Doctor De Soto: Going to the Dentist

I prepare my children for new experiences the best way I know how – through books, music, and games. That’s how we were able to enjoy a long road trip to Baguio City and a second first-time on an airplane.

For Little T’s first visit to the dentist last year (yes, this is a much-delayed blog post!), I filled our Learning Basket with three books, cotton balls, cardboard, a miniature wooden doll, and a triangle. Oh, and we did a science experiment too!


The Books
Our main book was Doctor de Soto by William Steig, author of the tickly Pete’s a Pizza, and the heart-wrenching Sylvester and the Magic Pebble that we really enjoyed.


Doctor de Sotois a dentist like no other. Being a small mouse, he goes inside his large patients’ mouths to work on their teeth. He uses ladders and pulleys to reach them! The good doctor and his wife have made it a rule to NEVER accept patients who are naturally inclined to eat them – foxes, especially – but make an exception one day when a fox in pain appeals for mercy. I won’t spoil the book for you but our absolutely favorite line is what the fox murmurs under gas – Oh, how I love them raw with just a pinch of salt, and a dry white wine! 

The story is one of William Steig’s best and will be a farcical introduction to what goes on in a dentist’s clinic. Its humorous take on something that is usually thought of as scary adds to its appeal.
To balance the fantasy, we also read Going to the Dentist, a First Experiences book. It shows different photographs of a child’s visit to the dentist, from waiting at the reception area up to brushing his teeth with what the dentist has given him.
Cotton Ball Craft

I can’t manage complicated craft activities, so when I found a dental craft that only makes use of a paper plate, cotton balls, and glue, I was sold! Little T thought it was hilarious to have a big mouth.

Egg and Vinegar Experiment
To demonstrate why brushing one’s teeth is important, we did an egg and vinegar experiment. We soaked a hard-boiled egg (teeth) in a jar of vinegar (not brushing/cleaning teeth) for two days and noted that the egg’s shell (enamel) had disintegrated.

Simple Pulley

Pulleys are of course not a part of any dental clinic, except Doctor de Soto’s! Little T was curious about what it was and how it worked that we made a simple one using a triangle, tissue roll, yarn, and a small doll. We took turns being the patient and Doctor de Soto’s wife who pulls the pulley in the story.

The care that we took in preparing Little T for her first trip to the dentist resulted into a stress-free visit. On our third appointment, Little T was already sitting on her own on the dentist’s chair, giggling and excited. :)

Make magic!