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Kids' Anxiety about the Dentist

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Sensitive Anxious 3yo at the dentist

Nov 2010

Our 3yo son had his 3rd visit to the (same) pediatric dentist today. Though it was better than his prior visits (no screaming or crying, for example), it was still stressful for us both. He refused to get in the dental exam chair, so despite being shown and told about all the tools (for the 3rd time), the hygenist and dentist were only able to stain & brush his teeth and take a visual inspection (no tooth polishing).

In addition to being emotionally sensitive (and often sensitive to noise), our son is highly verbal and *very* strong willed. So aside from using brute force (which I'm not willing to do in a dental office for fear of creating further negative associations about the dentist), there was no way he was going to allow a full exam to happen, despite our best distraction techniques.

Each time we've been at this dentist, I've seen other kids calmly sit in the chair and go through the cleaning like it's no big deal. Not so for our son, unfortunately. Though he did spontaneously hug the dentist on his way out, this time, which I took as a good sign.

I've searched the archives, but find no referrals for dentists who work with kids who are sensitive, anxious and scared.

If your child(ren) sounds like mine, and you have a calm, careful, kind, patient dentist you love, I'd be very interested to hear about them. My son and I need a better dental experience in 6 mos time.

Many thanks.


If there isn't an immediate need for dental treatment, I'd stop taking him to the dentist for awhile. He's only 3, if there aren't any dental issues now then I'd give him some time to mature and start over with a new dentist. Maybe even a regular dentist. My older child always saw my dentist, younger one needed a ped dentist. Every kid is different. Skip the 6 month appointment and practice good dental hygiene but don't obsess. And don't even mention the dentist for a year. Just because other kids can sit quietly in the chair doesn't mean your son is ready. He just needs time, nothing wrong with that.

Dentist for fearful 11-year-old

April 2009

Could anyone recommend a dentist for my fearful 11 yr. old daughter? She hasn't been for a few yrs. due to us not being insured. Now we have Delta Dental and I need to find one in the Alameda/Oakland/Berkeley area. She needs someone good with fearful patients(children), gentle, and preferably female. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. S.C.


The Ca. Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped can help you! They will refer you to a dds who is aware of special needs kids (and elders)near your home. They are located in Sacto. I have used them before: 800-872-6176. Also, Betty Vodzak in Lafayette has a very sympathetic office and is very warm, competent herself (takes Delta). I am a dental phobic and have felt as much at ease in her chairs as I will ever be. Best of luck to all. Anon
I would like to highly recommend Ameneh Khosrovani. She was incredible with our son who had to have a filling at the age of 3, and she was really great with us too. I have heard wonderful things about everyone in the practice she is at. Their website is: http://www.alohakidsdds.com They have offices in Berkeley and Orinda. One of their Berkeley phone numbers is: (510) 528-1546 and they accept Delta Dental. Very Happy With our Pediatric Dentist
I am not sure where you are located, however I have heard excellent things about a psychologist in Walnut Creek, Dr Barton Lynch. He works with both children and teens and has been able to help a number of friends whose teens are having difficulties coping with a variety of issues. His number is 925 947-2922 JB
Your daughter might really like Carole Miyahara, who works at the big pediatric dental group with Drs. Wampler and Katsura. They have offices in S. Berkeley, N. Berkeley, and Orinda. Dr. Miyahara is extremely gentle and soft spoken, easy to communicate with, and listens really well to the children. She is not aggressive in either her style or her treatment recommendations, which has been a good match for our family. Good luck! Tara
our children aren't fearful of the dentist, but we've found their dentist to be wonderful. they see Ameneh (Ah-mey-nay) Khosrovani , at the office of Katsura, Wampler, at al. (many reviews in the archives.) it's a very kid friendly office, and dr khosrovani is sweet, gentle and warm (and good!) they have two offices in berkeley and i think they take delta dental.
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this page was last updated: Nov 29, 2010


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