Stephanie from Talking is My Primary Function shares with us the story of her kids’ and the dentist… it’s not all cartoons and prize trunks!
Today my sons took their stuffed animals to the dentist which was located in the darkest corner of my closet. The symbolism was not lost on me. It was so great when my twins got teeth because it felt like they were turning into real humans! Jack was so easy that I didn’t even know he was teething until the sharp, white tooth was just in his mouth one day. Alex was a little tougher, but they both seemed to get through it fairly quickly. And then the little darlings bit me every time I went in their mouths. Bedtime became a battle between me and their rotting teeth. I admit that some nights we didn’t brush at all. And some days. The boys told my mom we only brush when we leave the house.
But the first trip to the dentist was good. The place was like Chuck E Cheese’s with games and movies. Each exam room had a screen over the chair so the patients could watch TV as the dentist worked. They even had the Pole Position arcade game for after you finished. Free. The dentist worked quickly to count their teeth, assess their bites, and poke their gums. I learned that I would some day be buying an orthodontist his yacht and that I needed to floss their teeth. Sure thing.
Nevertheless I forged ahead. I renewed my dental diligence. Mostly.
The second dental exam included a cleaning and X-rays. This appointment ended with the boys picking out a cheap prize and me getting called into the principal’s office. It seemed my brushing had earned both boys a D. I was embarrassed and stunned. Even worse, Alex had cavities that needed filling, and Jack had some that were being watched. So, we paid a fortune, and my four-year-old got his first taste of laughing gas.
Again I took up the dental mission and became not just bad cop, but Undirty Harry. I dreaded getting ready for school and bed time. I knew it was me against two of the most stubborn, wily children ever born. Oh the tears…..the cries of being too tired to stand at the sink….
I was stupidly excited for our next dental exam. Good news! The boys could now reach the pedal and play Pole Position. Oh, their teeth were still a mess, but it was fun to see them play a game I enjoyed in my youth.
Now I was taken to the cubicle of shame and told that both boys needed fillings and crowns and a better mom. I made the appointment. This time they had advised that we use sedation on Jack as he was more, um, tense. (Read: stubborn and uncooperative when he decides what you’re doing is not cool anymore.) Now were were talking about a future appointment in the $$$$’s range. I cried over the pain my boys were in for and the shoes I would not purchase.
Then I had a brilliant idea and consulted my friend who is a dentist. I told her I felt like I was being scammed. Cavities in baby teeth? Is that a real thing we fix? She said it was probably okay to skip the fillings and sedation and suffering. I rejoiced and bought some boots.
We returned to the dentist. She wanted to reschedule Jack’s massive fix, and oh, now Alex needed more filled. If I told you the price for ramming pokey instruments into the wee parts of my kids’ teeth, you’d pass right out and when you came to, you’d punch any dentist you came across.
That’s when I realized our dentist was out-of-network for our insurance. So, I found a dentist in-network and was pleased to not be treated like a naughty child. He explained what was up with my boys’ teeth, how to fix it, and why. He of course had the boys won over with the Wii in the lobby AND the back room.
Monday was the day of doom. The boys were okay even though skipping breakfast was troubling. They wanted to master Wii bowling so they didn’t really think too hard about what was ahead. I was nauseous and panicky. (Did I mention I once had four baby teeth pulled at the same time?) We were there for four hours. My kids came out drunk-looking and drooling out of their now silver mouths. Seriously, they look like Jaws from the 007 movies.
We spent the rest of the day on the couch. They were hungry but sore. Their mouths felt weird after the anesthesia wore off, and it made them cry. And then we had to brush. The dentist said there would be blood but to do it anyway. So I did.
And then I cried after they went to bed.
We are now looking at three brushings a day even if they bleed or are in pain. Which they are. They can’t have gummy fruit snacks which is a five-year-old tragedy of epic proportions.
And the dentist is now a place that is as dark and scary as my closet. Dude, even my husband won’t go in there.