My son, who’s 7-years-old, had a horrible experience with our pediatric dentist during his last appointment. I don’t know if the dentist was just having a bad day, but even I was shocked by how impatient he was. He hurt my son a couple of times in his rushing. Now it’s getting close to time for his new appointment. I mentioned he has an appointment on Monday and he flipped out. He does not want to go back. Is it safe for a child to go to a general dentist? My dentist is very friendly.
Savanah – Georgia
It is safe for a child to see a general dentist. They have the training to treat children. Plus, if there’s ever an issue which comes up where it requires a specialist, he’ll give you a referral. The only precaution I’d recommend is talking to your dentist about it ahead of time. Some general dentists like treating children, but some don’t. You don’t want your son to have another bad experience.
Let your dentist know the situation and see what he says. Also, ask how often he works with children and what kinds of things he does to make the appointments fun and relaxing. If he doesn’t have some ready answers for that last question he won’t be your best option. You can still go to a general dentist, but may have to just go to a different one.
Depending on the level of trauma your son experienced last time, you may want to consider dental sedation. This will give your son a completely relaxed and pain-free experience. That could get him back on the path to feeling comfortable with the dentist.
I’d like you to consider something else as well. We’re all human and have bad days. If your pediatric dentist has always been kind and gentle up until that appointment, he likely would feel horrible to realize he hurt and traumatized your son. It might be a good idea to talk to him. He could sit down with your son and apologize. Not only will it be good for your son to realize that even adults make mistakes, but it will help him learn how to forgive.
It’s up to you, of course. You know your son best and the level of trauma. It’s just an option I wanted to mention.
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