Parenting Issues: My Son is Afraid to See the Dentist
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Parenting Issues: My Son is Afraid to See the Dentist

"Our son suffers from toothaches constantly, but he refuses to see a dentist. He became frightened when he heard his older brother scream during a dental checkup. How can we persuade him to see the dentist?"
               child dental fear

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"Our son suffers from toothaches constantly, but he refuses to see a dentist. He became frightened when he heard his older brother scream during a dental checkup. How can we persuade him to see the dentist?"

The child acquired his fear of dentists when he witnessed his brother's panic reaction. Like most fears, this was learned through imitation.

However, there are several characteristics of the development of fear in children. Among them are:

  • A bright child is likely to show more fears than a less bright peer, because he is more aware of the possibilities of danger situations.
  • A child's physical condition at the time he first experienced fear will determine how he will react next time.

                  For instance, if he is tired and hungry, he will show more fear.

  • A child's personality determines his susceptibility to fear. Children who are insecure show a greater tendency to be easily frightened than children who are emotionally secure.

To remove fear in children, here are some techniques which have produced the best results:

  • Before the need arises, provide pictorial and verbal illustrations of how our teeth grow and the need to keep them in good condition.

                  A periodic visit to the dentist long before a toothache happens is a must.

  • Allow your child to meet the dentist outside the clinic. In this manner, he will feel that the dentist is a friend.
  • When you go for a treatment, bring him along and let him watch the procedure.

                   He may be allowed to sit on the dental chair during one of your visits and have a squirt of water flushed into his mouth.

                   One family dentist entertains young clients with ceramic figures of animals. He even allows them to take the figurines home as a souvenir. The kids look forward to visiting him for treatment so they can add more figurines to their collection. Try to find a dentist who specializes in children. They are definitely a separate breed.

  • Allow your child to talk about his fears. Listen to his reasons. You will discover how to cope with the problem if you get the clues out of his mouth.
  • Never shame or ridicule him for feeling afraid.
  • Always be truthful. Should an extraction be necessary, explain that he will feel very little pain, if at all. Stay right beside him.
  • If the process of persuasion exacts too much time and energy from you, postpone the trip until he is older. Certain fears are outgrown with increased maturity and understanding.

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Comments (1)

Great parental advice for visiting the dentist. I remember telling my children they had a choice to go to the dentist or have all their teeth fall out. Now, I might be in jail for such a statement.Promoted

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