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12 years old ,cavities and dental refusal

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sadmum2

Junior member
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
5
Our dental woes concern my twelve year old daughter.

I started taking her to the dentist from the age of six months and we had no problem at all with appointments or treatment.
That was until one appointment at the age of nine where she had to be seen for an infected tooth. The dentist was awful.
He basically told her that he would have to take the tooth out and that things would get really bad if she didn’t let him.
He also chastised her for crying and said that it might hurt a lot to take the tooth out but would hurt even more not to.
It may not sound that bad but it terrified her.

After that I could not get her back to the dentist so ended up having to get her referred to the hospital to have her treatment under anesthetic.
She was absolutely beside herself on the day of surgery and we had to do everything in our power just to get her to the hospital.
So we are in the hospital bed with a terrified young child and the nurse said the anaesthetist just needs a quick word before surgery.
He comes in and then proceeds to go into great detail about what will happen along with useful facts like she might wake up with a mouthful of blood and feel sick after the op but it’s all to be expected. Now this might all be very informative for an adult but it just added to the absolute fear that my daughter had of what was about to come.
This resulted in her having a completed melt down, screaming and begging us not to let them take her. It was so awful to see her so scared and I was at a loss of what to do. My partner took the decision that we had to get the treatment done that day as if we didn’t we would probably never get her back to the hospital again.
So he had to restrain her while they administered the sedation as she wouldn’t take it via mouth.

Well that was three years ago and we haven’t been able to get her back to the dentist since.

The worst thing is that since it happened she has refused to do anything that even relates to her teeth or care of her teeth.
We have a daily battle with teeth brushing and because of her experiences I am mindful of making things worse by going on and on.
I have tried everything to encourage her by getting different tooth brushes, different tooth pastes, rewards, punishments, you name it I have done it.
What do you actually do when your child wont brush there teeth? I have had the comments of you need to stand there and make her do it but people don’t realise easier said than done when the avoidance is constant and unyielding. If I even talk to her about the dentist or dental hygiene she will put her fingers in her ears and start singing so my voice is drowned out.

Well it has come to a head for me because when talking to her I noticed a shadow on her front tooth – I had to wait until she was asleep and had a quick look and lo and behold she has a cavity in between her front teeth and probably more from the looks of it. To say I am upset is an understatement, her front teeth for god sake and she is only twelve.

I feel like a complete failure as a parent and am at a loss to how proceed to resolve this.
If ever do get her to the dentist what are they going to think of me for letting her teeth get this bad.

I really would appreciate any advice that anyone has that might point to a way forward.
The one light at the end of the tunnel was that she has hinted that she would at some point like to get braces as her friends all have them. We then had a brief conversation about this being a possibility.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
 
K

kittykat

Former Member
I was a phobic child. The thing I found best was not having my parents talk with me. I was too embarrassed. If you have the means, send her to a therapist to work with her. Parents can get frustrated and yell, which make things worse. I still to this day cannot even tell my parents what's wrong with my teeth or even when I'm going to an appointment. What worked for me was letting me research on my own and picking my own dentist. I hate female dentists and my mom always wanted me to go to one but when she let me pick, I picked a male and was much happier. She might feel that she has no choice when it comes to her healthcare and that might be hard for her. Letting her pick the dentist will probably help alot.
 
S

sadmum2

Junior member
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
5
I was a phobic child. The thing I found best was not having my parents talk with me. I was too embarrassed. If you have the means, send her to a therapist to work with her. Parents can get frustrated and yell, which make things worse. I still to this day cannot even tell my parents what's wrong with my teeth or even when I'm going to an appointment. What worked for me was letting me research on my own and picking my own dentist. I hate female dentists and my mom always wanted me to go to one but when she let me pick, I picked a male and was much happier. She might feel that she has no choice when it comes to her healthcare and that might be hard for her. Letting her pick the dentist will probably help alot.

Thanks so much for your response Kittycat.
It was so helpful to have an insight into what a dental phobic child might be thinking or feeling.
You really hit the nail on the head when you said sometimes talking is the last thing they want to do and I never considered she might be embarressed but this would really make sense.

You really have given me food for thought.
Thank you again
 
C

comfortdentist

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Jul 19, 2009
Messages
2,765
Location
Miami, Fl
find her a suitable dentist. It may take several attempts
 
L

lizzieboo

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2013
Messages
67
Sadmum2:.....I have read your post a couple of times, and have been thinking about your daughter, and I think Kittycats idea of letting her pick her own dentist is a great idea and a good start! You say that she has hinted at maybe wanting to get braces, as her friends are beginning to get them. Has she got a special friend who she would trust?...or are you friends with the Mum of one of her friends? Just wondered if she would consider going to the same dentist as her best friend........and maybe they could go together?? It is a difficult situation.....but please don't think you are a failure as a parent!! It has to be handled very sensitively......but the sad thing is...the longer her phobia goes on, the worse it will get. I know from experience!! I was about the same age as your daughter, when I stopped going to the dentist, and didn't go until I was 25.......and then not again until last month. I am now 54 years of age!! I know only too well that 12 year olds do not think too much about the future, as they can never imagine being "old", but the fact is, at some point she will have to face her fear, and obviously the sooner the better. Finding the right dentist is definitely the key. If she could only pluck up the courage and bury her embarrassment and discover that she does NOT have to be treated by a new dentist, in the way that she was treated by her previous one. Just another thought...how would you feel about her looking on this forum?? She would soon discover that she is NOT silly, her problem is VERY common, dentists CAN be nice........and there are LOTS of success stories!
 
K

kittykat

Former Member
Also, she should be old enough to go into the treatment room alone. Maybe ask if she wants you with her or not? I get terrified with other people there. Just try giving her more freedom. My mother stopped talking about it for 5 years, and eventually I realized myself that I needed to go. It might help to have her figure that out herself. Maybe take a couple of months of not talking about it? I would get very aggravated when my mom would constantly bring it up.

I work with many phobic children at the hospital. Sometimes they just want to be treated like adults and have choice.

Nurse Doogie
 
S

sadmum2

Junior member
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
5
Sadmum2:.....I have read your post a couple of times, and have been thinking about your daughter, and I think Kittycats idea of letting her pick her own dentist is a great idea and a good start! You say that she has hinted at maybe wanting to get braces, as her friends are beginning to get them. Has she got a special friend who she would trust?...or are you friends with the Mum of one of her friends? Just wondered if she would consider going to the same dentist as her best friend........and maybe they could go together?? It is a difficult situation.....but please don't think you are a failure as a parent!! It has to be handled very sensitively......but the sad thing is...the longer her phobia goes on, the worse it will get. I know from experience!! I was about the same age as your daughter, when I stopped going to the dentist, and didn't go until I was 25.......and then not again until last month. I am now 54 years of age!! I know only too well that 12 year olds do not think too much about the future, as they can never imagine being "old", but the fact is, at some point she will have to face her fear, and obviously the sooner the better. Finding the right dentist is definitely the key. If she could only pluck up the courage and bury her embarrassment and discover that she does NOT have to be treated by a new dentist, in the way that she was treated by her previous one. Just another thought...how would you feel about her looking on this forum?? She would soon discover that she is NOT silly, her problem is VERY common, dentists CAN be nice........and there are LOTS of success stories!

Thank you Lizzieboo for your thoughtful reply.
Again some really good advice and ideas about how to get feeling confident again.
I feel so much better about the whole thing after reading the answers that have been posted on here.


This site is a god send.
 
L

lizzieboo

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2013
Messages
67
It certainly IS a godsend! I have only just begun my journey, but couldn't have even taken the first step without it. I find it totally amazing how I can be surrounded by "real" people in my "real" life, and yet I seek and gain all my support from faceless "virtual" friends! I think the beauty of this site is that there is not only a wealth of information, and also personal experiences, but also the knowledge that there will be absolutely no judgement, and everybody seems to understand!! I wish you luck with your daughter, and really hope that she finds the perfect dentist for her.
 
carole

carole

Well-known member
Forum Buddy
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
7,599
Location
UK
Hi I would contact a few dental practices and explain how you have on here what happened with your daughter, see what replies you get back then approach her with a list and let her choose.

It might help if you have a word with the dentist before her first appointment to explain things. They usually only have a look to see what treatment is needed.

Assure her that nothing will be done at this appointment other than a quick look if she feels she can cope with it. If not just let her meet the dentist and build up her own relationship with them. If it can be arranged that she doesn't even have to sit in the chair at this first app if she doesn't want to that may also help. If she is allowed to go and get to know the dentist and gain a trust in them things could very easily improve and she may gain the confidence to have treatment that she chooses to have after talking it over with the dentist and it is important that she knows she is in control of what happens to her and if a stop signal is arranged at that first appointment so that she knows she can stop things when she has had enough I think it will help. Even if she is only talking to them, and she can use the stop signal and leave if she wishes that is a start and will go a long way to gaining her trust. I think as time goes on she will allow a little more to happen the more visits she makes until treatment is complete.


It may need a few visits just to talk and meet the dentist but with the right dentist she will get there. We fully understand on here how hard it is to face the fears that we have, they may be different fears but a fear is a fear.

I think the dentist that treated her so badly in the first place is totally to blame for this, not you. The hospital didn't help either, what an idiot. We understand that we need to know the pros and cons when having things done, but she was a very young child and they should have know better.

What a terrible position for these two people to put you in. I think you have acted in the only way you could that came from a caring and loving place. As parents we feel guilty about everything, but please don't you haven't done anything wrong.

Maybe you would like to introduce your daughter to this site, we are very careful with youngsters that every so often come on. The fact it is a faceless person to talk to sometimes helps people get things off their chest and speak openly. No one on here will judge anything that anyone is afraid of or tell any one off, we will be only too pleased to offer support and comfort and if it helps someone face their fears and get the treatment they may need that is good. If not then they have somewhere to go to talk in confidence and not feel pressurised to do anything they don't want to do.

If you feel this isn't the place for your daughter then you are of course just as welcome on your own. Would it help for you and your daughter to come on together. That way she can see that there are lots of people all with fears and phobias but also that a lot of people overcome these and get treatment.

I really feel for you and I wish you all the best, I hope you can keep us posted on how things go :grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::butterfly:
 
Last edited:
kitkat

kitkat

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 27, 2006
Messages
1,575
Location
United States
I was a phobic child. The thing I found best was not having my parents talk with me. I was too embarrassed. If you have the means, send her to a therapist to work with her. Parents can get frustrated and yell, which make things worse. I still to this day cannot even tell my parents what's wrong with my teeth or even when I'm going to an appointment. What worked for me was letting me research on my own and picking my own dentist. I hate female dentists and my mom always wanted me to go to one but when she let me pick, I picked a male and was much happier. She might feel that she has no choice when it comes to her healthcare and that might be hard for her. Letting her pick the dentist will probably help alot.

I was also a phobic child and this is very true. I'm 25 years old now and for the most part over my fears but I am still embarrassed to discuss anything dental with my parents and would never discuss my fears with them. I also don't discuss it with friends. I'm very private about it. I on the otherhand, can communicate my fears to some extent with my dentist but it took a long time and I think it's because I know that I only see her in the office and it won't affect any other facet of my life...it's a bit like our "secret" even though I'm sure my mom has some idea of my fears. When people say they are afraid of something (especially things we are expected to tolerate) it feels very childish or silly and we often already know that our fear is irrational so we feel ashamed about it.

I think getting your daughter to meet a dentist is going to be the toughest part but like the others said she has to want to do it although, it may help if she has control over who she is meeting and when she meets them. Just like adults things have to be at her pace and in her own time. Speaking from experience, I was forced into treatment with my dentist at 15...my mom played on the fact that she knew I would not admit my fear to her so she scheduled an appt..."forgot" to tell me and then sprung it on me last minute when I had no possible chance of backing out! :o Please do not do that to your child, patience will pay off. It only exacerbates the trust issues and 10 years later I STILL hold a grudge regardless of her well-intentions! :mad: The only thing that saved me from becoming a forever-phobic was that I was forced into seeing a lovely dentist (by luck-my mom didn't actually research her or even have treatment with her first! :() who put the ball back in my court when I sat in the chair and promised me that she would not force me to do anything (and kept her promise). We then worked through my fears together over the course of many appointments -mom excluded out in the waiting room. I was lucky but it could have easily gone the other way and scarred me for life.

I also agree that viewing this site could be helpful. I think I found this site at 15 or 16 and it was such a huge relief to me to read about others facing the same fears.
 
Deejay

Deejay

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 6, 2013
Messages
724
Location
Isle of Man
Hello, I don't really have anything else to add but wanted you to know that I am one of the many who have read and sympathized with the predicament you find yourself and your daughter in but wanted you to know that even if only a few answer you there are many more following your story that care too.:hug5: Here's a hug to show my support.
D.J:whirl:
 
S

sadmum2

Junior member
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
5
Thanks again to everyone who took the time to reply to my post.

I feel a million times better about the everything and I even managed to talk to my daughter about things we had discussed on here and show her the website.

I will come back and let you all know how we get on.

Thank you so much x:flowers:
 
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