Is your child’s first dental visit coming up? Many children experience anxiety about dental visits, just like adults. Luckily there are tons of great ways to calm your kids’ fears and build excitement for that upcoming appointment. Here are a few of our favorites:
Kids under 6 learn best by play. Playing helps children understand things while working with their short attention spans, and role playing can greatly help get them excited to head into the dentist.
Show them what to expect by setting up your own mock dental office in your living room or a bedroom. Don’t overthink it. Just let loose and have fun letting your own imagination fly. Have them enter the room and sit in a chair. Then, have them open wide!! You can point out new teeth growing in, amaze at those beautiful pearly whites, and have them say “ah.” Ensure them dentists just want to make sure their beautiful smiles are healthy and teeth strong.
Want to switch roles? Empowering a child to pretend to care for your teeth can build confidence and excite them to meet their dentist. Here are a few fun pretend play dental toy sets that can further build dental confidence in kids.
Almost all major character sets have a book on visiting the dentist. From Berenstain Bears to Pout Pout Fish, these books are widely available at your local library, bookstore, or online. Make bedtime book reading dental themed a few days before your visit to help ease anxiety. Here are our favorite books specifically about visiting the dentist:
Doctor De Soto, William Steig
Steig is a highly renowned children’s author. Doctor De Soto is a Newbery Honor award winning book about a small mouse who is a dentist! He and his wife help other animals with toothaches, including a fox! This book is a great way to ensure kids that dentists are caring, kind hearted doctors that want to help their teeth stay healthy.
Curious George Visits the Dentist, Margret & H.A. Rey
George’s first tooth is about to fall out and that means it’s his first trip to the dentist! This book shows how even though George is nervous about going, he learns there is nothing scary about the dentist. We love that this book introduces dental health in a fun way to preschool age kids. Some versions also include stickers that can help you establish & reward a good brushing routine.
If The Dentist Were An Animal, Rachel Grider
This book is written by a dental hygienist and explores dental visits and teeth health in a super fun way. This book talks about “sugar bugs” that can cause cavities and how dentists help get rid of the bugs in their mouth! Dentists and office workers are animals! Kids will love this book that is filled with super rich, color illustrations while parents will love the informative content. This book is also one of the highest rated dental books for children on Amazon, so you can feel safe that you’re making a great choice with this one.
The Berenstain Bears Visit The Dentist, Stan & Jan Berenstain
The Berenstain Bears are great for teaching your kids many life lessons in a fun and meaningful way. This book is no different. Sister and Brother bear head to the dentist where they get their teeth cleaned and checked by the dentist. Both experience different situations aligned with their ages. Brother Bear has a small cavity filled. Sister Bear has a baby tooth removed that is dangling. This book contains a lot of information about teeth and dental visits for kids in a way that is easy for younger kids to understand.
Celebrate! Going to the Dentist, Sophia Day
This book does a great job at acknowledging anxiety and easing fears for young kids. Designed to promote diversity, kids of all backgrounds can easily relate to the story and learn about what to expect during their first visit.
We’re Going To The Dentist, Big Steps
This book is designed especially for toddlers for their first visit. In this story, Nancy and Teddy need to go for a dental checkup. Big Steps includes fun interactive elements for young kids, such as flaps to lift and pieces to pull causing movement.
Additional books from your child’s favorite shows or book series that are great reads for an upcoming visit:
Daniel Goes To The Dentist, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
Show Me Your Smile! A Visit To The Dentist, Dora The Explorer
Dentist Trip, Peppa Pig
Pout-Pout Fish Goes to the Dentist, Deborah Diesen
There are also several great TV episodes of popular kids shows that focus on visiting the dentist. Here are a couple, Daniel Tiger (PBS) and Peppa Pig (Nickelodeon). Both are able to view on Youtube for free!
Daniel Tiger Gets His Teeth Cleaned. What we love most about this particular episode is how after Daniel visits a dentist, real kids are shown talking about their experience! Both of those episode segments are below!
Peppa Pig Visits the Dentist. Even dinosaur gets a checkup, helping to ease George’s anxiety.