iPad app invented by a Japanese father calms child in the dental chair

Little girl on dentist prevention examinationSomething as simple as a cartoon drawing may help young children and special-needs patients with physical and mental challenges feel more comfortable in the dental chair.

Noritaka Kaneko, a 47-year-old Japanese executive with Saitama IT, created an iPad app that uses visual aids to help children better understand and anticipate dental procedures.

Even with very young children, knowledge is empowering. When patients of tender years are better able to anticipate specific procedures, they suffer less anxiety as do their guardians.

Spurred by a father’s concern, Kaneko not only heads a not-for-profit that provides assistance and support to developmentally challenged children, he also spreads word of his discoveries through presentations at various conferences. A man with a mission, Kaneko has put the spotlight on an urgent problem.

Reducing stress is not just a means to more dental chair turns; it also provides a health benefit to a child. Parents will be more likely to take children in for regular checkups when the atmosphere is calm and relaxed. Since parents are the ones in charge of scheduling appointments, ensuring that their young children feel comfortable visiting the dentist is a huge issue in avoiding an early loss of primary teeth.

Relatively simple investments in providing helpful distractions to younger dental patients reduce interruptions and delays. And in the era of digital apps, Kaneko’s discovery likely will decrease the stress arising from dental procedures.

A calm atmosphere within the dental examination room also ups the odds that a child’s guardian will not dread the next visit. Parents may subconsciously delay the next dental checkup as they remember the stress of a previous visit.

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