Colorado’s newest dental office caters to an unusual clientele. On any given day, you’ll find toddlers and young preschoolers in lab coats busily cleaning the teeth of a small gorilla with a million dollar smile. The front office, also staffed by the pull-up crowd, happily tap away at a keyboard and answer the phone as well.
This innovative dental experience is located in The Children’s Museum of Denver’s Center for the Young Child. For years, parents have taken their littlest ones to the colorful, bright, safe, and clean play area. Now there is a new exhibit to teach and entertain junior dentists with warm, whimsical touches. It’s called The Village of Healthy Smiles. I took my four and two-year-old boys to play there and they had a great time role playing, building, and exploring. The area is small and homey, with thoughtful touches like cozy pillows, a book nook, and of course the bustling dental office.
The idea is great. Good dental habits in tiny-teethed people are important. Young kids can be unsure or even frightened of the dentist. Or, they may not fully grasp the importance of not only brushing, but of the role healthy foods play in keeping their choppers strong for the tooth fairy and beyond. This is why Delta Dental of Colorado helped create the space, along with early childhood dental experts and artists.
I was very impressed by the attention to detail. The space is intimate and spunkily cute. There are steampunk-like robots beyond a bathroom mirror. Your child can brush the robot’s teeth while standing at the most adorable miniature pedestal sink. Books encourage cozy reading time. Molar-shaped wooden blocks are available for kids who are into building towers. My two-year-old enjoyed wearing tooth fairy wings as he played in the space.
But by far, the busiest slice of the Village of Healthy Smiles was the dental office. Little ones lined up to clean the teeth of the grinning gorilla. It was adorable and gives parents a great way to demonstrate brushing technique on a furry, but willing, patient.
When you visit the Children’s Museum with your small kids, don’t miss the Village of Healthy Smiles. It will spark a great discussion away from the home bathroom about keeping teeth at their healthy best. Play is an excellent teacher. It’s a great springboard for introducing your little one to the idea of going to the dentist for the first time. If that’s on the horizon for you, I encourage you to visit.
~ The Village of Healthy Smiles is located in The Center for the Young Child, which caters to kids ages birth to three. It’s designed with them specifically in mind.
~ Remember, no shoes allowed in this portion of the museum, so plan for that.
~ No strollers are allowed inside, but this keeps the space open, clean, and encourages exploration. There are lockers and a stroller parking area close by.
~ For information about hours, directions and admissions, visit The Children’s Museum of Denver’s site.
~ Don’t forget to check out the rest of the museum! Most of the exhibits are open and bustling during expansion construction.