The first visit to the dentist was going to be a breeze. I picked a wonderful new pediatric dentist office in our neighborhood. In fact, they visit elementary schools explaining the importance of good dental health to kids. I prepped my boys (3yo & 6yo) weeks prior to the visit about what would happen. “The lovely, nice dentist will look at your teeth to make sure they are healthy and white.” “Nothing to be worried about, boys.” “It’s easy-peasy stuff!”
We arrived on time and the boys were blown away by the awesome waiting area. TVs, toys, video games, a huge tree in the middle of the room, stuff animals all about. Heavenly! Again, my mommy self was totally upbeat. Not a trace of fear on my kiddos’ faces. I was almost ready to pat myself on the back when everything changed.
I heard crying off in the distance and saw a mom explaining to the woman at the check-in desk, “I can’t get her out of the car right now…” I saw that weak smile on that mom’s face and my blood pressure began to rise. Sure enough, her 6-year-old was sitting in the car – screaming – because she didn’t want to come in. Uh-oh.
Eventually the dad walked in carrying a screaming, crying, kicking little girl. My 6-year-old noticed her, but didn’t react. My 3-year-old instantly had a petrified look on his face and slowly began to hide himself behind a TV stand. I was ready to explode. I almost asked the parents to remove their child, because my children still believed dentists were “fun” and their bawling child was quickly destroying everything.
I quickly went over to my younger son and told him not to worry about the little girl. “Why is she sad, mama?” he tearfully asked me. “Because she’s very grumpy today,” I answered. “She’s fine. She’s just very very grumpy.” He seemed to understand that she was just grumpy and relaxed. “Why is she so grumpy?” he asked. “Because she wants a lollipop and her mommy said no,” I lied. My son nodded. He understood the sadness of not getting a lollipop. After coaxing from mom, dad, and two hygienists, the little girl finally left the waiting room. Evidently, she was there for a filling and didn’t want to drink the “happy juice” for sedation.
My boys ended up doing a great job. They both sat still for the hygienists and didn’t squirm too much. The hygienists were great about explaining all of the steps, so that helped a bunch. My boys didn’t like getting x-rays, but they cooperated and got the job done. They left with new toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste, stickers and a balloon. On the way out, my younger son said, “I wonder what happened to that grumpy girl, mama.” Oh, she’s taking a nap now. I think she’ll be just fine,” I said.
How was your first experience at the pediatric dentist?