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Child scared of dentist... please advise!

(17 Posts)
Notinahundredyears Mon 08-Dec-14 12:27:46

Hello, my DD2 (5) has had some negative experience at a dental hospital where she was put under sedation and had a large job done. She now needs a small filling at our usual dentist's and she allowed her to put the anaesthetic in but wouldn't let her do the actual drilling... We spent almost an hour battling with her and ended up making another apt later in the week to try again. I don't think anything is going to change. I SO don't want her to go under sedation again though, especially for such a small job... So, maybe somebody has some advice? any tips? any other ways of doing it? Would be really grateful if you could share your stories. The dentist is a lovely lady and DD knows her since 2, but she just can't let her drill the tooth... and the suction thing she is simply terrified of! Thank you...

Andro Mon 08-Dec-14 12:59:16

Do you know what it is about the drill and suction line that she so scared of? If it's the noise then headphones and good music might help her. If she's worried about feeling really sore/unwell after the treatment (maybe she did after being sedated?) you can get her to see that she's felt fine after the local and some calpol will make sure she's not sore afterwards.

Fighting with her again and again will, unfortunately, probably make things worse - although given how important good dental care is it's very tempting to try and use force.

Notinahundredyears Mon 08-Dec-14 13:07:25

Thanks a lot Andro... I guess it's the noise too but she kept saying she is 'scared it's going to hurt'. We didn't force her, just tried to persuade her rather hard. Didn't threaten her, rather promised lots of rewards. I did mention though that the tooth will hurt if we don't 'fix' it now, and then we might have to take it out. I am going to ask her about suction (and why is it not possible to do it without the suction?!), or rather what is she scared of. Going to try again on Thursday but scared it's going to deepen her fear...
Calpol isn't a bad idea, i might try to bring it with me and give it to her before the drilling, to make her believe it's going to help. Using force is scary as she might damage her tongue?

Andro Mon 08-Dec-14 13:27:58

If she's scared the procedure is going to hurt then maybe make sure she has a clear signal to let you and the dentist know that she's in pain (that worked for ds after the dentist was very clear that he wanted to know if anything hurt and ds asked how he was supposed to tell him when his mouth would be full of 'stuff' - made us all laugh but a squeaky cat toy worked well as a signal).

Micah Mon 08-Dec-14 13:37:52

She's 5?

Is it a permanent tooth? Is it giving her any pain or discomfort?

My dc about that age "needed" a filling. No pain, no issues with the tooth, just dentist found it on exam. I let them fill it, but when we went back it had fallen out. They wanted to refill, but dc was terrified. In the interim I'd done some reading, and found several articles which said primary teeth should/could be left. The chances of developing a dentist phobia and having dental issues in the future were far higher than the likelihood of the tooth causing any problem before it is replaced with a permanent tooth.

I challenged the dentist, and it was agreed to leave it alone. Dc is no longer worried about the dentist, and the tooth is fine (dc is 11 now).

So, unless it's causing a problem, I'd ask them to leave it rather than exacerbate her fears. Go back to normal check ups.

Notinahundredyears Mon 08-Dec-14 13:38:51

Oh did it? So did he then let the dentist know that it hurts and then let him finish the job afterwards?

iwantavuvezela Mon 08-Dec-14 13:42:27

notinahundredyears I feel your pain. My DD had to have two fillings - it took a total of 3 visits to the dentist before it was done! I told her all she had to do was go, and try, the first two times failed, I still gave her the "reward" that was promised to go! In between dentist visits I spoke about the need to go blah blah, how the tooth might hurt if left, eventually she managed to have it done on the third visit (as she had worked out that the dentist thing was hanging over her!). HOwever now reading Micah's post I am also wondering if it might be better left, as I agree, you don't want a dentist phobia at this early age! Anyway, thoughts with you, I personally found the process grueling, but we got there in the end, me slightly apologetic each time we went, but I decided to be guided by my DD if she would do it, and asked only that we went each time!
Good luck

Notinahundredyears Mon 08-Dec-14 13:44:37

Micah, the trouble is the tooth is hurting. She had a few instances over last 2 days of 'ouch it hurts' and one interrupted night. We had one like that in the spring, which kept hurting, but we didn't know which one it was as the xray didn't show anything (?), she kept waking up at night every now and then crying, we didn't know what was going on as the said xray didn't show anything so dentist was clueless! So we 'left' it, until our GP referred us to hospital to see a maxillo-facial speialist who finally identified the pain as coming from a tooth (by doing a panoramic xray of the whole mouth), by which point we were told to have it out. And the panoramic xray showed lots of other teeth with decay.... sad( So ended up under sedation with 7 fillings and 1 extraction.

Notinahundredyears Mon 08-Dec-14 14:00:15

iwantavuvezela, thanks very much for sharing your story. I am definitely then gonig to try and persuade her to go third time if second time doesn't work. And will give her a lot of praise about how brave she is and will give her the promised presents. And maybe she will realise the dentist thing will hang over her too... however sad it might sound...

comeagainforbigfudge Mon 08-Dec-14 14:04:59

Hello, can I weigh in? I'm 34 and since a child have had a terrible fear of dentist.

When I was 10 or 11 I had to get a filling. Could feel every bit of the drill. Led to me never going to Dentist for years once parents were not making me.

I do go regularly now but only because I ended up in emergency dentist needing a root treatment. Vowed to get on top of my fear.

Long story short, I have uber sensitive gums that I need to get several locals before I'm fully numbed up. It might be worth mentioning that to dentist?

But definitely give pain killers at least 30mins or so before. And try and find out what her worst memory of pain was from her extraction episode. I know from lengthy dental procedures it was my jaw that hurt more than anything. So maybe explaining how much quicker this one filling will be, might help?

Please keep persevering if it's hurting her so. I got to the stage that as an adult I was literally shaking at the thought of dentist and had to go home and sleep almost straight away afterwards. So bad!

Hope that helps you

Good luck to yer wee lamb

LRB978 Mon 08-Dec-14 14:26:01

Coming at this from a point of view of a parent of a child with aspergers (bear with me, I'm not saying your dd does but the tricks learnt can be useful for all at times), sometimes it's covering all the little steps that makes the difference.

So, she has a hole in her tooth, which means the food is touching the nerve inside her tooth, and that is what is hurting (maybe show a diagram of a tooth, and show how with a hole it cant stop to food getting inside it). If it was a hole in the skin, we would put a plaster on it, but plasters dont stick on teeth (make her laugh, try putting a plaster on your tooth and see it fall off grin) so the dentist has to use something special like clay or playdough to fill the hole instead of a plaster (make sure you emphasise that it a special mixture only dentists have, and playdough/clay tastes very yucky and will not work because it will stay soft and hurt her tooth more). Explain that because the hole is there and it is hurting the dentist will make her mouth numb, like he did this time, just like 'magic cream' helps your knee/arm/hand stop hurting after you fall over (if you use 'magic cream') or numbs her arm if she has had a blood test/when she was sedated before (if it happened and she remembers it), however just like plasters dont work in the mouth, magic cream tastes very very yucky, will make her poorly and will not stop her tooth hurting, the dentist uses something special.

Agree that the noise is scary, and see if listening to music on headphones is something she would like to try to make the noise a little less scary. The suction is necessary because just like a plaster the mouth needs to be dry when they put the filling in, also if the drill is used it sucks away any tiny little bits of bone fragment created (you dont need to explain that bit to her). Not sure why the drilling, I believe it is to make the hole smooth enough for the filling but it is something I have never actually asked.

As suggested above, offer her something to hold that she can drop or use to make a noise if it is hurting and then the dentist can give her some more painkiller, but explain that she may feel the dentist touching her tooth and not feel any pain with it (much like if you have ever had stitches, or a c-section, you may well have felt some tugging and movement, just pain free)

Think I have covered the process, if not hopefully you can see what I mean. Some of the common sense stops might be able to be left out, you know your dd, but from experience I cover exactly why you cannot use clay, but only the stuff the dentist uses and so on. I do hope it helps.

Notinahundredyears Mon 08-Dec-14 14:45:50

Oooohhhhh you all are amazing!!! Thanks so much LRB978! Am going to study everything carefully and make myself notes. More tips are very welcome. THANK YOU again so much, for your time and kindness.

Notinahundredyears Mon 08-Dec-14 14:46:36

comeagainforbigfudge, thank you so much. I am a lot more prepared to persevere now.

Xmas2014Santa5149 Mon 15-Dec-14 15:16:30

How did you and dd get on? I hope it went successfully.

Xmas2014Santa5149 Mon 15-Dec-14 15:17:48

Grrr, forgot to name change. I posted previously but cant say as who cos don't want to out myself

StillinShockAhhhhhhh Mon 15-Dec-14 16:54:09

The drill is used to remove the 'bugs' that cause the decay much in the same way you would clean all dirt out of a cut before placing a plaster. If we don't use the drill the tooth will carry on decaying under the filling, the drill is also used to create under cuts to help the filling stay in place in some cases. Hope the appointment went well smile

PfftTheMagicDraco Mon 15-Dec-14 16:59:38

I found the best thing with DS (ASD) was to a) find the right dentist and b)work up to it.

We had one dentist that was so unsympathetic to him. They would just look in his mouth as and when he screamed loud enough. We found another that was lovely. They would explain everything as they were doing it. Show him all the mirrors and stuff and tell him what they did, they would let him sit on my lap. They were great.

We also built up to it. The new dentist suggested it - so he would go in several times for appointments that were just check ups. No work, nothing invasive. They would just count his teeth, check him over - get him used to being in the chair, being in the surgery etc. It was great. We took it step by step. We worked up to an xray, again - they explained everything. We still go for more regular check ups now to keep him happy with the dentist. It's great of them to do this, and it makes him realise that it doesnt have to be a scary place.

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