My Kid Is Terrified of the Dentist & I Don't Know What to Do

My son will be 8 years old this August, and so far he's only lost two baby teeth. One came out on its own, the other was extracted at the dentist once it became apparent that he was growing a freaky double row of bottom front teeth like a shark. I mean, a cute shark who loves giving hugs and talking incessantly about Ninjago, but still. Creepy and, according to the dentist, a situation that had the potential to mess up the alignment of his permanent teeth.

I'm dismayed his teeth seem to be clinging to his jaw with such fierce tenaciousness, because if those suckers don't start loosening up and falling out on their own, it's inevitable he'll have to endure another dentist visit. And honestly, I don't know if ANY of us can survive another visit like what happened last time.


My husband was the one who took our son to the dentist for the extraction. Truthfully, we had no idea they were going to do anything other than look at the teeth and give us advice on the matter, but once they decided the tooth needed to come out, we saw no point in prolonging the situation.

From what I hear, the dental team did everything they could to be gentle and keep our boy calm, but ... well, I won't get into the details, but suffice to say my husband came home absolutely drenched in sweat from head to toe, still reeling from the experience of holding down our shrieking, sobbing, panicked child while they worked to get the tooth out.

Here's a chipper line of copy from the Children's Dentistry website that seems to imply extractions are no big deal whatsoever:

The removal of a baby tooth is generally a painless and quick procedure that most kids tolerate just fine! Most of our patients go home with a smile excited about getting a visit from the tooth fairy!

Let's just say this was NOT our situation. AT ALL.

So this is not one of those articles where I offer any useful information to you, dear reader. This is a cry for help. I'm wondering if any of you have gone through anything like this, where your child develops a fear of the dentist that's so overwhelming, he bursts into tears if you even mention the possibility of a visit.

I suspect part of the problem for us is that we didn't take him to a pediatric dentist (our insurance at the time only covered a handful of places in town, none of which were pediatric). They said they treated children all the time, but it wasn't a kid-specific office, so it's possible the next place we go to will have more distractions/calming techniques? Although I'm not sure my kid will fall for it: this place tried to refer to a device as a "tooth hugger," and he shot back, "I'M NOT DUMB, THOSE ARE PLIERS!!!!”

My son's tragic drawing of the various "hugging" tools he encountered is at the top of this post, by the way. Frankly, I can't really blame him for his phobia -- just looking at the image gives ME shivers.

Anyway, if you have any advice, I would sure love to hear it. He's got exactly one tooth right now that's a little wiggly, but other than that, his baby teeth don't seem to be going anywhere, damn it all to hell. I suspect he'll need another dental appointment before too long, and I have no idea how to make it easier on him.

Is your kid scared of the dentist? Does anything help make visits less traumatic?

Image via Linda Sharps

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