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My son is 8 years old and is terrfied of the dentist, what should I do?

Hello Doctor Pinder

Could you please recommend the best course of action for a mother with a dental phobic child? My son is 8 years old and hasn’t been to the dentists for a few years now and I feel terrible about it. I am planning to book an appointment for him and myself very soon, but the last time we went he went wild and just couldn’t sit still. He’s three years older now, but he runs away at even the mention of the dentist and my husband doesn’t help by using the dentist as a threat for when wants sweets in the supermarket.

What do you think is the best course of action and if he doesn’t need treatment what can i do then? Is sedation safe for children?

hope you can help and thanks for your time

The first thing to do is to stop your husband using the threat of the dentist in this way , its most unhelpful and re- inforces the idea that the dentist is something to be frightened of . I wonder if your husband dislikes the dentist and its rubbing off !
He may be much better after 3 years , and go yourself and tell him its just for a look like Mummy does , and thats all .
For children who cant manage any treatment there are options such as Relative analgesia ( happy gas ) , or referral to specialist childrens dentists . community clinics or a dental hospital .
A dentist who like treating children will be tolerant of letting him go at his own pace and getting other help if needed
Hope this helps

Answer provided by: Dr Jennifer Pinder Retired
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