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To Sam

Fear of dentist

Hello, I havent been to the dentist for a while, yesterday my mum said that she is considering taking me there cause shes worried about tooth decay. i was just wondering. if the dentist says that i need a filling, is it legal to REJECT the filling??? just wondering

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Visiting the dentist can be scary for some people and you might be worried about what could happen. It’s natural to worry when you don’t know what to expect. Your dentist will only want what’s best for your health, so it’s important to take their advice seriously.

Lots of people are scared of going to the dentist but sometimes the fear can become a phobia, making it seem impossible to do the thing you’re scared of. Taking care of your teeth and gums is important. That way, you’re less likely to have problems or pain in the future.

Getting support for your anxiety can help you to cope when you feel frightened about seeing your dentist. It can help to talk to a trusted adult about your fears so they can support you before or during the appointment. You could also tell the dentist how you feel and ask what they can do to help you feel less anxious. They might be able to give you short breaks, explain the equipment they use or tell you what’s going to happen next during the appointment so you know what to expect.

When you’ve had your check up your dentist will tell you if they recommend any treatment. You have the right to know the risks and what will happen if you decide to refuse treatment. Dental treatment is voluntary and you should be given enough information and time to decide what you want to do. For treatment to start they’ll need your permission and you can change your mind at any time. If someone is very young or not able to make the decision themselves, their parent or carer might make that decision for them.

When you’re under 16 your parent or carer will usually help to make medical decisions, though you’re able to make them yourself if the doctor or dentist feels you understand. When you’re 16 or older you can make your own mind up about your dental treatment and your parents or carers don’t have to be involved.

But you should think about what might happen if you don’t get the filling. Tooth decay can get worse if it’s not treated, which could mean more visits to the dentist.

Thank you for your letter and remember you can talk to a counsellor at Childline about anything that’s worrying you.

Take care,


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