The 7 Best Dentist Games to Help Your Child Love the Dentist

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Dentist games are amazing tools for raising health-savvy kids. Even after you find the best pediatric dentist for your child, getting them there can be another story. If you are like me, or most parents, you may hear the word “no” quite a bit. However, setting a positive tone for your child’s oral care matters.

In fact, their experiences with the dentist and oral hygiene now will affect their dental health for the rest of their life. Early childhood cavities can indicate more serious dental issues later in life. How your child starts taking care of their mouth is how they’ll continue to do so into adulthood.

When we think this way, it places a special importance on early dentist appointments. It also shows how crucial it is to give our children the right perspective about oral health. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that up to 74% of children have at least moderate anxiety associated with dental visits.

As a dentist’s daughter and a mother myself, I understand both sides of the equation! That’s why I often recommend games to other parents, hoping to give their child a lifelong passion for dental health.

How Playing Dentist Games Can Ease Dental Anxiety

There are many benefits to playing dentist games with your child. Playing games at the dentist has shown to be a helpful distraction technique to alleviate anxiety at the dentist.

Familiarizing children with oral hygiene through games can help in two ways. Firstly, it helps prevent and reduce the risk of cavities. Secondly, dentist games keep your child informed on what’s happening inside their mouths during a visit.

Just like adults, fear of the unknown can be the most frightening part.

If children are able to dress up and “play dentist” beforehand, the visit won’t be so worrisome. Studies show that educational video games improve health education and pain distraction outcomes by 42%. Whether they’re learning at home or distracted during a procedure, using dentist games can put your child’s mind at ease.

A study found that dentists are likely to give more advice about children’s dental hygiene if the parent seems interested. Simply put, educating your child beforehand may improve their quality of care. When parents partner with their child’s dentist, the results are far better.

These games not only benefit kids, but indicate your commitment and interest in partnering to your dentist. Playing dental games can not only reduce pre-visit jitters, but even improve your child’s oral health.

Top 7 Dentist Apps and Online Games

From Crazy Dentist and Popstar Dentist to Dentist Doctor or Baby Dentist, dentist games are abundant. Most are available to play online or on your iOS and Android devices, and I recommend you skip the scary ones.

Here are some of my favorite free games to ease anxiety and educate your little one.

1. Brush DJ

Available on: App Store, Play Store

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (App Store), 4.2 / 5 (Play Store)

Cost: Free

Age Recommendation: 4+

Pros:

  • Makes brushing fun and encourages physical activity, adding another health benefit for kids
  • Great reminders, like changing your brush or brush head
  • Notifications when it’s time to brush teeth and floss
  • Updated whenever new oral health information is released
  • Compatible with your music library or streaming service. Also has a built-in, free music library
  • Making dental hygiene a fun game can ease routine cleanings and checkups

Cons:

  • A few reviewers have asked for more visual features to keep kids interested

Download (Apple)

Download (Android)

2. Toothsavers

Available on: App Store, Online

Rating: 4.6

Age Recommendation: 4+

Pros:

  • Offers 10 colorful characters, each with their own toothbrush and food particles
  • Interactive map to chart brushing for day and night
  • Earn new characters by brushing two minutes, twice a day
  • The parents’ section lets you schedule and monitor brushing activity
  • You can post to Facebook when your child reaches brushing milestones. What parent doesn’t love bragging on their children’s accomplishments?
  • No app download needed for online play

Cons:

  • Can have slow loading times if device storage is near full
  • Not available on Android

Download (Apple)

Play in Browser (Flash required)

3. Dentist Office

Available on: App Store

Rating: 4.6

Cost: Free (Offers In-App Purchases)

Age Recommendation: 4+

Pros:

  • Players are the dentist in this interactive game. “Performing” routine procedures online can take the guesswork and fear out of a dental visit.
  • Kids can choose tools and procedures, so you can prepare your kid for the exact procedure they’ll be getting.
  • Teaches dental care basics and even has dental surgery options

Cons:

  • Some users complain of the amount of ads
  • Due to the more complicated nature of the procedures, this app may need some parental help. It’s rated 4+ though, so it’s not overly tricky.
  • Only available through App Store

Download (Apple)

4. Disney Magic Timer by Oral-B

Available on: App Store, Play Store

Rating: 4.1 (App Store), 4.0 (Play Store)

Cost: Free (In-App Purchases available)

Age Recommendation: 4+ / Everyone

Pros:

  • Kids can clean up their teeth with characters like Snow White, their favorites from Frozen, or Captain America.
  • You can collect stickers, use a brushing calendar, and see visual content from Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars franchises.
  • #1 free app downloaded in children six to eight years old. The immense popularity means parents and kids alike are fans.

Cons:

  • Must own a Crest or Oral-B product to activate.
  • Many reviewers complained the app had glitches that need an update and could erase your profile. The developer responded and has released a new version this year (2019) — hopefully fixing previous issues.

Download (Apple)

Download (Android)

5. Doctor Teeth

Available on: Play Store

Rating: 4.3

Cost: Free

Age Recommendation: Everyone

Pros:

  • Multiple, fun “patients” with different tooth problems to treat
  • Teaches the purpose of each dental tool, providing a more familiar experience during your next dentist visit.
  • Offers games for both procedures and for prevention

Cons:

  • Timed challenges may not be helpful if your child suffers from more severe anxiety
  • Only available on Play Store

Download (Android)

6. Dentist Games

Available on: App Store, Play Store

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (App Store), 3.9 / 5 (Play Store)

Cost: Free

Age Recommendation: 4+ / Everyone

Pros:

  • Offers kids a chance to perform dental work on models of other kids
  • Also includes a braces option in case orthodontic work is causing your child concern
  • No in-app purchases; it’s totally free
  • Shows aspects of dental hygiene and cleaning as well as procedures
  • Available on both Google Play and iTunes

Cons:

  • Only 4 characters to choose from
  • Some reviewers find the plotline slow and uneventful

Download (Apple)

Download (Android)

7. Philips Sonicare for Kids

Available on: App Store, Play Store

Rating: 4.7 (App Store), 3.5 (Play Store)

Cost: Free

Age Recommendation: 4+

Pros:

  • Teaches correct brushing habits
  • Gives in-app rewards for consistent brushing
  • Supports brushing reminders
  • Helmed by a likeable character, Sparkly, who makes it easy to follow along
  • Supports family sharing on iTunes store so more than one child can use it
  • Parents can track kids’ brushing habits within the app

Cons:

  • Some features are only available to kids who own a Philips Sonicare toothbrush

Download (Apple)

Download (Android)

Games to Play at the Dentist for a Fear-Free Visit

For many of us, even as adults, the waiting room can be one of the most nerve-wracking parts of a visit to the dentist. Preparation is key for a worry-free dental visit, but what about once you arrive?

As you choose your pediatric dentist, you might select one that keeps toys or a children’s area in their lobby. This indicates that they have children’s comfort in mind from the moment you walk in the door. Built-in games and play areas can relax your child as they wait.

I’ve mentioned that distraction techniques can play a major role in keeping your child fear-free. If your dentist doesn’t provide them, I recommend bringing some fun games to take their mind off of dental anxiety. Great choices include:

  • Jenga
  • Uno
  • Operation
  • Go Fish

Don’t be afraid to dust off some of your childhood favorites and play Barbie Dentist or Princess Dentist. Ultimately, you know your child best. Don’t be afraid to bring toys and games that make them feel comfortable and distract them from the upcoming procedure.

In Summary

From brushing their teeth to preparing for their very first visit with a real dentist, your role as a parent is key in dental care. You help set the tone for your child’s dental experience.

Though it’s common for children to experience dental anxiety, dentist games and apps can relieve stress and prepare them for their visit. Giving your children a chance to play before their procedure is a win for both of you.

Who knows? With all this virtual practice, your little one might even grow up to pursue dentistry themselves.

Read Next: 6 Ways to Ease Your Child’s Dental Anxiety

5 References

  1. Milsom, K. M., Blinkhorn, A. S., & Tickle, M. (2008). The incidence of dental caries in the primary molar teeth of young children receiving National Health Service funded dental care in practices in the North West of England. British dental journal, 205(7), E14. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18849940
  2. Bezabih, S., Fantaye, W., & Tesfaye, M. (2013). Dental anxiety: prevalence and associated factors, among children who visited Jimma University Specialized Hospital Dental Clinic. Ethiopian medical journal, 51(2), 115-121. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24079155
  3. Appukuttan, D. P. (2016). Strategies to manage patients with dental anxiety and dental phobia: literature review. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dentistry, 8, 35. Full Text: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4790493/
  4. Primack, B. A., Carroll, M. V., McNamara, M., Klem, M. L., King, B., Rich, M., … & Nayak, S. (2012). Role of video games in improving health-related outcomes: a systematic review. American journal of preventive medicine, 42(6), 630-638. Full Text: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3391574/
  5. Threlfall, A. G., Hunt, C. M., Milsom, K. M., Tickle, M., & Blinkhorn, A. S. (2007). Exploring factors that influence general dental practitioners when providing advice to help prevent caries in children. British dental journal, 202(4), E10. Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17308533

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