A personal perspective from a dentist
4 MINUTE READ
Children are often very anxious at the dentist, and often they are apprehensive, unwilling to cooperate or cry because they are scared. Managing children can be chaotic. Sometimes it can get out of control and it all stems from fear.
Many general dental practices refuse paediatric patients as practitioners find it difficult to manage children who do not cooperate. These children are referred to the paediatric dentist for specialist care. It can be dangerous for both the child and the practitioner if the child is crying, screaming, moving around and dodging the instruments.
I’ve seen apprehensive children throw tantrums and bargain with their parents on what toys they would get if they behaved. I have now learned to determine when it is appropriate to refer on, and when I can manage the child in-house.
“I’ve seen apprehensive children throw tantrums and bargain with their parents on what toys they would get if they behaved.”
Recently, I saw a pair of siblings for their routine six monthly check up and clean. I remember the siblings both being apprehensive and cried when they came for their first dental visit. As they grew up, they had gotten more familiar with coming to the dentist, and they had gotten used to me and to the procedures. I realised they were all smiles when they came recently. It was like they were visiting an old family friend. They were both so well behaved and even tolerated bitewing radiographs. There were no tears at all. Seeing how far they had come made my day! I was so happy and proud of them, I made sure they knew how happy I was with how much they have matured since they first came.
This reminded me of how God celebrates each small victory in our lives.
What does it mean to overcome fear as a child of God?
We are all born with fear; fear of the dentist, fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of danger and fear of death. In a young child’s world, so much is new and unfamiliar. For most people, fearfulness remains even as we age, and thus many people struggle with anxiety and depression.
As children of God, we need to find rest in the Lord. The best way to deal with fear is to overcome it, through Jesus. The spirit of fear is not of the Lord.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So, the one who fears has not reached perfection in love.”
God allows us to go through trials and tribulations, or periods of wilderness and testing, to be refined and purified. God interacts with us, to remind us lovingly that he is bigger than our fears. We just need to have faith!
“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’” (Mark 4:39-40)
When we look back in retrospect, we realise that these trials help us grow deeper in our faith and our convictions and can help bring us closer to God. Sometimes it may hurt, but it is certainly for our benefit. The more we seek the Lord and learn to trust in Him, the more we experience His goodness, the more we grow and the more our identity becomes rooted in Christ.
“When we look back in retrospect, we realise that these trials help us grow deeper in our faith and our convictions and can help bring us closer to God.”
The Lord is overjoyed to see His children grow and mature in Christ, overcome fear, anxiety and depression in his name, just like when we see our children grow and mature and overcome the fear of even the little things in life.
As children of God, we have authority over the power of the devil, we have authority to break strongholds of the enemy. God has given us His Word and Spirit, so that we may have the wisdom and power to stand against the enemy.
We realise that God is in charge, although there may be unpleasantness, there may be pain, and things may not go the way we want it to, but at the end of the day, God is at the end of it all. We know how everything ends; we end up being with the Lord forever.
Rooting our identity in Christ and knowing that we are children of the Most High, gives us so much strength, power and freedom in Him.
As the Holy Spirit lives in us, His joy becomes our joy; His love, our love; His peace, our peace and His strength, our strength.
Dr Holly Ho Dr Holly Ho is a general dentist working in Gold Coast, Queensland. She is passionate about creating beautiful smiles and connecting with her patients. Outside of the clinic, you will find her exploring nature, singing, painting or filming videos. She also enjoys serving in the church worship band.