9 Picture Books to Get Kids Ready for the Dentist
by Jennifer Ridgway
To try to prepare my kids for their first trip to the dentist (or “the doctor for their teeth,” as I explained), I turned to books. There are quite a few stories available that help guide young kids through what they may experience when they go, from the waiting room to the exam room to a potential (hopefully not!) cavity. Unlike their pediatricians, who most children see regularly from birth, dentists are a new experience for little ones. Below are some of the books that my family read to prepare for the trip — and loved!
Babies get their first teeth (and have to brush them) long before seeing a dentist. This adorable board book by popular children’s author Leslie Patricelli introduces babies to teeth and how to keep them healthy.
The Tooth Book
Get ready to giggle your way through this wacky board book about teeth from Dr. Seuss. Young children will learn all about their pearly whites, what they’re for, and how to keep them clean. If your child loves the rhymes, humor, and silliness of Dr. Seuss’s books, add this one to your collection.
Dora Goes to the Doctor/Dora Goes to the Dentist
This two-books-in-one includes what turned out to be my twins’ favorite dentist story, despite their having no familiarity with Dora the Explorer. Dora tells the reader about her trip to the dentist and includes them in the process, asking them to look for things in the illustrations and to do certain things (open wide!) to prepare. She briefly touches on cavities without going into too much detail.
Maisy, Charley, and the Wobbly Tooth
Take a trip to the dentist with Maisy and her friends. They get to explore the dentist’s office and learn how to clean their teeth. It’s the perfect story to show first-timers what to expect.Preorder from:
The Night Before the Dentist
What can children do to get ready for a dentist visit? Find out in this rhyming story from the creators of the bestselling picture book series, The Night Before. Whether this is your child’s first trip to the dentist or they’re a seasoned pro, this book will calm their nerves and have them looking forward to their visit.
Just Going to the Dentist
The Little Critter series is a favorite in many homes, and this book is a great way to use a familiar character to introduce a new experience. Mayer’s book follows a very predictable yet informative sequence: The Little Critter goes to the dentist, discovers he has a cavity, and has to get a filling. The book also describes the funny feeling of a numb mouth and (very briefly) mentions braces.
The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist
You can’t go wrong with this classic story about the bear family’s visit to the dentist. They get their teeth cleaned, cavities filled, and baby teeth (gently) removed. Kids who love the familiar Berenstain characters will appreciate this story.
The Tooth Book
Visiting the dentist is an essential part of caring for your teeth. But do you know how to take care of them on a daily basis? This picture book walks children through the ins and outs of dental care and answers their questions.
The Last Loose Tooth
Readers who loved The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt will enjoy this giggle-worthy story about a tooth who refuses to fall out. Even after all the other baby teeth leave, Lou wants to stay put. But when new teeth show up, Lou must decide if staying in the mouth is worth it.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2017 and updated in 2022.