I’m a bit of a wreck and don’t know how to help my son. He’s totally terrified to go back to the dentist and after what he experienced, I can’t say I blame him. We were at his checkup and the dentist noticed a cavity. He offered to fill it then because he had time in his schedule. I felt that was convenient so I agreed. Then, he asked me to leave the room. I was a little hesitant because I’d always been there for my son’s appointments and it was his first cavity but agreed. The assistant explained to me that some children do better when their parents aren’t in the room. I didn’t feel right about it but left. A few minutes later I hear my son screaming. He’s no longer in the dental chair and the dentist is screaming at him. I grabbed my son and held him but he couldn’t do anything but cry. The dentist left without a word and his assistant told me the son bit down while the dentist was drilling. We left because I didn’t want him anywhere near my son. I know he’ll need a crown now, but he’s so afraid of the dentist I don’t think he’ll cooperate. Do you have any advice?
Reading between the lines I feel you’re blaming yourself for this. Don’t. You couldn’t have known what was going to happen when you left the room. You trusted your son with a medical professional and everything should have been fine. With regard to your son biting down on the drill. I have no idea why your dentist wasn’t using a prop on your son. This is a basic precaution that completely eliminates the risk of a patient biting down.
In addition, yelling at your son was unacceptable. Not only is it unprofessional, but he was dealing with a frightened child. That will only make the situation worse.
Getting Back to the Dentist after Dental Trauma
I’m going to suggest you see a dentist who uses sedation for your son. This will allow him to get treatment without anxiety and without pain. There are two levels of dental sedation available. The first is nitrous oxide. It uses a simple gas your son will breathe in with a nosepiece. This is best for patients with mild anxiety. Once the procedure is done, they will switch the gas to oxygen and he will be good to get on with his day within minutes.
It may be all your son needs. However, given your son’s experience, he may need something stronger for this first procedure back.
If that is the case, I’m going to suggest oral conscious sedation. This is a pill they can give your son before his appointment. It will completely relax him. When adults take it they’re required to have someone drive them to and from their appointment as well as stay with them afterward until they are lucid again.
Because he bit down, it is very likely he’ll need a dental crown now instead of a filling. Typically, children receive stainless steel crowns. This is because they usually receive crowns on molars. However, if it is on a visible tooth you may want to invest in a porcelain crown so he doesn’t feel like his smile is embarrassing. I hope this helps.
This blog is brought to you by Grosse Pointe Woods Dentist Dr. Theodore Hadgis.