Your toddler or preschool aged child is ready to visit the dentist, but you may be afraid that your child will have anxiety at that first dental visit. You can ease the way by organizing a field trip to a pediatric dentist for your child and your child's friends.
Gather Your Friends
Discuss the idea with your friends who have children the same age as yours. You might also talk to other moms at a playgroup, preschool or other activity where you take your child.
Find a Dentist
You shouldn't have to look far to find a pediatric dentist who will be willing to host your gathering. Pediatric dentists are always looking for new patients and prefer to make appointments with kids who have had some exposure to a dental visit.
Pediatric dentists tend to be busiest early in the morning and during after school hours, so schedule your visit for the middle of a week day when the office won't be busy.
Look for a dentist with an enthusiastic staff of people who seem to really love kids. Ask the person you speak to what they do to make children comfortable and how they differ from a regular family dentist. Contact local dentists, like Kids Dental Tree, to find one that fits your needs.
Make a Plan
Go over what you will want to see with the office representative. Your visit should include several short activities.
- viewing and explanation of the x-ray machines
- viewing of an x-ray of teeth
- a demonstration of a check-up on a large stuffed animal or doll
- an opportunity for the children to feel the vibration of the electric toothbrush on their fingers
- an interactive discussion of eating habits that are good for teeth
Give Gift Bags
Make each child a bag that will include a toothbrush, toothpaste, children's floss and a small toy or sticker. Kids love to get a goodie bag, and this will reinforce the idea of the dentist's office as a positive place to be.
Say Thank You
Have each child draw a picture of something they saw or learned at the dentist's office. Then send or bring the pictures to the dentist to say thank you for allowing the children to visit.
Make an Appointment
Young children may not remember activities for long, so make your child an appointment as soon as possible after this introductory visit while the positive associations are still fresh. You might also want to schedule your child's visit at the same time as a friend's to make the experience less scary.
Hopefully your children will be visiting the dentist regularly for the rest of their lives. You can make this as positive as possible for them by introducing the dental office during a fun and stress free trip with friends.