Taking your child to the dentist is a necessary, but not always an easy task. We want to help you keep their teeth healthy and promote their good oral hygiene habits for later in life. We understand, though, that a trip to the dentist can be scary for a child.
Lie down in a bright room… and then what’s going to happen?
We can see it from your child’s point of view. There are a lot of unfamiliar sounds, smells and objects in the exam room. Then your child will have to sit still, open his or her mouth, and let us poke around.
Most kids see that dentist as least 10 times before starting kindergarten
Teeth grow in and teeth fall out, and all the while, the dentist needs to monitor the progress to make sure all is going well. Sometimes it isn’t, and that can mean additional trips to the dentist. What can a parent do?
Stage pretend visits
The goal is to get your child familiar with the routine – lying in the chair, holding their mouth open, having their teeth touched – so that they can become more comfortable at real visits.
Before a dental visit, play pretend dentist and patient with your child. Use your child’s toothbrush to count their teeth (no pretend instruments of drilling noises!). Hold up a mirror and show your child how the dentist looks at and checks their teeth. Let your child practice the same go-to-the-dentist game with a stuffed animal or doll.
Kids’ books designed specifically to show them what happens at the dentist can educate, entertain and prepare them at the same time.
Repeat your pretend routine at the real dentist visit
Tell your child that the dentist is going to check their smile, count their teeth and then clean off the sugar bugs – just like you do at home. Reference key words that you’ve been practicing and likely seen in their books, such as “clean, healthy, strong, bright teeth.”