There is no doubt that kids love to dress up. There is also no doubt that going to the dentist for the first dentist appointment can be scary. What better way to prepare for the first dentist appointment than to include a favorite style of play! Here are a few different ways to include dress-up play as a way to make the first dentist appointment fun:
- Wear the Alter Ego: If your child has favorite costume, let your child wear the costume to the dentist. For some kids, the idea of dressing up in a favorite costume can add the strength that a child needs to overcome the fear of something new (it is also great to get another use for the old Halloween costumes). If your child has several costumes, be sure to pick the one that is the least bulky and make sure that your child’s mouth is accessible. Your child could even just wear a favorite part of the costume, like the cape, because everyone feels more powerful in a superhero cape.
- Be Cool in Shades: Dentist offices require their patients to wear protective glasses when they are in the chair, so instead of the utilitarian ones from the office, have your child wear his or her favorite ones from home. The not only will make your child feel ultra-cool in the chair, but it will also reduce the brightness from the dentist’s light. The glasses could also be worn with the costume to add to the fearless-factor. When you pick out the glasses for your child to wear, be sure that they are not too big to interfere with the job that the hygienist and dentist need to do.
- Rock Out to the Tunes: A cool set of headphones and calming music can make a kid feel even more special. Since the noises at the dentist office can be a little unsettling, your child will look and feel relaxed and cool wearing headphones. It should not matter if your child is wearing a costume and sunglasses already, the headphones will just make the trip to the dentist even more fun and amazing.
- Build a Fun Kit: Along with the other playful costumes and accessories, a fun kit makes many children feel relaxed and special. The kit does not have to be just for the dentist, but it could be a kit full of fun things for the time when they have to spend away from home. Most children have to spend time waiting in a doctor’s office, in the grocery store line, and in other places, so the kit could travel to those places, too. Give your child a limit as to how much can be included in the kit, but let your child choose the objects and the carrying case for added fun.
- Fun Times after the Appointment: After your child has played dress up, worn sunglasses and headphones, and created a fun kit, promise your child even more fun by taking him to a favorite place after the dentist appointment. The after-appointment activity or prize should not be contingent on behavior or anything else, but just as a celebration that the appointment is over.
By making the day of the dentist appointment as fun as possible, you might be surprised to hear your child actually ask, “When can I go back to the dentist?”
About the author: Charleen Michaels is a loving mother of three beautiful daughters. Charleen understands the importance of dental visits not only because of her children, but because she is partnered with an active member of the dental community, Aaron Schulman. Aaron works on the Advisory Board with 5th Avenue Acquisitions & Venture Capitalists. This company assists dentists who are looking to expand their dental practice, buy a dental practice for the first time or acquire additional practices, and oversees the tedious process of selling dental practices.