Believe it or not, my kids have always loved going to the dentist. I suspect it has something to do with the fabulous prize they get to choose at the end of the appointment. Before her last dentist appointment, my daughter actually told me “I can’t wait to go to the dentist!” I had to feel her forehead to make sure she wasn’t running a fever.
When faced with an unpleasant experience, people often joke that “this is about as much fun as having a tooth pulled.” Here are some ideas on how you can turn a dental appointment into a pleasant, and maybe even an eagerly anticipated, experience for your patients.
· Hire fun people and give them permission to have fun, not just with patients but with each other. You probably spend more hours with your work family than your home family, so why not make it enjoyable?
· Treat patients like people – ask questions, get to know them, make them feel at home.
· Tell jokes - Figure out how to make people laugh and just do it. You've probably heard these a zillion times but they're probably new to the patient.
Q: What does the dentist of the year get? A: A little plaque
Q: At what time do most people go to the dentist? A: At tooth-hurty (2:30).
Q: What did the werewolf eat after he'd had his teeth taken out? A: The dentist
Q: What did the dentist say to the golfer? A: "You have a hole in one.”
Q: What is the difference between a dentist and a New York baseball fan? A: One yanks for the roots; the other roots for the Yanks.
Furnish iPads in the waiting room – loaded with entertaining and educational dental videos
Encourage patients to watch movies during procedures. It’s easy with this system
· Make the office environment fun!
o Decorate your office and dress up for holidays like Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day
o Play upbeat music
o Display funny signs
Give out prizes
to adults (think lip balm) and kids. Don’t be afraid to be original, like offering fingernail painting at the end of the visit.
· For children, give instruments entertaining names such as “Miss Tooth Counter” (dental explorer), “Mr. Mirror, or “Mrs. Thirsty” (suction device).
Put coloring pages (with crayons) and puzzles in the waiting room - a wooden tooth puzzle, a word search for adults or older children, a connect-the-dots page for school age children. Visit mouthhealthykids.org
to download free activity sheets.
Place books in the waiting room for children. View some popular titles here
Things parents can do before a dental visit to help prepare child:
· Play pretend - Use stuffed animals or your own mouths to play dentist on each other before you go in for the appointment.
· Read your child a book about the visit to the dentist . Some popular titles are "The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist"; "Just Going to the Dentist (Little Critter)"; "Sesame Street Ready, Set, Brush: A Pop-Up Book" or "Open Wide: Tooth School Inside".
Share this link with parents so they can download a free personalized coloring book
for their child. Tom's of Maine is donating 10 tubes of Wicked Cool! Natural Kids Toothpaste to OHA for every download of their Brushing Fun coloring book.