[VIDEO] How to help my child not to be afraid of the dentist?
- On February 12, 2019
Hi everyone, my name is Trevor and this is Dr. Peter. Yoo a.k.a The tooth doctor. And today we’re going to be talking about how do I make sure that my child won’t be afraid of the dentist. Here’s a quote from Taylor Caldwell. “I was never afraid of anything in the world except the dentist”. I don’t know if you guys can relate, but surveys indicate that between 5% and 6% of the population and 16% of school age children have a fear of the dentist. So Peter, with that, give us a little bit of backstory on how you deal with, this situation.
You know what, I like seeing kids and a big reason for that is because I’ve seen a lot of adults that have had bad experiences. I used to work with a dentist who did sedation. And so you see a lot of nervous patients and I met a patient, big guy. He actually was an MMA fighter. Okay. So he’s not afraid of getting a broken nose, but when you see in the dental chair, he almost broke the arm of the chair while waiting for me to come and just to do a checkup. So yeah, it’s unfortunate to see things like that, see someone who’s like a senior lady, like 65, 70 years old and she’s just nervous, like white knuckled. And I’m just like, I didn’t even to see you yet. I didn’t even say hi. So, and that’s where it all begins is from childhood. So that’s where I am concerned and we want to try and change that, so that people do have, it’s about starting off.
With a positive experience. So, awesome. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more.
How often do you have school aged children come to you that are really afraid of, the dentist?
D: Oh, we get a few here and there, it’s not a ton. Most kids, they come in, they know they’re going to get checkup and get their teeth cleaned and stuff like that. But, you know, we’ve had some kids where it’s like every little thing, you know, I lift my finger and I’m like, okay, so you know, that child, we have to explain each tool, show them each thing, before we put anything in their mouth just to have a look, we’d always show them, tell them what it is and with that, it kind of provided a little bit ease of apart.
T: Nice. I had the same problem with my son. He was afraid of the dentist and I didn’t know why.
What do you think causes this fear of the dentist?
D: TV shows starting off, you see all those TV shows and you know, obviously it’s for comedy, but the first thing, when kids are young, they have to get those vaccines and flu shots. Right? So when they get those flu shots, like the nurses, they want to get it done quick. And, you know, I love nurses and everything and I know they’re doing the job, but you know, when a kid comes in and as quickly they poke them, it hurts right? And so when they come to dentists and they hear, oh they’re going to get a poke, they kind of relate it to their vaccinations and flu shots. Right. So that’s kind of also what I’ve seen and experience. I know with my kids as well. So, okay.
What can parents do to help their children to not develop this fear of the dentist?
D: You know, and just being positive, you know, not making it seem like, oh it’s a punishment, we’re taking you to the dentist cause you are bad. You know, I’m trying to have a good experience. Say, Hey, we’re going to come, we’re going to look your teeth. You see me just communicating with them, helping them to understand. And also, as parents it’s important to make sure that the parents, the kids are listening to you, right? Because when the kids listen to you, then they’re going to follow. There’s some kids that they just do whatever they want. And that’s the little ones where I find it’s more difficult. So having, having good control and just giving them peace of comfort and trust, I think that’s very important. So that when kids come in, when I’m looking at their teeth, kids will look, they’ll always look, look at their parents, is everything okay? Kind of get that sign of reassurance. That’s very important.
Is there anything that parents can do to help their children with that first visit or to allay those fears away?
D: I have just explained kind of an idea of what’s going to happen. But also, making sure that their kids come in early, right? So many parents think, oh, let’s do this. And I know life is busy. You’ve got so many things, but you know, to wait till their kids face is swollen, like a baseball. Or they look in their mouth. It’s like there’s all these, why, why is it a tooth black? You know, that’s not good. You know, I had this little girl, she had baby bottle cavities. She was drinking milk while she goes to bed. She loved milk. Mom couldn’t stop her and you know what, all four of her front teeth were black and it was like, oh that doesn’t look good. Yeah we should go see the dentist. Well kind of late. So you know, come in when they have good teeth.
Sometimes you know, the association says when your first tooth comes in, then that’s when you should see the dentist. I kind of feel like it’s a little early. I would say, you know, when they’re around two or three, when they got good teeth, they got a lot of their teeth coming in. Come in. You know, cause we don’t just want to talk about cavities, right? We don’t, we want to talk about development, right. There are things that you can do to make the kids grow. Okay. Not grow, but develop properly. Right? Okay.
So, many kids, parents think, oh, you know, genetics, my kids have crooked teeth, my husband has crooked teeth, or my wife has crooked teeth. And so my kids are going to have crooked teeth. And that’s not true. Most kids, when they come in, you can do things. And as a dentist we can give you guidelines and tips about what to do to help your child develop properly. Their teeth come in nicely. And just little tips about, you know, just even cleaning that will just make it a lot easier and more efficient. Now for tough cases,
Is it always recommended that kids go see a pediatric specialist?
T: Is that something that parents should always do as a first resort?
D: Well, you know what, if you have like a pain in your heart, it doesn’t make sense to automatically call the surgeon, right? Like you have to go see your family doctor, see what’s going on. You know, maybe, maybe it’s a hiccup, maybe, you had some gas and you go in and check and assess and they’ll refer you. Okay.
And that’s what I recommend to parents is, hey, bring your kids to the general dentist. Yeah, let’s have a look. Hey, if there’s a difficult case, you know, there are dentists out there that can, treat young kids, with certain, things like sedation and things like that. Right. But you know, when it’s a tough case, that’s when we do want the specialist. They do know how to take care of young kids, you know, putting them under and getting them all, treated well, but come to see a dentist.
You know I’ve had, to pull a tooth out on a little kid that was three years old and they’re really good, you know, so you got some really, really good kids. Hey, do they need to see the specialist sometimes they don’t.
T: Yeah. Okay. Now let’s say, parents have gone down the road and they’ve seen a specialist.
Is it okay for them to get a second opinion because of costs or other factors?
D: You know what? I think that there are always multiple factors. When you, when you go anywhere, as much as you, like the place, there’s, you know, sometimes location, sometimes a fee, sometimes just the patient comfort, right? Right. Sometimes just scheduling, you know, I know a lot of specialists, they do good work but they’re busy. You know, you want to get in their books six months down the road. Right, right. And same as certain dentists too. Right. So a lot of it is just kind of where you’re at and where your comfort is. We’ve seen kids for second opinions just to get an idea.
You know, you see some kids, they have a lot of work to do. I’ve seen kids where it was tough, I try to help them. I tried to explain things to look kids and unfortunately they’re just too difficult and we’ve had to send them to a specialist. Okay. Right. On the flip side, I’ve seen kids, they’ve got like 10 cavities, but they come in, we do one, it goes well and it’s like, oh, next appointment we do two. It goes, well, next appointment we do three, you know? And so, and then we get all their teeth fixed and not have to be putting them under. And sometimes it does help too in terms of savings.
T: So, next question for you. Let’s say, a child comes to a dentist and, it’s their first visit.
What is something that a dentist can do to help a child get dental work done?
What are you doing that first appointment?
D: Well, for us, we always try and make our first appointment just easy. Okay. Bring them in. Sit them in the chair, go for a ride up, go for a ride down. Okay. Let’s lie back… Yeah, we have TV’s. So they come in the TVs over their heads and they can watch some TV. And then we just go in, we count their teeth. So you know, if they’re good, they open their mouth. Great. If they’re willing to let us try. Sometimes we’d try and go in and we just try and clean their teeth. And so that’s the first appointment. Just make it good, make it short. Right. And so they go home with a good feeling. They get a little prize, they’ll get maybe a little sucker or something. Um, lollipop and then, yeah. And then they come back and they want to come back for a second appointment and then you go in and try and do certain things. Right. You don’t want to have kids coming in first appointment. It’s like, oh, we’ve got to pull this tooth out. You know, that’d be a bit extreme. Oh, it’s sometimes happens.
T: So that is how you get them comfortable with some of the tools and some of the things that you do, the procedures now…
What steps can a dentist take to have a child that allow them to give them the freezing needle?
D: Okay. Well first of all, I don’t use the “n” word. Okay. In our office, that’s like a swear. And so with young kids, I worked in an office and, I had this assistant working with me and she goes… -we had a little girl, I had to give her freezing- and she goes ” it’s okay sweetie. It’s just a little needle and it will…”, as much as you want to say it’s small or whatever; once kids hear that word, they are sometimes out the window. So we try and use different words to explain what we’re doing. As well as, when we go in, we try and be very clear. This is what we want to do to begin to make it a nice and easy and comfortable. And we explore. We don’t hide anything, we tell them you’re going to feel a little poke. It’s going to be okay, this is going to happen. And then they feel a little bit more at ease. Right.
T: Awesome. Now.
why is it so important for children to overcome their fear of the dentist?
You know what, I’ve, met some patients and they’d come in and they have broken teeth. They have these, you know, four or five teeth that are infected. It’s sad when you hear people, it’s like, how come you didn’t come in sooner? You know what, it didn’t hurt me enough to come see you guys. You know, that’s very sad.
They say that your mouth is kind of the start of your, your health, right? Right. Maybe it’s the food you eat, but you know, the different diseases and bacteria’s in your mouth can spread into your body. And there is correlation of gum, bone health, teeth, health to heart disease, diabetes, things like that.
So, you know, it’s very important to stay healthy. I’ve seen some young people where, they’re afraid of the dentist and I even had to, you know, pull out all of someone’s teeth before they were 30, because they’re afraid of the dentist. And that’s very unfortunate.
T: Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much, doctor Yoo, I appreciate the time you spent with us and if you guys have liked this and enjoy it, please subscribe to the channel and always checkout thetoothdoctor.ca For more information on how you can make your oral health better. Thank you.
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