As a parent, it can be hard to get your children to the dentist. Many children fear dentists for a variety of reasons. Maybe they fear a new situation or doctor, or they feel anxious about getting hurt during a checkup. Luckily, you can do a few things help your kids feel more at ease about the dentist. Use the following tips to make dental visits stress-free.

Role Play 

If your children hate the dentist simply because he or she is a novelty, they're not alone. Children often have difficulty feeling comfortable in a dental office when they only see the dentist twice a year.

Diffuse the situation by making dentists commonplace. During playtime, play dentist. Let your children be the dentist and then the patient. Act out the entire dental visit, from checking in with a receptionist, to getting their teeth cleaned, to a dental checkup. If possible, find some play dental tools and costumes so your children can get used to the idea of scrubs, masks, and tools near their mouth.

Make Brushing Teeth Fun

At night, play this game to make dental health fun. When it's time to brush teeth, invite your children to "come to the dentist" and have a "checkup". Act like a dentist by having them open up wide and looking in their mouth. If they're really little, brush their teeth for them and help them practice flossing.

Getting in the habit of brushing teeth early on shows your kids that dental health matters. Plus, because they're familiar with you, when you take on the role of dentist, the whole idea becomes less scary to them. They'll feel more prepared to face an actual dentist when the time comes.

Talk About the Dentist

Whenever you have a dental appointment for yourself, talk it up. Tell your children you have an appointment with a dentist next week and you want to work extra hard to keep your teeth clean and flossed. This is a perfect situation for your children to ask questions without having to worry about their own upcoming appointments.

If possible, bring your children with you to the office so they can see what goes on there. Again, being slightly removed from the situation will help them learn about dentists in a comfortable way.

Choose Your Dentist Wisely

You don't have to go it alone. Lots of dental offices realize that kids can feel hesitant, so they work to alleviate worries. Choose a pediatric dental office that has kid-friendly amenities, like an inviting waiting room, kid-themed dental equipment, and extra supportive staff.

An Inviting Waiting Room: Your ideal pediatric dentist will have a waiting room stocked with toys, comfy child-sized chairs, possibly a movie playing, or even a small play slide. Your children will spend their waiting time playing instead of worrying about their upcoming procedure.

Kid-Themed Dental Supplies: It may be small, but fun things like silly toothbrushes and wacky flavored toothpaste go a long way. Your kids will look forward to getting a new flavor of toothpaste every time they come to the dentist.

Extra-Supportive Staff: Pediatric dentists are trained for an extra 2 to 3 years to work with children. They interact with more understanding and patience when dealing with younger children. Let's face it-not all people work well with children, but pediatric dentists and the nurses that choose to go into this field typically do.

Read Dentist Books

The last thing you can do to prepare children for the dentist is to read books about dentists. A ton of books explain how dental procedures work, what to expect when you visit, and how to take care of your teeth. The pictures in the books help children visualize themselves going to the dentist. If all else has failed, turn to these books to prepare your children.