Baby's First Dentist Appointment

Shut up, I know all about the new recommendations that want you to take your kid to the dentist when they turn one or when their first two teeth get all the way out or whatever.  I didn’t want to, so there. And I was soooo right.

I made an appointment with a pediatric dentist recommended by Elizabeth’s pediatrician.  I printed out the forms ahead of time and had them all filled out.  (Thank goodness, because I ended up needing my hands the whole time we were in there.)  We had an early appointment and I let Elizabeth take the iPad in the car to play with.  She carried it into the dentist and chattered happily on the way in.

We walked into the front door of the office.  The waiting room was full of lots of kids and adults.  Elizabeth looked around and burst into tears.  “I no yike dis place!  I want to go home!  I no yike it here!  We need to leave this place!  I don’t want them to hurt me!  I no yike them to hurt me!”

Me: stunned silence.  How did she KNOW?  This was her first ever experience with a dentist.  I think she sensed it in the air.

We signed in and sat down in chairs for a few minutes.  We got up at one point to get my ID back from the receptionist and someone was standing next to our chairs when we got back.  (Mind you, we only walked about three steps.)  Elizabeth shouted “no, dis is MY chair” at her.

We got called back extremely quickly.  Apparently, someone breaking out into bright red blotches from crying so hard in the waiting room is not good for business.  (Again- how did she know?!?)

We went into the X-ray room.  I was carrying Elizabeth at this point.  The woman (nurse? hygienist? technician?) asked Elizabeth to stand on the scale so that she could see how big she was.  Elizabeth shrieked “I NOT BIG” and clung to me even more tightly.  I tried to shake her off, but she was like some kind of baby orangutan at that point and I couldn’t have gotten her off with a pitchfork.  The nurse said “I think we are going to skip x-rays today.”  I laughed.

We went down to the end of the hall, where there were those big dentist chairs.  (Which is what Elizabeth saw when we first came in and could have been the only thing to tip her off.)  The dentist was waiting for us (again, I recommend the screaming child for speeding up the appointment- they wanted us OUT of there) and he was really nice.  Elizabeth was wearing her Cinderella dress and tiara and he tried to talk to her about it.  She continued to sob into my neck and occasionally shout something like “it is NOT good”.  He showed her what he was going to do (more sobbing into my neck) and eventually I pried her off me and pushed her into the chair.  He stuck a little mirror into her mouth and kind of looked at her teeth.  (I held her down.)  He said that everything looked great and we discussed toothpaste (he’d like us to switch to fluoride toothpaste).  He brushed some vitamins from a little brush on to her teeth and we were done. The dentist offered her the little mirror that he had used to look in her mouth to keep and she pushed it back at him.  He laughed and said “well, you aren’t going to have anything to do with this, are you?”  I did really appreciate how understanding they were of her fear- the nurse at her last well visit was not.

I told her that if she stopped crying, we could leave this place now.  She stopped mid-sob and didn’t start again.  We made another appointment (for September) and I did a little propaganda work (“see how those kids are being so brave in their chairs!”).  While I was making the new appointment, Elizabeth kept hiccuping out “I’m so sad!” “I no yike dis place!” “we need to LEAVE dis place!”.  My favorite one is when she shrieked “we need to go home and get some oatmeal to make me feel better!”

The dentist told me that for the first appointment, they try to make it as quick and easy as possible so that the kid leaves feeling like “well, that wasn’t so bad!” and then when they come back, they are more cooperative.  I laughed.  Elizabeth has spent the rest of the day with the martyr air of someone who has survived undeserved torture.  She will remember and she will NOT approve when we go back.  (She went a year between doctor’s visits (not sick often, my girl) and she remembered exactly what they did to her at the first one and she did not approve at the second one.)

This dentist is certified for to do sedation.  I’m just saying.