How to Make Visiting the Dentist More Fun for Kids11 April 2023
Visiting the dentist can be a daunting experience for many children. However, it doesn’t have to be a scary or unpleasant experience. With a bit of creativity and effort, parents can make the trip to the dentist an enjoyable and even fun experience for kids. Here are some tips on how to make visiting the dentist fun for kids.
It’s essential to start taking your child to the dentist early in life, even before they have teeth. This will help them become familiar with the dentist surgery, equipment, and staff. It will also help them to develop a positive attitude towards dental check-ups and procedures.
Use Positive Language
When talking about the dentist, avoid using words that could make your child feel anxious or scared. Instead, use positive language to describe the experience. For example, you could say that the dentist will help keep their teeth healthy and clean. You could also tell them that the dentist will count their teeth and make sure they’re growing correctly. It’s essential to approach the dental visit with a positive attitude.
Children are sensitive to their parents’ emotions, and if you’re anxious or worried, they will be too. Instead, try to be upbeat and confident about the visit, and assure your child that everything will be okay. This will help your children learn how to manage their own emotions. You can ask how your child feels rather than if they are nervous, as asking them this may subconsciously create a state of nervousness or feeling that they should be nervous about the experience.
Explain the Process
Many children are scared of the unknown, so it’s crucial to explain the process of a dental visit in a way that they can understand. Use simple language to describe what will happen and emphasise that the dentist is there to help keep their teeth healthy and strong. If you think your child would benefit from coming to have a look at the surgery before their appointment, we can show them round which often can help children to feel more comfortable about where they are going.
Make the journey there fun
You could put on your children’s favourite music or an audiobook that they enjoy on the way. This will help put them at ease and negate any negative feelings or nervousness they may have about visiting the dentist.
Read Books About the Dentist
Reading books about the dentist can be a helpful way to prepare your child for their visit. There are many children’s books available that explain the process of a dental visit in a fun and engaging way.
Role-playing can be a great way to prepare your child for a dental visit. You could set up a pretend dental office at home and let your child play the role of the dentist or patient. This can help them feel more comfortable and confident about what to expect during their actual dental appointment. You may also need to explain that there are boundaries that need to be crossed i.e. touching of the mouth which children can learn to understand by playing ‘dentists’ or enacting role play.
Bring a Comfort Item
Children often feel more secure when they have something familiar with them, like a favourite toy or blanket. Let your child bring a comfort item with them to the dental appointment to help them feel more relaxed and at ease.
Make it a Game
You could turn the dental visit into a game by counting your child’s teeth together, guessing which tooth the dentist will look at next, or even having a “tooth brushing race” with your child. This will make the visit more fun and engaging for your child. You could also let them dress up for the dentist which can build rapport with your dentist too and provide an immediate talking point to help your children feel more at ease. Creating common ground will help your child to be more enthusiastic about future experiences. You can also point out their favourite movies or series so the dentist has something to talk to your children about whilst examining them.
Offer a Reward
A reward can be a great way to motivate your child to look forward to the dental visit. Offer a small treat or special activity after the appointment, like going to the park or getting ice cream. You could always offer this after a certain amount of appointments and create a dental ‘report card’ similar to a sticker chart for good behaviour.
Maintain a good oral hygiene routine
One of the main causes for nervousness are misconceptions about what happens at the dentist. To ensure the children have the best experience, teach them how to maintain a good oral hygiene routine so that they can avoid cavities or tooth decay in the first place. You can read our top tips on looking after your children’s teeth here.
Visiting the dentist doesn’t have to be a scary or unpleasant experience for kids. With a bit of creativity, effort, and positive reinforcement, parents can help their children develop a positive attitude towards dental check-ups and procedures. If you are looking for a child friendly dentist in Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire you can contact us today on 01423 712799.