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  1. #1

    Scared from the dentist!

    My 5 yr old is terrified from the dentist and Iím out of ideas how to convince her it wonít hurt, dentist is just going to have a quick look, etc. Iím spending an awful lot of time to try and make her feel comfortable with the idea but when we get to the dentist she gets scared at the door and it takes forever to get her even sit on that chair.
    Also, I was asked to leave the room in order for the dentist to distract her and calm her down but thatís not what happened. She refuses to open her mouth for them to check her teeth but I know for sure there are already several cavities that need to be taken care of asap.
    Please help with any tips or tricks to get her open her mouth for the dentist?

  2. #2
    That can be a really tough situation and now that she has several cavities she may dislike them even more. Do you go to a dentist that is kid friendly, by this I mean is is a fun environment. If not, I would seek out a paediatric densist who knows how to deal with fearful children and can help put them at ease. I take my boys to a dentist like this and they actually look forward to going to the dentist.

    You might also tell her if she is very brave at the dentist you will reward her by making her favourite meal or taking her out to her favourite restaurant. Yes, this is a bribe but it may help.

    I would also speak with the dentist and they may want to medicate her so they can work on her without worry that she won't open her mouth or move suddenly causing damage.

    I'm sure other mums will have some great ideas for you.

    Good Luck and keep us posted on how things go

    Last edited by DoubleSunshine; 7th April 2012 at 09:46 AM.

  3. #3
    Thanks Christie
    Unfortunately bribes would only work until we get there. Then she's so scared and stressed she wouldn't care if we promise her the world.
    Our dentist is a very kind woman and deals with kids a lot although not strictly pediatric dentist and I wouldn't say it's a kids friendly environment. She hasn't proposed to medicate her yet and I've heard the anesthetics they use could cause problems even for adults, so not sure I would want that. Is it common for dentists to sedate kids?
    Maybe I should look for another dentist anyway as this one is certain she would make her trust her at some point but I'm paying each and every time she didn't succeed. Not fair

  4. #4
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Hi Mumwith5yo,

    If you don't have time to work with her, and you don't want to pay for any more visits (where work isn't done) then your dentist could probably prescribe a medication that would relax your daughter - similar to what they give a person before surgery. It just relaxes them so they aren't so anxious.

    When my daughter was 3 years old, she had a tooth that needed to be filled. The dentist sent home a mask that my daughter played with, just to get her used to it. When it was time for the filling, the doctor put the mask over her nose and gave her a very low dose of nitrous oxide. The dentist was able to work on the tooth easily and my daughter had no anxiety at all. Your daughter may need this at 5 years of age, especially if she's going to have fillings which involve needles (lydocaine) and drilling. She may just not be able to sit still for the whole procedure without being sedated.

    If you have time and you want to work with your daughter, then I'd suggest taking her with you when you go to the dentist and just having her watch as the dentist "counts" your teeth and cleans your teeth (you don't want her in there when the dentist is filling your teeth as this could scare her).

    This is how I introduce my children to the dentist. When they're little (and in my arms) I stand with the baby while my children have their teeth cleaned. When they get to be 3 years old I have them stand with me while the children have their teeth cleaned, and stand and watch while I have my teeth cleaned.

    At 4 years of age is when I give them their first cleaning. At that time they just sit in the chair and the dentist counts their teeth (while looking for problems) and gently cleans any plaque if needed (usually they don't have plaque at that age, but that was just my experience with my children).

    Ultimately I'd say that it probably isn't the dentist that will make the difference as much as it is that your daughter needs to see others having their teeth cleaned and needs to feel comfortable at the office. When I was an Office Manager at a preschool and we had a child that was especially anxious about going to preschool, we encouraged the parent to bring her child to the preschool for an hour or two, every day just to get the child familiar with the classroom. Once the parent did this, we then encouraged the parent to start their child off at preschool 5 mornings a week (without the parent). After that the child was usually very familiar with the school and the parent could then cut their child back to 2 or 3 days a week. But it was a process, and if you choose not to medicate your daughter, it will be a process for you as well.

    If you stay active on the forums for awhile you'll find that I'm not an advocate of using medications when not necessary. In your daughter's situation, though, it would be better to medicate her so that the work on her teeth can be done and the emotional experience of it all isn't traumatic on her.

    Feel free to post back any thoughts or questions. We're here to support you and offer ideas until you come up with something that works for your unique situation.

    Kind regards,


  5. #5
    Thanks Kate,
    I think I'm a bit late to start introducing her to the dentist now and I'm afraid if we wait a few more weeks, it would even get worst.. What I haven't tried is bringing her in the room with me when I have my teeth cleaned, etc., which could actually work for her seeing how happy I am to have the dentist working on my teeth She obviously doesn’t believe us when we tell her it’s going to be ok and promise her rewards, so maybe if she sees for herself nothing scary is happening on the dentist chair, she would be more inclined to try and sit still for a few minutes.. hopefully more. If that doesn’t work, then obviously I’ll have no other way than ask the dentist to sedate her but before that I think she should be able to at least have a good look and decide what needs to be done..

  6. #6
    Hi mumwith5yo,

    Sorry you are having a tough time with this.

    I don't know if this would help - but some children are scared of the unknown at the dentist. This Usborne Book: Going to the Dentist is useful to help reassure children about what will happen. Would your daughter going with you to one of your dental appointments help to show her the process? It may be that when the dentist asked you to leave the room this made her more fearful - if you think this is the case then try and reassure her, perhaps as you are reading the book, that this won't happen next time.

    Like Double Sunshine - I'm also wondering if a specially trained paediatric dentist would help?

    I have worked as a hearing specialist for children. Some children were very scared of having their hearing tested/ ears looked at. For these children, it could take 3 appointments (instead of the usual 1) before we got the information we needed. For it's important to go at the pace right for each child. Some children would just need to have a look around the room and see the equipment on the first visit. We would also encourage the parents to play at coming to the clinic between the visits. I don't know if any of this would be useful in your situation.

    Let us know how you get on,


  7. #7
    Thanks LJ - I like the idea of taking her with me just to be around, see how it goes and see nothing bad is happening to me as Kate suggested and that's what I plan to do. She does like to copy me sometimes (like take a book and pretend she's reading while I am) so this could do the job. It's my bad I didn't act on time and prepared her for this... I had my concerns how she would take it and obviously waited till it was really no way out of it and probably made her even more anxious as she could sense I'm being nervous irritated expecting worst case etc... I'll try and change that and see how it goes. I really want her to get a bit more comfortable with the idea of a dentist even if they have to sedate her to actually do some work...

  8. #8
    Try not to feel guilty mumwith5yo - you are obviously trying to do the best for your little girl.

    I hope trying some of these suggestions help your daughter to be happy with going to the dentist.

    Best wishes,


  9. #9
    I am so thankful for this thread! My six-year-old daughter is also terrified of the dentist. We are gearing up for her third visit in about a week and I think I am as nervous as she is because the last appointment went awfully. I got sent out of the room and the dentist had to restrain her, just to look at her teeth. It was really terrible. Now I am pretty sure she has a cavity so I am dreading it. I am definitely considering the fact that she may need sedation. We are trying a new dentist this time around, the same dentist I went to as a child. I think the environment is a little more kid-friendly.

    All I can say mumwith5yo is that you are not alone! I could have written this post myself.

  10. #10
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    I'd start taking her to the dentist's office THIS week. Just go there and get out of the car and walk into the building. Sit in the waiting room, read books, make it a really fun environment for her.

    Do this every day this week and every day next week until it's her appointment day.

    You don't have to stay long. Just long enough for her to see the place and get a feel for it. Could be as little as 10 minutes the first day. Sitting and reading a book together, coloring at the table, putting together a puzzle. If they don't have things for young children to do, be sure to take some things for your daughter. The more she feels relaxed at the office the better things will go.

    If you feel she's relaxed and at ease talking to the staff, then see if they will give you and your daughter a tour of the office. Make this fun too. Mommy's going to take a ride in the chair. You could sit in the chair and have the attendant give you a ride up, and down, and lay you back, and sit you up.

    The more familiar she becomes with the whole process the more relaxed she will be. If you don't do this, then I'd really consider talking to the dentist to see if there is some kind of "relaxing" medication you can give your daughter at home before she even goes. Maybe an anti anxiety medication. My concern is that if you just take your daughter to this new dentist, the minute she sees the dental chair, she will panic, and you DON'T want another experience like the last one.

    Talk to the office before you go and see if they will work with you on this if you really want to avoid medication and want to try to make this a positive experience for your daughter.

    Warm Regards,


  11. #11
    Dear mom2many,

    Looks like you have had some super advice from Kate!

    I hope it goes well for you and your daughter at the dentist. I know it's easier said than done, but if you try to stay calm and positive then hopefully your daughter will too.

    All the best and let us know how it goes,


  12. #12
    Thank you so much for the advice Kate! You always have such great ideas. I am definitely going to take her to the dentist office a few times and get her used to it. I am also going to discuss the possibility of an anti-anxiety med for appointments with them. My daughter is very high-strung. Though the dentist is one thing that really sets her off, she has a lot of anxieties.

  13. #13
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    I'm not a big "meds" person at all, but sometimes it's the wise choice, and in your case I'd say it will be a very wise choice not only for the sake of the dentist and the office, but even more so for your daughter. She will be so thankful for not being anxious and this trip will be much more enjoyable for her.

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