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Effective Solutions for 4 y/o doctor/dentist anxiety

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

My almost four year old DD hates going to the doctor and dentist. Always has. She hasn't been to that many doctors appointments, 2 days, 4 weeks, 1 year, 2 year and 3 year. She didn't start receiving vaccinations until after she was 2. But these are not the worst part. The freaking out starts with having to get on the scale and the worst part is having her ears looked in. At the dentist I have to restrain her myself (holding her against my body) to get her teeth cleaned. I realize many people here with think that is awful and I think it is awful too. However, there is a family history of dental problems not related to bottles and I believe good dental care is important. We see a pediatric dentist and they have always been kind and patient.

 

After we leave, she seems fine. She likes to show off her band-aids and new tooth brush. She talks to me and her friends about how she went to the dentist. She talks about the fish tank at the dentist.

 

Still, the way she acts while we are there is awful and I feel so bad. Everyone keeps saying "its just the age" but I feel that it has more to do with her shy and sensitive personality. She does not like "strangers" touching her, getting her foot measured at the shoe store is another miserable experience.

 

I e-mailed our doctor to discuss this and she agreed with me that it may be more then just the age, that is could be anxiety and recommended I take her to a child therapist. And now I feel conflicted because while I do want strategies to help make this better, taking her to a therapist seems a bit...over-reacting? Day to day life she is a great kid, we do not have behavioral issues outside the norm. I have been looking at some therapists websites in my area and they all seem to be interested in teaching some parenting class or another. I'm not really interested in parenting advice outside of this one issue. 

 

Sorry this is so long, just looking for anyone with BTDT stories or recommendations.

post #2 of 3

I am going to say what you already seem to know. It is the age. Dd used to be terrified of doctors. I can't even tell you how terrified. She never let the dentist check her teeth. We could've made her do it but we didn't think it was that neccessary. Around 4 1/2, (she is 5 now) she was asking for her ears to be pierced almost daily. We told her about the pain. And she would say she is a brave girl and is ready to do it. She started asking to go to see our dentist. She is presently asking when she can do her allergy test. (We were asked to do it in 2010 or probably before that but we knew that it would be a v. hard task so refrained.) We got her ears pierced after she turned 5. She cried a little and I was surprised how brave she was, indeed. Haven't had a chance to take her to the dentist but a visting dentist checked their teeth at school. And we will soon be doing the allergy test, probably combining it with the examination reqd. by the school. She still doesn't like them sticking the stick to test for throat infection but from age 2 when I remember taking her the first time with a fever, we've come a long way. And she definetly had stranger anxiety since she was an infant. She used to cry when she'd see her uncles because she didnt' see them often. They were in her mind, strangers.She was absolutely terrified of my brother. I remember going to our computer and going thru various photographs of family. And we did that exercise a few times. After that she began relaxing and now she has the opposite of stranger anxiety whatever that is. She is so outgoing and so extra comfortable with everyone that I had to get books on stranger safety. Good luck.

post #3 of 3

It's both the age and the anxiety. My dd1 was very much like you describe. I held off on the dentist for as long as I felt comfortable (her first visit was around 5) and the dentist I chose was very kind and patient, could take both my kids at the same time, and most importantly had all the bells and whistles including TVs on the ceiling for distraction. I was going for all the distraction possible. It's worked really well. So much so that when she did have to have a filling a couple of years ago (maybe age 9) she didn't even realize that she had had a shot of novocaine/lidocaine because she was too distracted by watching Beverly Hills Chihuahua on the ceiling. She's totally fine for cleanings and x-rays and everything now. It's still not her favorite place, but she's okay with it.

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