Why are children scared of injections?

Why are children scared of injections? (Source: IDA Times)

An important deterrent to seeking dental care is fear of dentistry. Often parents threaten a child that the child would be taken to a doctor if he/she misbehaves or an injection would be given by the doctor for eating too many chocolates! A child thus has negative preparation of mind even before visiting a doctor or a dentist and looks forward to visiting one only for some punishment! Also, the fear associated with injections lowers the pain threshold and thus the intensity of pain increases when it has to be experienced.

The anxiety of parents could be another important reason for a child’s negative preparation of mind. Parents and family members, peers expressing their own concerns in front of children in relation to pain, bleeding, tooth removal, injections, etc. influence the child negatively. At times, the presence of an anxious parent in the operatory can affect the administration of local anaesthesia adversely, as the child in the presence of such a parent would be obviously more worried and fearful.

A past negative (painful) experience is another factor associated with fear. However, many a times such an experience is not due to painful injections per se, but it is due to lack of pre-treatment preparation of the child or lack of adequate pain control (either due to failed/inadequate anaesthesia) during treatment. We must believe that only a good painless administration would restore the child’s confidence in receiving local anaesthesia. The following discussion outlines the necessary steps to be followed for the same.

Preparation of parents prior to local anaesthesia for children:

A discussion with parents prior to any procedure should help them prepare better for a child’s dental care. The same may preferably take place in the absence of children. Certain instructions need to be given to parents for better preparation of them and their children for receiving dental treatments; such as:

* Do not tell your child about pain, blood, injections, etc. in the first place.

* Don’t tell him/her something like – “because you don’t brush your teeth properly, doctor will give you an injection…” or “because you eat chocolates, your spoiled teeth will be removed by doctor”!

* Do not voice your own fears about dentistry (pain, blood, etc.) in front of children. Your dentist can answer your queries separately.

* Do not insist on starting the treatment on the first visit itself. Give your doctor enough time to talk to your child. The time spent initially on building rapport and gaining his/her confidence will, in turn, save the time required for treatment later.

* Don’t promise him/her in advance about the time the doctor would take to treat, the pain he/she might get, etc. which can mislead him/her. Simply say you don’t know.

* Report to doctor any past negative experience.