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The patient reclining in the dentist chair at the Children’s Museum of Denver sports a giant toothy smile… and happens to be a monkey. The museum’s new Village of Healthy Smiles five-section exhibit, a collaboration with Delta Dental, introduces a trip to the dentist office to kids up to 3 years old in whimsical fashion.
First, tots are greeted by a mock dental office setup with an appointment desk, chair, and yes, the monkey. But before kids climb up into the big chair themselves, they can learn at-home tooth care from their parents or guardians. Lessons start in a height-adjustable bathroom—one sink for the kid and the other for a grownup. Once they get the idea of brushing, little ones can attach magnets of their favorite foods to an oversized magnetic tooth where the lollipops and gummy bears are significantly stronger—and tougher to brush off—than bananas and broccoli. Not all aspects of the area are dedicated to the brush and bristles, as families can page through books in the reading nooks, dress up like winged toothfairies, and build tooth towers from handcrafted wood blocks shaped like chompers.
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Even as the museum continues to undergo massive renovations, the Village of Healthy Smiles will hold its space as a permanent exhibit.
Follow assistant editor Lindsey R. McKissick on Twitter at@LindseyRMcK.