Let’s face it: when it comes to a child’s “Things I Want to Do,” list, going to the dentist is likely going to be toward the bottom. Besides taking time out of their busy days of play, visiting the dentist can sometimes cause discomfort and stress.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! With these four tips, you help make a good impression on your youngest patients and have them excited to come back…or at least much more willing!
Create a welcoming environment
Many patients associate the dentist’s office with white walls, “before” photos of dental care and a level of sterileness that can make them feel uncomfortable. Early impressions on kids can set the tone for years to come, so to help kids feel more at ease at your practice, consider making some improvements:
- Repaint your walls a soft, calming color
- Replace before and after photos with artwork
- Add some potted plants for a nice well-being boost
- Create a warmer atmosphere with soft lamp lighting
- Play soothing music to help set the tone, such as lo-fi study music or classic instrumentals
Bonus: These makeover tips will also make your adult patients more at ease!
Give them something to do
Younger children get fidgety quite quickly, so help them channel that energy by giving them their own little waiting area! You can include:
- Youth-sized chairs and table
- Activity sheets
Pass out fun gift bags
When the appointment is over, make sure you send the child home with a gift bag. And it doesn’t just have to be dental goodies! In addition to the usual toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, you can also toss in:
- Garden seeds
- A holiday-themed toy
Encourage regular visits
The more times we do something, the less scary it becomes, right? The same goes for the dentist. Children who are exposed to the dentist early for their bi-annual appointments are more likely to be curious than fearful of the dentist. So, encourage their parent or guardian to keep their child’s regular check-ups.
The bottom line: Set the tone from the moment they walk in with calming music, décor and activities to keep them busy while they wait. Send them home with more than a healthy smile: a goodie bag is a great way to make an impression. Finally, work with their parent or guardian to ensure they are coming in for regular check-ups to reduce any fear or anxiety about dental visits.