Scared of the Dentist …. 5 tips to ease the fear of children

Sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, my palms are sweating and I’m trying to convince myself everything with fine. I’m thinking about a girlfriend who has to have surgery in a few days after having breast cancer. ‘Natalie the dentist is nothing’. I cannot control the deep seated fear and external sweating (nice image). My fear of the dentist began as a young girl and that fear has never left me. Basically, if you needed a filling it was going to hurt and the instruments they used generated noises which seemed more suited to a construction site than a dentist.

While in the dentist chair today, mouth completely numb from 3 local anaesthetics, I began to concentrate on this blog. Yes I was scared. Yes I was nervous. But when I looked back at my kids going to the dentist, they were holding my hand and supporting me. Children feed off those close to them and often imitate the same emotions and fears. As the drill with the extremely pointy end moved within my mouth, water trickling down the back of my numb throat trying to choke me and the dental nurse ever so gently suctioning up the water I couldn’t swallow, I was determined never to show my children this fear. Dentistry has come along way over the past 30 years and the pain I experienced today was barely even band-aid material. Uncomfortable was how I mainly felt, with a swollen face, dribbling out of the corner of my mouth completely unaware (another nice image).

So to stop transferring the fear to children, here are a few little ideas:

  • Dentists no longer hurt, they use a little modern drug called a local anaesthetic.
  • Take baby steps – make the appointment and have a simple check up. NO dental work. If you need to return for a procedure, do it in small stages so you are not in the chair for longer than half an hour.
  • Concentrate on something else while in the chair – writing an article, creating a master chef style meal, going bungy jumping (come on – if your scared at the dentist you would never bungy jump).
  • Choose a dentist you are comfortable with and always get a second opinion if you are not happy with the results.
  • Reward yourself after behaving so bravely at the dentist.

I am a good Mum and I realise going to the dentist ONCE a year isn’t really that bad after all. My kids look up to me – ‘Monkey See Monkey Do’.  In saying that, if I didn’t have children at my age, I probably wouldn’t go… I’m no hero.

Cheers natalie

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I’ve been to the dentist on several occasions and only once have I ever been scared. This fear however can be easily explained as it was built up though my Dads teasing and telling me false stories. If it weren’t for this I would have been absolutely fine like I have been every other time.

A few months ago I went to the dentist to get some fillings, something that required a couple of needles and I faced it cool, calm and collected. Mum looked more worried than I felt. It took a while to convince her I was going to be alright and that I didn’t need her in the room with me. She could simply wait in the waiting room. I went through the small procedure easily and didn’t stress one bit, I can only hope Mum didn’t.

The idea of going to the dentist doesn’t give me even an ounce of fear because I didn’t see any scary dentists and bulky utensils. Despite what Mum may think, I can only give one piece of advice to parents who want to ease their child’s experience with the dentist.

Do NOT put your experiences on your child, and especially your fear. Let them decide on their own whether or not the dentist is something they do or don’t like, otherwise they will think its natural to fear the dentist when in truth there is nothing to worry about.

Ciao Bella Ashlea

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Comments

  1. See….another example of how our kids have everything so much easier these days! Going to the dentist truly was my most dreaded day of the year. I recently took my kids and couldnt believe how they hardly battered an eyelid when I told them I had made an appointment. Yes, things have definitely changed in the world of dentistry!

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