A visit to the dentist can often be a traumatic experience, particularly for little people. Do you remember the first time you made a trip to the dentist? That funny smelling room with a humongous moving chair and the strange person asking you to open your mouth wide. So they could light it up with a torch and put a cold metal spoon on to your teeth and gums.
Memories whether good or bad are unforgettable and so it is of the utmost importance as a dental service provider, to help create happy and fond thoughts for your patients.
With careful planning, you can create a wonderful visitor experience for your more junior clientele.
All children have an adoration of role play, from doctors and nurses to fairies and pirates. So why not help feed their imagination with puppets and dolls? Having a dental practice puppet who becomes an iconic mascot to children is a really nice way to help develop a relationship with young patients. A puppet can take on the persona of a patient as a Dentist easily demonstrates what they will be doing to the children during their visit. A puppet with a large accessible mouth that opens wide and fits different dentistry implements is sure to be a winner.
Puppets are an enjoyable and interactive way to clearly and visually explain why going to the dentist is so important. Together with what can happen to your teeth if you do not brush them every day and night. Stories can be made up about the Puppets, particularly if they have no teeth, e.g. “poor Aimee never brushed her teeth and when she woke up one day, all her teeth fell out.”
We particularly like the range of Puppets available from Educating Smiles, a Rugby based company who have a brilliant range of boy and girl puppets, specifically designed for educational purposes. They also offer Giant Tooth Brushes to use alongside the Puppets.
No child can resist the temptation of the latest technology. Tablets are very educational and stimulating, helping young patients focus on their game and not what the dentist may or may not do. A dedicated Ipad or Tablet equivalent secured to a children’s table and chair area is the perfect pacifier for children that need a welcoming distraction. There are a variety of brilliant games available to download via Itunes, depicting dentists performing procedures on patients. “Dentist Office, Dental Teeth Games Simulator” is a colourful and easy to navigate game, with various levels including Dental Check-up and Dental Cleaning. Allowing children to pretend they actually are the dentist, using the comprehensive set of screen tools for treatments.
Reading books is something that can be enjoyed, as a parent and child moment, or by a child immersing themselves in the words and pictures. A good selection of books for young children in the waiting room of your dental practice is another lovely distraction from waiting to see the dentist. Books telling comical stories about dental hygiene and teeth can teach children many valuable lessons about how to look after their teeth by themselves and thus become more independent.
Educating Smiles offers a selection of story and picture books about tooth care and losing teeth.
A great way to entice young patients to visit your practice is the offer of a free gift or treat. All children love the idea of receiving a reward, especially if they are told they have been good. Children are also more likely to want to return to the Dentist if they know there is an incentive to make the visit. Handheld items that can easily fit into pockets are absolute winners. Traditional toys that are not so popular today are a nice touch as children discover a new skill, such as how to master a yo-yo, and parents get to revisit their lost youth.
Educating Smiles offer multi-packs of yoyos making them a very cost-effective giveaway. Slinky Springs also make a nice freebie for children. These brightly coloured miniature spring toys will give you little patients hours of tactile pleasure and enjoyment.