The high backed chairs, plenty of equipment, unfamiliar space and a doctor poking around inside your mouth….this can be so very intimidating for most of us adults. Imagine what it can do to our kids?
Visiting a pediatric dentist for the first time is a new experience for little ones. They don’t know what is being done, and despite parents being there, can resist the experience of a new person handling them from such close quarters.
It is very important for parents, and for us doctors to make them familiar with a few things before their first visit or during subsequent ones. While we take care of them inside the clinic, using the most gentlest way to handle their fears, as parents what you can do, is make the entire process less stressful for them.
Books we have found, are one of the ways to make things more relatable. When a child understands how his teeth work, what is happening in his mouth, through pictures and illustrations, he knows what to expect. It is also a great way to communicate to kids in their own language.
Here are 10 children books, for different ages that explain about dental health, pediatric dentist visit and some of the procedures in ways that will make them understand, relate and reduce stress.
1. Dentist (First Time)
Author, Illustrator: Jess Stockham
Age Group: 2+
First time at a dentist’s can be a very nerve wracking experience. This book is part of a series of ‘First Time’ which rather than telling a story, shows different children experiencing treatment, and the general interaction with a dentist. There is a waiting room, a scene which shows teeth being counted, a look at the equipment, step by step on how a child undergoes dental fillings.
The text is conversational, brightly illustrated, helps children see different situations, and understand procedures.
2. Harry and the Dinosaurs say ‘Rahhhh’
Author: Ian Whybrow
Illustrator: Adrian Reynolds
Age Group: 3+
Harry and all his dinosaurs have a dental appointment and everyone is nervous – especially T-Rex who has many teeth. With Harry’s reassurances and a special button that makes him grow big, T-Rex lets Dr.Drake examine his teeth.
The illustrations are simple, funny and text easily understandable. It will help relieve the anxiety of this important life lesson for the little ones.
3. Dentist Trip (Peppa Pig)
Author: Lady Bird
Age Group: 3+
Peppa, George and Mr. Dinosaur visit the dentist to get their teeth checked. Although George is nervous, he does get through the procedure while having fun in the process. The story is one among a series revolving around Peppa and her family, and the challenges they face.
The book has very relatable characters, great illustrations and a simple explanation, which helps kids connect. Since the characters are also favorites among kids, it makes it easier to connect with them.
4. Open Wide
Author, Illustrator: Laurie Keller
Age Group: 3+
32 students (8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars and 12 molars) are taken through a class on how to care for teeth through questions and quizzes. Mr.Flossman, their teacher, peppers their classes with fun facts, and plenty of questions on tooth care.
The book has wonderfully vivid illustrations, is hilarious full of interesting facts and connects all the different procedures that happen during a checkup.
5. How Many Teeth?
Author: Paul Showers
Illustrator: True Kelley
Age Group: 3+
One of the oldest books (30 years), teaching kids about taking care of their teeth, the books starts from the basics, explaining to kids the number of teeth they have, what happens when baby teeth fall off and big teeth come in. The book relates their growth to the fall of the teeth.
Illustrations are older but very familiar with our childhood, text simpler and the book is very engaging. The relation of teeth with growth is simple and easily explained.
Books are the best way to teach kids about life. When it comes to their teeth, there is no better thing than books to make them relate to what their teeth go through.
Do let us know if there are any other books related to dental health in kids that you may know of. It will help us and other parents add more to their list.