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How to Make Going to the Dentist Fun for Kids

How to Make Going to the Dentist Fun for Kids

added on: November 8, 2022

It’s normal for children to feel a bit apprehensive about visiting their pediatric dentist in Overland Park, especially if they’ve had a prior negative experience. From laying back in the dental chair to the sounds and smells, we understand the anxiety that can come along with all things related to a dental office. However, dental visits don’t need to be scary. In fact, they can actually be fun! 

Preparation Is Key

A little preparation before your little one is ready to see the dentist can set them up for success. This does require a bit of work at home, but the payoff can be well worth it. Start by being a good role model and allowing your child to observe you brushing and flossing your teeth. Even better, make them comfortable by wiping their gums with a wet washcloth before their teeth erupt. Other options include: 

  • Playing Pretend – Play pretend dentist with your child and allow them to count your teeth as you’re reclined in their lap. Then switch roles and count their teeth. You can even have your child take their favorite toy to a pretend dental visit as you walk through all stages of an appointment. 
  • Reading Books – Find books that talk about going to the dentist and read them several times. Resonating with book characters can make a new experience, such as a dental visit easier for kids to understand and give them a positive attitude. 
  • Stay Positive – Kids can pick up on even the slightest emotion or feeling of their parents. Make sure to only speak positive words about the dentist in front of your little one and avoid using scary words like “shot,” “hurt,” or “pain.” Even if you’ve had negative dental experiences in your life, it’s important to hold those feelings back from your child. 

Bring a Toy

Many kids find comfort in their favorite things, such as a toy, stuffed animals, or blankets. Ask your pediatric dentist in Overland Park if they can bring these items along to your dental appointment. If your kid is motivated by presents or surprises, consider treating them to a special treat after their appointment and make that toy their dental companion that can bring to all appointments. 

Start Early

Dental care is important even before your child has any baby teeth. Get them used to the feeling of someone poking around in their mouth by gently wiping their gums after meals. Once they turn one, or no more than six months after their first tooth erupts, schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist near you. This is a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Look For Fun

One of the best ways to make sure your child has fun at the dentist is to find a pediatric dentist in Overland Park that makes it fun. Scour websites of nearby pediatric dental offices. Does it look like a fun place? Are there bright colors or a neat office theme? What are other parents saying in reviews? Sometimes all it takes to make dentistry enjoyable for kids is to bring them to the right environment. 

Getting your child to the dentist by the age of one and making it a fun experience can help set them up for a lifetime of a positive dental attitude. This, in turn, can help protect their teeth for a long time. 

We have pediatric dentists throughout Johnson County and the Kansas City area including in Overland Park, Prairie Village, Olathe, and Kansas City.