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Dentists - how much trouble is my friend in?

(34 Posts)
xyzabcd Wed 17-Aug-16 17:52:24

Okay, basically I found out the other day that my friend has never taken her kids to the dentist. They are both now over 10. It came out after a comment her daughter made in front of me. I was obviously very shocked and friend was very upset when it came out.

I have tried to talk to her about it since - she cannot really explain how this has happened - she does have a dental phobia which I think made her put it off initially but I think the last few years she has felt trapped and scared about going for fear of being in trouble.I don't need lots of horrified comments - believe me I have enough of those myself. I realise she has compromised her own children's health and believe me she appears to be the most regretful and remorseful person. She actually seems relieved it has come out.

She knows absolutely that she has done wrong and says some days she feels so guilty she cries and she can't look them in the eye. Both kids look fine to me, although I am fairly sure the younger one will need braces as his look pretty crooked. But I am also aware this isn't the point.

Anyway, I gave her an ultimatum and as a result she has booked an appointment for herself first and then the children a week or so after. I think she is planning on coming clean with the dentist when she goes herself so that difficult convos don't necessarily take place in front of the children.

How should she approach it do you think? Presumeably just come clean and express remorse? Will there be any consequences for her - I'm not going to forewarn her, but just want to be prepared - will the dentist refer to social services for example? I can categorically say there is no other issues within the family - I see them loads and they are loving, involved in the kids lives, really good family unit. Kids doing well at school, happy , attached to parents etc.

Just don't really know what she should expect. Will it depend on whether the kids teeth have been affected or is it neglect anyway? Thanks in advance.

TeaBelle Wed 17-Aug-16 17:54:57

It's a bit crap but unless there are other issues it would be unlikely to meet threshold for social services intervention

Lilybensmum1 Wed 17-Aug-16 17:58:06

I think this is all a bit ott all she needs to do is go along to the appointment, what do you think the dentist is going to do? Have you seen the programmes on TV with young kids having all their teeth removed? And as weren't involved.

ihatethecold Wed 17-Aug-16 17:58:33

SS won't get involved.
I think it's a good idea for your friend to go first. Can you go with her for moral support?

Lilybensmum1 Wed 17-Aug-16 17:59:13

I mean social services were not involved!

Rainbowunicorn73 Wed 17-Aug-16 17:59:19

I think she just needs to book an appointment, explain that her dental phobia has really held her back and get the treatment she needs. Assuming the children are otherwise happy and well cared for then I really can't see her "getting into trouble"
Possibly a bit of a lecture from the dentist?

blue2014 Wed 17-Aug-16 18:01:12

Social services wouldn't even look twice, this is way way way below their threshold if everything else is fine

(Besides dentists have done nothing but ruin my teeth, i was given 5 fillings as a child that I was later told were never needed!)

Mrscog Wed 17-Aug-16 18:01:38

I wouldn't have thought anything would happen to be honest. If she's held back on sweet drinks and brushed their teeth regularly they probably won't need anything done anyway.

fanjoforthemammaries Wed 17-Aug-16 18:02:00

Dentist will just be pleased she has finally taken them and they can tackle their oral health.

TheInimitableMrsFanshawe Wed 17-Aug-16 18:02:16

I can appreciate that you think you are looking out for her kids' welfare, but you're not actually helping her tbh. I'm not sure why you feel it's been your role to bully her into taking her DC to her dentist. She's not going to get into trouble, what a ridiculous thing to suggest.

fanjoforthemammaries Wed 17-Aug-16 18:03:37

they also won't actually know when they have last been, as records not transferred so she could just say "a long time"

Scarydinosaurs Wed 17-Aug-16 18:03:39

Really isn't as big a deal as you think. Just take her- it's unusual, but not SS worthy.

dimots Wed 17-Aug-16 18:03:39

It is not neglect to not attend dental checkups. It would be neglect if her children were in pain with their teeth or had obvious issues (broken teeth, obvious decay) and these were ignored. She will not be in any trouble, although the dentist may grumble a bit.

greenfolder Wed 17-Aug-16 18:05:37

I have had at least 6 dentists in the time I have had kids,moved and various changes at points. Each one has done X-rays and exam, not one has asked about previous attention. Good on you for getting her to go but there are no tooth police.

Hrafnkel Wed 17-Aug-16 18:07:29

My mum was the same. She still hasn't been and has black teeth and is obvs in pain. She won't even discuss it

You have to be prepared for her not to go - in my case my otherwise-abusive SGMIL organised visits. We wouldn't have been able to go otherwise. In the end, mum began to collect us but never went into the building - we even had to take forms out to the car for her to sign.

If your friend can't do it herself, could you take the children yourself?

BaronessBomburst Wed 17-Aug-16 18:11:03

I had to laugh at your post! Honestly! It's not the law to have to take children to the dentist you know. Some people are perfectly capable of looking after their own teeth.
And I'm with blue2014. DH had loads of unnecessary work done as a child and still suffers as a result from it. I've also been told a load of bollocks which was designed to cost me money. We tend to skip dentists altogether now.
FWIW I'm nearly 45 and don't have a single filling.

Palomb Wed 17-Aug-16 18:12:29

I think you're making a bit of a mountain out of a mole hill. No-one needs to show any remorse unless the kids are obviously in need of dentistry or have been in any pain.

Most kids get to be over ten without needing any actual dental treatment.. Dentists just look and make sure all is well.

There are people in this country that don't feed their kids or adaquately look after them in any way. Social services have bigger fish to fry.

bonzo77 Wed 17-Aug-16 18:16:43

Dentist here. I wouldn't be worried. She's finally sought oral health care, better late than never. Good on her. I would certainly not be making a safeguarding referral on the basis of this alone. It's relatively common and all the more so when the parent is phobic. Would be more concerned if there was evidence that painful conditions had not beed addressed.

If the kids are keen to be seen and she is not, I'd have no big problem just seeing the DC's. Commonly if the phobic adults sees that their DCs handle it ok (and the dentist appears human) then the adults can overcome at least part of their reluctance.

Witchend Wed 17-Aug-16 18:18:54

If the children were in pain then they'd have said. Assuming she checks they brush their teeth and are sensible and genetically have good teeth then I doubt there's an issue.
I didn't have a filling until I was in my 20s apart from one rogue tooth that came through without enamel-and I would have quickly been in pain with that one. That was the only thing the dentist did for my teeth.

It looked like I would need braces at 10yo. Our dentist had a wait and see approach. Between 14yo and 16yo my teeth naturally went back. I always wonder how many braces are actually necessary.

But what you've written you sound OTT and potentially bullying. If you've been making her cry over it you probably are going too far.

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Wed 17-Aug-16 18:21:13

Bloody hell, what an overreaction!

Yes, kids should get regular check ups, but if they aren't in pain and their teeth are OK of course SS aren't going to care!

I'm wondering what kind of friend would ever suggest that they would? You really need to apologise for being so ridiculously dramatic and let her decide when she wants to take them.

xyzabcd Wed 17-Aug-16 18:29:01

Just to clarify - Of course I have in no way panicked her about SS, never mentioned it to her at all - she has worked herself up into a frenzy about that over the last couple of years inside her own head. I haven't made her cry, I haven't berated her at all.

I have supported her, talked to her calmly and in a non judgemental way, but made her see that now she needs to change things, as her kids are in a crucial stage of tooth development - some of her dds friends have started getting braces etc. All I have done is support her as I would with any problem she was struggling with. Maybe the phrase 'given her an ultimatum' was misleading - I meant I have helped her to see she needs to address it, that is all.

Thanks for reassurances about it - I completely agree she has really turned this in to a massive deal internally - all she needs to do is get in there, maybe take a bit of a pasting and then get the kids in and out in 10 mins and hopefully job done.

sonlypuppyfat Wed 17-Aug-16 18:29:43

I've several friends who don't have any filings come to think of neither has DH. But me my dentist loved doing filings when I was younger

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Wed 17-Aug-16 18:30:40

I meant I have helped her to see she needs to address it, that is all

Hmmmmmmm. "helped" her see sounds very much like berating to me

Brokenbiscuit Wed 17-Aug-16 18:33:05

Ridiculous overreaction. Of course she won't be in trouble. Please try not to make your friend fear the dentist even more than she already does, because she might change her mind about going.

I am extremely phobic about dentists, and haven't been to see one for years. I know it's stupid, but I just can't face it. I'd like to think that I'd have overcome my fear in order to take dd if necessary, but tbh, I can't be sure. Luckily, DH has taken on that responsibility instead.

As it happens, dd has been every six months since she was tiny, and they have never done anything until they decided to take out a couple of baby teeth last month because they were getting in the way of her adult teeth coming through. She is 11, so if she had gone for 10 years without a dentist, she'd have been fine.

DH didn't see a dentist until he was in his twenties. His teeth are fine!

MiaowTheCat Wed 17-Aug-16 18:40:07

I've got a severe dental phobia and have struggled getting a solution to getting the kids to the dentist as I can't take them or I'll pass it onto them (even if I try to hide it - it's of the extent that I can't do that easily).

Add in the fact the NHS lists are full to the brim around here and DD1 made it to 4 1/2 before she got to see a dentist (had to register them at my mum's address so she could take them - dentist was aware of the circumstances and fine with this).

No comebacks at all - and the HV etc were all aware of the situation that I was trying to work around getting them there but hadn't at that point in time - they've asked the question at development checks and been told an honest answer.

Incidentally - both have apparently got exemplary sets of gnashers when they went for that check up. Dentist however now has a mirror with DD2 shaped teeth marks in it!

She's got absolutely no need to lay down and beg remorse from the dentist like you're making out she needs to have - and the dentist isn't going to stand there judging and smiting her from on-high (that's going to do a dental phobic a world of good by the way). You really don't sound like the sort of friend who understands just how awful the idea of going to the dentist is for a dental-phobic and how the phobia builds and builds as time goes on - my record is about 3 years with skull shredding toothache that I put up with because the fear of dentists, the whole smell and lighting and decor is so terrifying for me.

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