My son had always been okay at the dentist until our last appointment. I’m not quite sure what happened. The only thing different is he was told he had a cavity and would need a filling. He went nuts and started bawling. He’s never even had a cavity before so I don’t know what he’s afraid of. There hasn’t been any experience for him to build on. What do I do to help him? He’s terrified now.
The first thing I’d do is simply sit down with him at home and ask what frightened him about the idea of getting a filling. Maybe friends told him something frightening. Maybe he saw something on television. Whatever the reason, he probably has a distorted perception of what it means.
Many children are frightened of fillings because of the shot. A good pediatric dentist knows how to help children through this. For instance, Dr. Swearingen’s office knows how to distract children during procedures. They also offer nitrous oxide, which is a perfectly safe way to relax children throughout a procedure. Most even end up sleeping through getting their filling.
He even uses a special tool, called “The Wand” which gives painless shots. Something most children probably wish their pediatrician had!
Helping Children Avoid Dental Trauma
Most dental phobias are developed in childhood. You’re actually on the right path. You already take your child to the dentist on a regular basis so his experiences have been positive. Too many parents think children’s teeth are fine and therefore wait until there is some kind of dental emergency to bring them in.
Unfortunately, that means their very first experience with the dentist is for a painful visit. That’s not the way to start out a child’s relationship with an important caregiver.
Giving them positive memories is the most important step. Maybe directly after your child has to get their filling, you can take them on a fun outing to a museum or zoo, reinforcing good memories.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Don Swearingen.