Are you avoiding taking your little one to the dentist? It can be a daunting experience when you and your child are unprepared. It can be a fun and healthy habit when you are prepared! Read on for tips on taking your kids to the dentist, and why we choose The Silverstrom Group in Livingston NJ.
TIP ONE: READ LOTS OF BOOKS ABOUT GOING TO THE DENTIST
Reading books is a great way to introduce new experiences to your child because it stimulates their curiosity about the subject, as well as offering them a chance to gain mastery over something new. There are so many good books about going to the dentist. Head over to your local library and check out a whole stack! (We especially love THIS Mister Roger’s book.)
TIP TWO: PLAY ‘DENTIST’ USING DOLLS
Set up a make-shift dentist office using your child’s toys. It doesn’t need to be perfect and you don’t need to buy anything. Do you have a dollhouse? Maybe some blocks, magnetic tiles, or even a shoebox? Use your imagination! Show your child what happens at the dentist by practicing on her baby dolls or stuffed animals. Walk them through the experience using toys or dolls. These can be ANY dolls- stuffed animals, robots, even dinosaurs. Use whatever your child loves. You will help them feel ownership over the situation by “walking” the doll into the “waiting room” and pretending to wait. ‘Notice’ (out loud) the things you might see at the dentist office.
Here are some examples of language you might use:
Look! There is the receptionist behind the desk. Let’s go tell her your robot’s name and why she is here. Let’s help your robot introduce herself and write her name on the sign-in sheet.
What can your dolly do while her mama is filling out those grown-up papers? Should we give her a toy to play with?
Let’s take the dinosaur into the pretend office. Look at that chair and all those tools! I wonder what they might be for.
How is your dolly feeling? Is she excited about the chair that moves up and down, or maybe she’s feeling unsure. How can we comfort her?
Follow your child’s lead. Have the pretend dentist come in and count the doll’s teeth and pretend to brush them. You get the idea, right? It may feel a little silly, but your child will love it. This kind of play will help them process the new experience of going to the dentist.
TIP THREE: YOU PRETEND TO BE THE PATIENT
Have your child pretend to be the dentist and check your teeth. Let her count them and brush them while you lie on the couch. Then switch roles. Invite your child lie on the couch while you brush her teeth and count them. Then do the same thing with other household members or friends. Have fun with it, I bet your child will too!
We recently had all three children’s teeth cleaned at Dr. Gary Silverstrom’s office in Livingston, NJ.
The moment we walked in we were greeted by the cheerful staff, who assured me that I didn’t need to shush my children or keep them sitting still in the chairs (phew)! The kids were each given a swag-bag containing a stuffed animal and other goodies. As a mom of three, I often feel like a traveling circus when I enter a quiet office with my crew, but this office was ready for them.
After a few moments, we were escorted into the exam room, and guess what… Sloane’s favorite show was playing on the TV. She was floored. She literally couldn’t believe that going to the dentist meant cuddling with a new stuffy AND watching a show! Sloane is a generally slow-to-warm-up five-year-old, and I nearly melted in relief to see how comfortable she felt here. The hygienist was warm and friendly, and very tuned into each child’s personality. I was so impressed with the way the staff tempered their approach to the age and developmental stage of each of my three children.
They had Nate, my eleven year old, chatting about his favorite topics in no time. Ruby, who is nine, was feeling anxious about some yellowing on her front teeth that developed this summer. She was worried that she would be scolded for not brushing well. The exact opposite happened. The staff explained to her how that kind of marking develops and assured her it was through no fault of her own. Then they proceeded to polish it right off! Ruby was thrilled.
Dr. Gary Silverstrom and staff were so wonderful to work with, my kids are actually looking forward to their next dentist appointments! If you are local to NJ, I highly recommend you check them out for your entire family’s dentistry needs.
*This post was sponsored by The Silverstrom Group. All thought and opinions are my own. If you decide to check out The Silverstrom Group, mention The Workspace for Children and receive $100 new-patient courtesy.