Books to Read with Your Kids Before Visiting the Dentist
The thought of visiting the dentist may cause anxiety in young kids, even if they’ve already done it a few times. Dentists are often portrayed negatively in pop culture, and your child may have heard adults, older siblings, and their friends express fear of the dentist. These factors may be enough to counteract previous experiences at the dentist’s office and cause your child to be anxious, nervous, or fearful as their next appointment approaches. At Tiny Texans Pediatric Dentistry, we work hard to make our young patients and their families as comfortable as possible, including creating a bright, welcoming office space; explaining procedures in terms children can understand; and offering a variety of Austin no-needle dentistry services. However, if your child still has worries, we recommend reading a book about visiting the dentist a couple of days before their appointment. Here are two of our favorites:
Maisy, Charley, and the Wobbly Tooth
This book, one of the many about Maisy the mouse by author Lucy Cousins, is recommended for children ages two to five. It is a little longer and has a little more of a developed plot than most of the other Maisy books. The story begins with Maisy’s friend Charley, who has many teeth, and one of his teeth is loose. He is nervous about his first visit to the dentist, so all of his friends accompany him. They learn about the dentist’s chair, losing baby teeth, proper brushing procedure, and X-rays, and Charley receives a special treat for being a great patient. At the end of the story, Charley’s loose tooth comes out, and he is visited by the Tooth Fairy!
The brightly colored artwork and animal characters are always a big hit with toddlers and preschool-aged children, and the story is educational without being overwhelming. As Booklist stated in its review of the title, “Leavened with a little visual humor and bolstered by a bit of information about tooth care, the book provides basic information about what happens at the dentist’s office while offering reassurance to kids who are anxious about the experience.” Maisy, Charley, and the Wobbly Tooth was published in 2009 by Candlewick Press.
Going to the Dentist
One of a number of child-friendly non-fiction titles by the late Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood fame, Going to the Dentist is unfortunately out of print these days, but you may be able to find a copy at your local library. Alternatively, check out used bookstores and websites that deal in older books. Going to the Dentist is filled with bright, colorful photographs of preschool-aged children at actual dentist appointments. It describes in age-appropriate detail how the dentist and dental hygienist will examine, clean, and put fluoride on their patients’ teeth, and it discusses common childhood fears such as the bright overhead light and sharp instruments.
The photographs in this book may appear slightly dated, as it was published in 1989 by Putnam Juvenile, and it specifically identifies dental hygienists as women, but those are the only drawbacks to this otherwise excellent non-fiction book. As one would expect, Mr. Rogers’ book emphasizes both the diversity in our world and the fact that everyone needs to visit the dentist regularly, and it portrays the dentist as a helper and friend rather than someone we should fear.