GET YOUR TEETH CHECKED: Dr Ronel Bornman wants to make the dentist less scary for children.
GET YOUR TEETH CHECKED: Dr Ronel Bornman wants to make the dentist less scary for children. Tony Martin

Dentist fighting children's fear, negative reputation

THERE'S a lot more behind a gap-toothed grin than poor dental hygiene.

Mackay Hospital and Health Service oral health director Dr Ronel Bornman thinks fear of the dentist also plays a part.

But thanks to an expansion of the free dental program to include eligible zero to four-year-olds, along with puppets, plays and even a giant tooth suit, Dr Bornman hopes to foster a positive reputation for dentists in the next generation.

"We are encouraging people to bring their two year olds along just to have a nice experience," Dr Bornman said.

"We have a big tooth (dress-up suit) and puppets. They can ride in the chair and see what it feels like.

"Quite often people are in severe pain the first time they see the dentist, and then they go through life associating that pain with the dentist.

"But we hope the next generation will love the dentist."

Previously only school-aged children once visited the dentist, but Dr Bornman said by that stage serious work often already had to be done.

Juice, milk, cordial and lollies all contributed to decay in children's' teeth, with some as young as three-years-old suffering problems.

"If kids go to sleep with a bottle of milk, that milk surrounding their teeth all night can lead to cavities," Dr Bornman said.

"Cordial in a bottle and lots of lollies are also really bad for teeth."

For a child to be eligible for the free program, parents would have to have a health care card, pensioner concession card, Commonwealth or Queensland seniors health card or CDBS eligibility letter.

Appointments would be at North Mackay School Dental Clinic with an oral health therapist. Phone 4885 6444.

Medical fears

It's not only dentists scaring the living daylights out of some people at hospitals.

There's a whole range of medical related phobias.

Dentophobia: Fear of the dentist.

Trypanophobia: Fear of needles.

Iatrophobia: Fear of doctors

Nosocomephobia: Fear of hospitals.

Mysophobia: Fear of germs.

Radiophobia: Fear of x-rays.


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