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5 Creative Ways to Help Your Children Prepare For the Dentist

Taking care of your child’s baby teeth is more important than you may realize. Their baby teeth play a large role in developing good speech patterns and learning to chew properly. Additionally, the oral hygiene habits children develop when they are young will stick with them throughout their entire lives. However, going to the dentist with your child can be daunting. Here are five creative ways to help your child prepare for the dentist.

1. Play Pretend Dentist at Home

A great way to prepare your child for a visit to the dentist is to play pretend dentist at home. Use a toothbrush, rinse cup, flashlight, and a small mirror to help them get used to having a person examine their mouth. Switch roles. Allow your child to look at your teeth as well.

Help them understand what it may feel like to sit in the dental chair and hear noises in the dental office. Explain what it may smell like and look like. For example, if you live in the Chicago area, some dental offices in Chicago provide aromatherapy and have TVs attached to the ceiling that children can watch when having a cleaning done.

You can use stuffed animals that have teeth as patients. Take those stuffed animals to the dental office for the checkup. Doing all these things will make going to the dentist fun before the day of the appointment.

2. Find Dental-Related Books to Read or Make Up Your Own Stories

Your child likely loves listening to stories, especially before going to bed. Try to bring in a few dentist-related books every now and then. This will make going to the dentist seem like an adventure.

If you regularly tell your child stories that you make up, start making up stories about going to the dentist. You want these stories to be fun and exciting. Focus on the benefits of good oral hygiene and having a healthy smile. The more you talk about dental-related activities in a relaxing and fun environment, the more comfortable your child will feel when they visit the dentist.

3. Get Older Siblings or Other Big Kids Involved

Older siblings or other big kids can play a beneficial role in helping younger siblings prepare for dental visits. They can be involved in creating dental-related stories and playing pretend dentist at home. Talk with your older kids about helping the younger kids be brave when visiting the dental office. Younger children will feel more at ease when they learn from the example of older kids.

4. Pack a Bag of Favorite Items to Bring Along

Your child will feel comfortable visiting the dentist if they can bring along their favorite toys, stuffed animals, blankets, or other treasured items. They can serve as comforting aids since they are familiar to your child.

Make the packing process fun. Choose a fun bag that will include their favorite items, bottles of water, and snacks. You may want to designate one bag in particular as the bag that is always used to visit the dentist. This sets it apart and makes the visits special.

Your child should be dressed comfortably on the day of their visit. You want them to feel warm and comfy while in the dental chair. A fun way to get kids excited about going to the dentist is for them to show off a new outfit or accessory.

5. Use Positive Phrases and Prepare a Reward

Avoid using negative phrases as you get your child ready to visit the dentist. Using words like “needles” and “drill” may cause them anxiety. Explain how the dentist will count their teeth and take pictures. These things help your child understand what the dentist will do and help them visualize what the appointment will be like. Your excitement and positivity regarding visiting a dentist will be contagious.

Kids are usually easily incentivized by rewards when they demonstrate good behavior. Talk to your child about how they will be rewarded after their dental visit.

Good Preparation Leads to Successful Outcomes

Preparing your child to visit the dentist can lead to a good outcome. They will know what to expect and be excited about caring for their teeth. When children feel comfortable visiting a dentist, they will likely continue their good oral health care routine as adults.