I don’t like to go to see a dentist. I used to start crying as I walked in to the office. I think I got traumatized when I got my 2 wisdom teeth pulled twenty some years ago. But because of the awesome mom I try to be I was determined to make sure the word ‘dentist’ did not mean ‘time to freak out’ in my childrends’ minds. I took it upon me to brush their teeth twice a day, train them to love carrots and apples as snacks (which they totally do) and feed them 100% xylitol after meals.
I was going to do things right but when I heard the recommendation is to take a child in when they turn 1 I rolled my eyes. So we skipped that first year. When Nathan turned 2 I also decided to skip the dentist because it still seemed very unnecessary. The next year I took him, actually all three of them.
I had found a pediatric dentist office with a train table, DVD player and all kinds of other fancy toys that we didn’t have at home. I imagined the kids would play while I took them one by one to the back room for a ‘quick and easy’ check up. Oh boy was I wrong..
Nathan refused to open his mouth. I tried prying it open with my fingers until the dentist lady kindly suggested that it was probably enough and I should consider taking him to a place where they can ‘knock him out’. In the mean time Beth and Joshua were running between the play room to the back room and then back, completely ignoring my ‘stop running at this minute or there will be trouble’ looks. When it was their turn to have a turn they had seen enough example from Nathan and knew what to do. No one was going to count their teeth either.
When I lurked my way out of the office I was sweaty, frustrated and decided this was the last time they’d see me. I was going to wait until my kids understood what was expected and I was going to find a place where ‘knocking them out’ wasn’t the first recommendation.
Last month I took Nathan to see a dentist again. This time to an office with no train table and only a few toys to play with in a corner.
I had started to talk to him about going to a dentist few months back saying ‘when you turn 5 it’s time to go and see a dentist’. During the weeks we talked what the dentist would do this his teeth: count them, clean them, tickle and poke them. He’d sit in a chair that moved like Daddy’s machines and there would be a bright light and he’d get to wear some awesome looking protection glasses. He was excited.
The day came and he did great! Slightly nervous but no refusal to co-operate, even if he wasn’t ‘knocked out’ ;). I was very nervous of what they’d find because I had *gasp* not followed the recommended dentist schedule and I was certain if they talked to me sternly about its importance I’d break down in tears. At the end there were no cavities (or tears), the dentist lady was sweet to tell me I had done a great job brushing and flossing his teeth and to keep up the good work. Beth and Joshua did great waiting in the ‘kid corner’ and were devastated when they realized they didn’t get a turn (or at least the cool sticker that Nathan got). Afterwards we all went for ice cream and talked about the sugar bugs we were going to brush away as soon as we got home.
Now that’s a visit I look forward to duplicating!
How did you go about the ‘schedule’ and how did you get your kids to behave?