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How to design a child-friendly dental practice

8 Jul 2016 7:30 AM

Attending a dentist appointment can be an overwhelming experience for young kids – and their stressed out parents. However, there are many things you can do to put them at ease and get them looking forward to return visits.


Here are five things you can do to create a child-friendly dental practice:

1. Create a ‘kids zone’ play area

While long waiting times are often unavoidable in a busy dental practice, they can be particularly tough on young children. Providing some toys in your reception area is a good start, but creating a separate ‘kids zone’ is even better. Soft furnishings, a wall-mounted flat screen playing popular children’s movies, a range of games and toys, and even some desk space for arts and crafts will keep the kids entertained – and separated from your other waiting clients who will appreciate a more peaceful reception area.


2. Provide a kids-only examination room

Attending a dental appointment can be scary for kids. That’s why it’s a great idea to provide a kids-only examination room. Use bright colours to create a cheerful environment, along with artwork and even a few plush toys from a beloved children’s movie or animated series. Again, a wall-mounted flat screen or a hand-held tablet can provide a much-needed distraction, or go low-tech and provide some story books parents can read to their kids while you conduct the examination.


3. Offer a prize box

Distraction is the key to keeping kids happy at the dentist, and offering a lucky dip ‘prize box’ for good behaviour is all the motivation many will need to keep the tantrums at bay. Rather than simply handing a pint-sized patient a shoebox to draw from, make this a novelty by featuring a permanent ‘prize box’ station in your reception area with lots of bright colours and even some victory music or funny sound effects that play when they select a prize. This will also encourage your child patients – and their parents – look forward to return visits.


4. Rethink your reception desk

Large, imposing reception desks that kids can’t see over can add to their sense of anxiety. Either opt for lower desks that don’t alienate kids, or consider putting in a set of steps that kids can climb up so they can feel part of the process and are not being dragged into a scary adult world.


5. Teach with props

Using props such as giant toothbrushes and an over-sized set of teeth is a great way to teach kids about dental hygiene. For example, show them how they should be cleaning their teeth, then hand the props over to them so they can get a feel for it. The more you make their visit to your practice feel like a game, the better they are likely to respond.

Adding a few simple child-friendly aspects to your dental practice will not only improve the experience for the kids, their parents and your other patients, it will also encourage plenty of smiles on return visits.


The expert tradespeople at Cassin & Sons can help you design a child-friendly dental practice. Call us now on 1300 122 774 to get started.