yet we understand that sometimes trust takes time to develop, especially for parents that may have their own fears of dentists or doctors. If our philosophies are uncomfortable for you, we welcome a constructive conversation to see how we can build trust and teamwork together. At Blue Whale, we are flexible and reasonable, and just like you, we all want the same outcome: safe, healthy, happy kids. 




Appointment Center

808-735-BLUE (2583)

(we return missed calls promptly, so please call and leave a voice message)

Office Hours

By appointment, including: EVENINGS & WEEKENDS


Kaimuki Office
3660 Waialae Ave.
Suite 201
Honolulu, HI 96816

Waimea Office
64-5191 Kinohou St.
Waimea, HI 96743