Could your kids actually LOVE going to the dentist? With the right preparation, dental team and kid-friendly environment – yes! Kids can start healthy dental habits early – and actually enjoy their appointment.
Every kid is different, and as we all know, they don’t come with instruction manuals. However, we have found there are a few secrets to unlocking a love for the dentist at an early age.
1. Find a dentist that uses words and fun stories that connect with kids.
You can tell when your dental practice really loves kids (and when they’re an afterthought). We dress up like superheroes and fairies. We tell stories about sugar bugs – aka cavities – and how we’re here to help them (and their parents) have clean and healthy teeth.
We make a point to use simple words to describe dental treatment. And as a result, kids actually love coming to the dentist. We are so happy to hear parents rave about the experience.
The great news is that you can start using these strategies with your kids before their appointment so they are ready when the time comes. Talk about their upcoming dentist appointment with them, particularly when they brush their teeth. Here are a few examples of how to get kids prepared and excited about the dentist –
“Good job brushing your teeth. We want to keep them nice and clean so they are happy. The Tooth Fairy doesn’t like sugar in your teeth so we want to make sure we brush them good so they are sparkly just like her.”
“Soon we’re going to go to the dentist so he/she can look at your teeth and tell you what a good job you’re doing. The dentist helps keep your teeth sparkly too. Just like the doctor, they help us feel good. (And remember, the dentist has activities and stickers and fun toys!)”
2. Don’t let your own fears get in the way – or delay your kids’ dental care.
Lots of people have a fear of the dentist. If you are one of them, be mindful of how you talk about going to the dentist, so you’re not sharing these fears with your children. Who knows, your kids could love the dentist as much as Kinsley W.!
You might dread your kids’ dental appointment because you’re worried about their reaction – or maybe you imagine them climbing the walls during your appointment. Even so, it’s important that kids start dental care early. In fact, the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend your child’s first dental visit happen within six months of your child’s first baby tooth coming in – and no later than your child’s first birthday.
While you can’t control everything, you can make sure your dentist is prepared for kids. It’s kid-friendly details that make our practice a true family practice.
For example, during your appointment, there’s a camera so you can watch your kids play in the KidZone while getting your teeth cleaned. Midlothian Dental Center also has a KidsZone with toys and activities
3. Get comfortable by reading books about the dentist, or even taking a tour of our office.
There are many children’s books on going to the dentist. Check out a few from the library, or order from Amazon’s extensive list.
At Midlothian Dental Center, we love to take our youngest patients on a tour before their appointment. It’s a chance for them to get to know our staff without having to hop in the chair for an inspection of their teeth. Once they see the KidsZone and meet our staff, they can look forward to their appointment and understand what a dentist does to help them.
While we do our best to help kids be at ease in our office, we know who does the real day-to-day work of taking care of kids’ teeth. Mom and Dad, you’re doing a good job. Keep at it. When kids learn to brush twice a day, floss and see their dentist regularly, they will keep these habits for life.
For more on pediatric dental care, check out our resources –