How to Make Dental Office Fun for Kids
How to Make Dental Office Fun for Kids
For some kids, dental offices can feel sterile, cold, and let’s face it… scary.
Many children struggle with dental anxiety making it near impossible to have a positive experience at the dentist. If not properly intercepted in childhood, dental anxiety has the potential to carry into adulthood.
Thankfully, you can do a few different things to help make your pediatric dental office fun for kids.
We suggest encouraging parents to bring their children in within 6 months of the eruption of their first tooth, or by 12 months of age at the latest. The earlier you can build a positive relationship with a child, the better. Waiting until something has gone wrong and the child is in pain can create a negative correlation with the dentist.
Benefits of Prioritizing Pediatric Patient Experience
Your patients may be tiny, but the importance of their experience is huge. Below are some of the most notable benefits of prioritizing your pediatric patients’ experience:
- Reduce dental anxiety
- Create an overall positive experience
- Help children develop a positive relationship with the dentist (and their oral health)
- Establish a name for yourself and create a buzz in your local community
- Increase the chance of referrals (word of mouth is a powerful thing!)
- Generate positive reviews (people are much more likely to write a review when they are wowed by their experience)
Give a Tour
There’s nothing worse than fear of the unknown for a curious little mind! Children are naturally very curious.
Providing parents and kids with a tour of your practice can help ease anxieties and help little ones feel much more comfortable during their appointment.
Take time to explain what each room and piece of equipment is used for. Don’t be afraid to make it silly or fun!
Here’s some ways to give the tour a little magic:
- Just like Superman uses his x-ray vision to solve crimes and catch bad guys; explain how the x-ray machine sees inside their teeth to check if any bad bacteria are causing problems inside.
- Hand out detective badges to little ones to encourage them to “investigate” the office
- Set up a small scavenger hunt and ask kids to search for hidden items around the office
- Allow kids to take a seat in the dentist chair and “go for a ride”. This helps develop a positive and fun relationship with the big, scary dental chair.
- Complete the tour with a prize like stickers, sunglasses, or sugar-free lollipops.
Explain Why Dentists Are Important
Most children don’t understand how important going to the dentist is.
Taking the time to explain why dentists are important can play an important role in easing dental anxiety and making the dentist fun for kids. Be sure to do this in a playful and simple way that kids will understand, such as:
- “Dentists help keep our teeth sharp and strong so that we can eat all of our favorite foods!”
- “Cleanings at the dentist help keep yucky sugar bugs (cavities) away!”
- Use a hard-boiled egg and peel away the layers to explain how the enamel protects the tooth. You may also use an interactive model of a tooth; you can use these visual aids to explain how visits to the dentist helps keep the enamel nice and strong
Design a Waiting Room with Play Areas
Fun things to play with in the waiting room can make a significant impact on a child’s ability to develop a positive relationship with the dentist. Play areas can provide a healthy and fun distraction to alleviate anxiety while children wait for their appointment to begin.
Some examples of fun toys and activities for a dental waiting room include:
- Play kitchens
- Kid-sized furniture
- Activity tables
- Sensory wall toys
- Coloring books–dental-themed coloring books are a great option!
Creating a kid-friendly environment shows little ones your practice is a safe and fun space where they can relax and enjoy themselves.
Ensure that the items in the waiting room are regularly wiped down and sanitized to maintain a safe and healthy environment for your patients.
Pick a Fun Theme
Choosing a fun and interactive theme for your pediatric dental practice is a fantastic way to make your office an exciting place to visit.
A well-themed dental office can influence a child’s imagination run wild with fantastical stories instead of focusing on the activity at hand.
Kid-friendly office themes also show parents you are dedicated to providing the best possible experience for their children.
Some examples of popular themes for pediatric dental offices include:
- Outer Space
Creating an immersive environment for kids can continue to pay dividends over time. A well-executed theme will inspire patients to take photos and share them on social media.
Capitalize on this opportunity and create a unique hashtag your patients can use for their posts.
Mount TVs in Your Exam Room
Playing popular children’s programming in your exam room is another great way to keep little ones distracted and entertained.
Give your patients a sense of control by giving them the option to choose what to watch during their exam.
Reward Good Behavior with Dental Toys
Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective ways to enforce good behavior.
Rewarding your patients with exciting goodie bags filled with dental toys at the end of their visit provides little ones with something to look forward to during their visit.
Pediatric patient giveaways help children to develop a positive and long-lasting relationship with the dentist which can have long-lasting effects on their oral health.
Not Sure Which Kids Dentist Toys to Choose? We Can Help!
Looking for some assistance in choosing some fun and exciting kids dentist toys to make your office fun for kids? Feel free to contact us anytime; our team of dental supply experts is here to answer your questions and help you find what you need.
You’ll always have the opportunity to speak with a real person during business hours; no fussing with a frustrating automated system.