Friday, February 20, 2015

They ENJOY Going to the Dentist?

Normally when our kids experience something that is similar to an event from my own childhood except light-years better- like healthy school lunch options or an air-conditioned school bus- I am cranky and cantankerous and go out of my way to remind them of how lucky they are, and if they dare to make even slightest peep of complaint they pay for it by having to listen to hours of bitter "When I was your age"s from me, e.g., "WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE it was so hot on the bus my face flesh almost melted clean off my skull!"  I swear the local nursing home already has a Scary Old Lady chair roped off for me.  I'm like Mrs. DuBose in To Kill a Mockingbird, except, you know, not addicted to morphine.

There is an exception, however, and that is the remarkable, heavenly wonder that is pediatric dentistry.

It's like Wonderland in there, except, you know, not inspired by prodigious opium use.  (Gracious, this post has way more drugs in it than I was anticipating!)  There are bright colors everywhere that somehow manage not be overwhelming or jarring.  There's a basket of toys in every room.  It has a drop ceiling with the standard tiles of fluorescent lights, but every third one or so has a transparent sky-image of clouds and planes and such lit from behind.  They have small flat screen televisions mounted to the ceiling above every Chair of Terror (sorry, just my personal term for any chair that might have a dentist in its vicinity), and the kids get to watch movies while having their teeth cleaned and inspected.

Best of all, though, are the hygienists.  Now, the hygienists I grew up with likely have Scary Old Lady chairs of their own waiting for them; the majority of them were what I will euphemistically call Not The Friendliest (and by "Not The Friendliest" I mean they could have received tips on bedside manner from Dr. Mengele and come away as improved medical professionals).

The hygienists our children see every six months are the absolute best.  Yesterday was Caedmon's first trip to the dentist (something he's been anxious to do after years of watching his siblings do fun dentist things), and, although it didn't hurt that the young lady was quite pretty, it was more how kind and patient she was with him.  "Do you see this big thing?  This is my special tooth camera, and I'm going to use it to take awesome pictures of your teeth!  See this thing, here?  See how it bends and feels all rubbery- go on, you can touch it!  That's what we're going to put in your mouth to help take the picture!  And I bet that because you are so big and so helpful we'll do a great job at taking tooth pictures, and then you get to see it right on this computer!"

And so on with her Tickle Toothbrush and all the other cutesy names I can 't remember right now.

This is the first time Adelaide hasn't walked out of the office proclaiming, "I LOVE going to the dentist!", but that's because she got sealant put on her teeth (sealant:  Another fancy thing they didn't have when I was a kid, that apparently puts a layer of magic stuff on your teeth so you don't get cavities- or I don't know, maybe it did exist; my hometown didn't even have fluoride in the water, because there were just enough crazy ignoramuses to ruin it for the rest of us).  Atticus isn't crazy about visiting the dentist, but he never really protests, just watches his movie and takes all the mouth-violating with a certain amount of stoicism.

I was tempted to ask the amazing staff if they took 32-year-olds, but I have an appointment of my own at a new dentist next week.  Perhaps I'll finally find a dental hygienist of my own who isn't channeling the likes of Caroline Bingley and Regina George.

No cavities so far in these teeth, nor in his sister's or brother's.  CAN I GET A "HALLELUJAH"?


  1. Hallelujah, indeed! Both for no cavities, and for the dentist being a pleasant experience. I hope that you also may find the dentist of your dreams. Wait, of your good dreams. Wait, I didn't mean it like that.

    Never mind.

  2. I'm ashamed to say that Emma, at age 3, had her first cavity. She actually had to have a steel crown on a baby tooth. That was when we moved to a pediatric dentist, and it was a very good thing. Although the hygienists aren't all wonderful, most of them are. Best of all is that they use tools that are generally smaller (needles and such), and nitrous oxide for anything other than cleanings. She's still anxious about going (but then, she's just anxious in general) but it's always a good experience. Also, we discovered rinsing with ACT, and none of us has had a cavity since, which helps.

  3. Sealants are awesome! I think I would have had far fewer cavities if such a thing had existed back in the dark ages of my childhood. Not only was going to the dentist an unpleasant experience (for me: pain, for my parents: pain in the pocketbook) but my dentist was also my Sunday school teacher for a few years.

  4. When my kids were younger and expressed enjoyment at going to the dentist, I spent weeks marveling at how far dentistry has come. I always dreaded the experience as a child.

  5. I don't even know if I can get past the title. How weird. I would rather go to the OB/GYN!

    (I'm not kidding!)

    1. Oh, I'm right there with you. I have a dentist appointment in T minus 48 hours, and I am freaking. out.

  6. Hallelujah! Unlike in the old days, there are a lot of new things that can help improve dental hygiene. And it's really nice to know that children today are enjoying their visits to the dentist, rather than being terrified of it. Anyway, how was your visit? I bet things are pretty well too! Thanks for sharing this post with us, and have a great day!

    Rudy Spencer @ London Bridge Dental Practice

  7. Dentistry sure has come a long way from its start, especially where patient comfort is concerned. Pediatric dentists are an excellent option precisely because they do make dentistry fun, and kids who enjoy visits to the dentist are much more likely to keep up with their dental care as adults. Glad to hear your kids are loving the dentist.

    Eunice Greer @ Downtown Dental SC

  8. I have to second just how wonderful pediatric dentistry is. As soon as my wife and I started taking our son to a pediatric dentist instead of a regular dentist, his outlook on going to the dentist changed 180 degrees. Thanks for sharing your story, and I am glad to hear that your kids are still cavity free.

    Felipe Roberson @ Philly Dentist


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