I don’t know why a trip to the dentist has to become a negotiation situation to keep my kids from breaking down inside of the dentist’s office.
My 14 year old son begged me to get him braces. He’s had them for almost 2 years now and still complains about going in for visits.
My 5 year old daughter was fine about going to the dentist, until her brother told her they were going to pull all her teeth out if she had any cavities. Coincidentally, they were doing a game at my daughter’s school that was about teeth and cavities, so she was all excited to tell her classmates about her dental trip, despite what her brother told her.
Until we got there.
This visit was for a general cleaning, so my son didn’t have to worry about tight braces or painful teeth (which, if you remember, he begged me for) and I didn’t have to hear the eminent whining that would ensue thereafter.
At any other time during the year, my daughter is a literal d-bag to my son. She tells on him (he calls her a nark) for the smallest of violations, tries to steal and play with his personal belongings, tells him he has to finish his dinner, she hugs and kisses him, and many other headache inducing nonsense that they fight over.
But during doctor visits, my daughter must have him there for support, he must be in her sight at all times. Which is funny because he’s not a very good supporter under these circumstances (see above comment about the pulling of her teeth).
So, we get there and we check in.
I sign the usual documents ensuring I can’t sue them if they screw up my kids teeth, and in turn, they will take all my money for their services. Then we have a seat.
Since it’s a pediatric dental office they have a corner of the waiting room with a t.v. set playing Moana on repeat and a bucket full of cold and flu infested toys. My daughter ran straight for the toys, but wanted me to play with her.
Since I’m aware that the office probably doesn’t clean their toys on a regular basis, I decide to let my daughter collect more antibodies for her immune system on her own.
While I was trying to read, waiting to be called back, my daughter set something on my head. My son gets irritated by 90% of the things that she does, and because he knows if he helps me I’ll love him more, he took it off my head and threw it back into the toy bin.
Because I’m a mom, I didn’t really acknowledge what was going on. I was reading, which I don’t get to do very often. My “ignore until I hear screaming or crying” meter was set to high.
She did it again, this time it fell on what I was reading. I set it down on the floor.
She did it a third time, and since 3 is the magic number for moms, I actually paid attention to what was going on.
I grabbed the toy to tell her to stop putting it on me. But before I started talking, I looked at it. It was a fuzzy plushie. I couldn’t tell you what the fuz toy was, except a mixture of pillow and animal, but I immediately thought “lice!”.
As I went to tell my daughter not to play with this toy anymore, we got called back. I tossed it back in the vacinity of the other toys and grabbed my daughter’s hand to lead her back, after unconsciously rubbing my hands on my jeans trying to get any of those tiny little lice buggers off me. I realize now, not the best idea I’ve ever had. My son trailing behind us.
Why do they have plush toys in a place where hundreds of kids congregate daily?
We made the typical small talk, the very nice dental assistant asking us how we’re doing.
Since it’s not polite to be honest and tell her how my day was really going, I told her “good” and asked her how she was. She was doing good too. Surprise.
They sat my son down for xrays, he’s done it many times now, and the nice dental aide informed me that my 5 year old would be getting them too.
She’s never had xrays done before and, as soon as she heard that she was, became cling wrapped to my hip.
She watched her brother get it done, without any verbal complaints from him (the annoyance was spewing from his teenage eyeballs). She was still scared to get in the chair. Understandable.
She became even more worried when my son was called away into an different room, to get started in his cleaning, and left her alone with only me to comfort her….
Various pleas from me, along with more appropriate verbal assurances from the nice dental attendant, got her into the chair and wrapped in the xray gown.
Then we had to convince her to put the xray cassette in her mouth. 5 minutes of telling her that it wouldn’t hurt, we’re just gonna take some pictures of her teeth, and so on and so forth. More pleas and assurances.
Once she saw her own teeth on the xray screen, she was good to go for all 6 takes. The girl loves pictures of herself.
All I saw in those xray pictures was proof that my little baby girl was about to get her adult teeth soon. Those suckers waiting, just behind her baby teeth, to pop out. Just one more reminder that she’s going to keep growing up.
My daughter got excited for her “Big Girl Teeth”!
Then we had to go into the exam room that has the dental chair with all the attachments and arms, making it look like an octopus coming up from the center of the floor. One arm for the light, one arm for the table, one arm to hold the computer, and one arm to hold all the instruments connected to tubes.
They had already finished cleaning my son’s teeth, so it was already my daughter’s turn.
But, she didn’t have the comfort of watching her brother go through the procedure, so she didn’t want to climb up into the chair in the middle of the octopus. Surprise, surprise. If I was a kid, it would freak me out too. A lot of adults are, understandably, scared of the dentist.
Again, more pleas from me and appropriate encouragement from the dental mate ensued, and we got her up in the chair and got her teeth cleaned with continuous encouragement and hand holding.
The big mistake, on the part of the dental office, was not having the doctor check the kids’ teeth directly after they were cleaned. I assumed this happened due to the constant, every 15 minute, appointments that all doctors offices seem to make these days. Trying to get patients seen between the inconvenient hours of working mothers and fathers.
So, my daughter waited in the middle of the octopus.
The dental wing-man said that the doctor would be right in. But the doctor was not right in. It was the longest 10 minute wait I’ve ever had, at least since the last time she was in a doctor’s office.
Especially since the dental second-in-command put the sharp pointy probe and tiny mirror on the table within my daughter’s line of sight! So she had to sit there the whole time, staring at the instruments, just using her imagination to figure out what they were going to use them for.
The dental helper promised her the doctor wasn’t going to use them to poke her with, but to count her teeth and check for cavities (the reason, her brother told her just earlier that day, she would have all her teeth pulled out).
I should have let her get down and move around a bit, but since we kept getting a promise of the doctor walking through the door shortly, I kept her up in the chair.
Not even the movie “CoCo” playing from the t.v. screen, attached to the ceiling to help calm the children laying on their backs in the ocotpus chair, could keep my daughter from trying to slither off or keep her from worrying about what the doctor was going to do with the torture devices located on the table.
Prior to the doctor coming in to see my daughter, the dental partner in crime had promised her a toy if she was good. The promise improved my daughter’s slitheryness for a few moments. I did, however, let her play with the tiny mirror to help her feel better when the dental nurse left the room. It helped.
Then the doctor came in! Don’t worry, I got the mirror back on the table in time.
I may not enjoy taking my children to the dentist, but I have to say they have amazing people working at this place. He immediately helped to make her feel better and at ease. He was quick but thorough and blam! Finished.
And then he did my son’s exam… I honestly almost forgot my son needed his done. I was emotionally exhausted.
He was still quick, but thorough, and very nice. But my teenage son takes horrible care of his teeth and braces. I blame his father.
He makes me want to throw my money into a mulcher and used for compost. At least then I would feel like the cash was going into something useful.
The doctor did his exam, but sounded and looked concerned. He had me come over to where he was to show me what the issue was. My son’s gums. The doctor told me that if the deffiant teenager didn’t start brushing better, or using a water pick, that once his braces came off he may need to see a periodontist to have his gum tissue trimmed back. Ugh. They were pretty inflammed.
It may improve with better brushing technique, or when his braces come off, or it won’t. Fun.
Hopefully the thought of having surgery to repair his gums will scare my son into taking better care of his mouth. Probably not, my son IS invincible.
They got a fluoride treatment and then they were really done.
Now, it was time for my daughter to choose her much deserved prize.
My son wanted her to get the oversized punching balloon, but she chose the sticky hand that has a stretchy arm so you can slap people from 5 feet away.
My son is 14, so it wouldn’t be fly of him to ask for a prize. I should have asked for him though, I realized soon after we left. But he would probably just say “Na” and looked at me like I was being so lame for even bringing it up.
When we got back in our car to leave, my son wanted to play with the sticky hand, but my daughter didn’t want to share. He grabbed it from her when she tried to slap him with it and it got stuck in the head rest of his seat. I pretty much yelled the rest of the way home.
In another 6 months we get to do it all over again.