Last year I shared on my Summer Bucket List that we would be taking Happy Buddy to the dentist for the first time.
My little man was quite nervous about this experience and with a history of some problems with oral sensory processing (check out my post about Picky Eating HERE), I was also scared that things would not bode well for us in the dentist’s chair.
Not to mention I didn’t exactly have a great track record of remembering to stay on top of his teeth brushing (probably because he went ape on us whenever I mentioned it and eventually just gave up the battle – I KNOW, #badmom), so you could say there was some concern that he might have 40,000 cavities.
I decided that Happy Buddy needed to be prepped for his doctor’s appointment so that he would know what to expect and I set about finding creative ways to do so.
As it turned out, the Happy Buddy did AWESOME at the dentist’s office. In fact, he asked me later that day if we could go back.
I’m thinking it had something to do with the birthday cake-flavored fluoride and the chocolate flavored toothpaste (which seems a little counterproductive to the whole philosophy of a dentist, if you ask me).
But I do think beyond that, the prep we did to help Happy Buddy get mentally ready for Dr. Thomas made all the difference in the world.
Here are the 5 things we did before our first dentist appointment…
1. Read books about the dentist.
First thing we after I scheduled our dentist appointment was load the kids in the car and hit the library where we checked out anything we could find in the kid’s section about dentists.
2. Download a dentist themed app for kids.
After the library trip, I did some searching for an app for kids about the dentist. We found THIS ONE called Tiny Dentist and the Happy Buddy still plays with it to this day. The player gets to swap places with the dentist and clean teeth, fill cavities, and even extract the ones that are just beyond repair.
3. Pretend play a visit to the dentist.
This was by far my favorite thing we did to get the Happy Buddy ready for his first dentist experience!
We set up an area in his bedroom with a towel and pillow for him to lay on. I put on an apron and got his toothbrush. Then I welcomed him to my office and introduced myself as the hygienist. I helped him into the ‘chair’ and proceeded to put a paper towel on his chest. Next I carefully brushed his teeth, provided him with a cup of water to swish and a bowl to spit.
Then I announced that I would be getting the dentist to have a look in his mouth. This is the part where I got the hubs and he came in wearing yard work goggles and holding a drill. Hahahaha! I posted a picture of it on Instagram HERE.
The hubs was pretty hilarious and got to work on Happy Buddy’s mouth. I think he ‘removed’ about 5 teeth.
Lol – I guess there is no wonder Happy Buddy had such a pleasant experience at the real dentist because we probably traumatized him with our fake one!!! 🙂
4. Sing about it.
Click over HERE to find a hilarious song about brushing your teeth.
5. Pray about it.
Finally, with everything that is new or even scary for our kids, we do our best to commit it to prayer. The few days leading up to our appointment we prayed for peace, for Dr. Thomas, and we reminded ourselves of Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid, for the Lord your God is with you WHEREVER you go.”
Even to the dentist!
I am happy to report that Happy Buddy had no cavities last year.
And we even went again this summer and received the same good news!
Plus the hubs put a reminder in my phone that goes off every night at 7 pm and we drop everything to brush our teeth – no matter what.
So I guess maybe I’m not such a bad mom after all. 😉
What helps your kids when they go to the dentist?