Tuesday, October 30, 2007

October 30, 2007

We took the boys to their first ever dentist appointment today. My husband met us there and I was feeling kind of bad about asking him to do that. I mean, what stay at home mom asks her husband to go with her to take the kids to the dentist. But you know what? I am so thankful that I did and that he was there.

The office was a very nice, kid-friendly office. That was great. We really liked the ship decor and the toy and book selections. They have video games for older kids, a flat-panel TV screen attached to each dental chair and a very open layout.

When it was our turn, someone came to the waiting room and called Ben and Nick. We all got up and went into the exam room. It is one large, open room with many exams chairs and the doors to the waiting room have windows so the parents can look in and see their kid. But we went in because we knew there was no way our little just-two-year-olds (and Nick not even that yet) would go in without us.

I had been talking this up to the boys all morning, telling them how they would get to sit in the "big" chair and how the dentist would look at their teeth, etc, etc. Nick was all excited and jumped right up in the chair. They weren't ready for him to be in the chair yet and he soon tired of it and the little cartoon playing on the attached flat-panel screen, he got down and wanted me to hold him. Soon after, the dentist came along and talked to my husband and I for a minute.

Then he was ready to have Nick sit in the chair. I asked Nick if he wanted to sit in the chair and he emphatically shook his head no (I was holding him at this point). I asked him a couple of times and he repeated the "no" head shake. I started to sit him in the chair and he clung to me, clearly getting ready to scream and cry and very afraid of the situation.

Do you know what the dentist said? He said "you're just going to have to force him into the chair and hold his hands down". I was shocked. I stood there in shock. Not knowing what to do next, I looked at my husband for guidance. He immediately said he would sit and hold him and he took Nick and sat down in the chair and kind of laid him back so the dentist could look into his mouth. They made it work and Nick was not too upset by this. The dentist spent all of about one minute, maybe, looking at Nick's teeth and counting them and declared them fine.

Ben was next and he was not as happy to lay in dad's lap but, after a couple of seconds, he loosened up and was fine too. The dentist spent maybe an extra couple of seconds on Ben, because he fell yesterday and bloodied his upper lip and the gums just above one of his front teeth. He wants him to come back in 8 weeks to have it checked again and have an XRay.

This is a pediatric dental office. When I was filling out the first-time paperwork, there was a question asking if the child had ever had a bad dental experience in the past. If my husband had not been there, all three of us would have had a very bad dental experience today.

I could not believe that this man did not try to engage the kids or talk to them before examining them. He talked to them in the exact same voice that he used with us, not in the nice, funny-sweet kind of voice that our doctor always uses and the boys love. The ONLY thing he did that even remotely resembled what I would think of as a pediatric dental thing was that he asked them if they wanted to hold the little mirror that they use to look at teeth. Nick held it for a second but Ben did not want to. Oh, and they each got a toy but it wasn't the dentist who gave it to them. Other than that, nothing. Completely nothing kid-friendly about this pediatric dentist whatsoever.

I was just really shocked by this. This is definitely not what I had expected from a pediatric dentist. I kind of wondered because of what they had told me on the phone when I made the appointment (thinking two barely two-year-olds might be willing to march into the exam room all by themselves and hop up into the chair) but then they also said they just want to make sure their first visit is a good experience so I thought they would know how to make it a good experience for them. They certainly did not and we won't be going back to this pediatric dentist anytime soon.

My expectation was that the "pediatric" dentist would know how to talk to and engage little children playfully to make it less scary and that he would invite mom and dad to sit in the chair and hold the child when they are this little, if the child shows fear. And maybe he would show the child first how he could look into mom or dad's mouth and the child could see how easy it was and that it didn't hurt and maybe the child could look too, so he would know what's going to happen before it actually happens, in an effort to make it less scary.

I am sorely disappointed and really kind of outraged that this guy even calls himself a pediatric dentist. Maybe he was just having a bad day but this definitely did not meet my expectations. I have no idea what this two minute exam cost but, whatever it cost, it was too much.


Kimberly said...

Hi Lea,

Longtime lurker here, but I read your blog every single day and really enjoy reading about how the boys are doing. I am the adoptive Mom of a two year old boy from the Kemerovo region in Russia and we've been home for just over a year. Jack turned two in September, so he's pretty darn close to your little ones in age!!

About the pediatric dentist... you are absolutely right to expect that they would be special in some way other than office set up. My dentist actually comes to the waiting room himself for each child and spend a couple of minutes playing with them in the waiting room. He makes a big deal out of talking to him directly and tells him what a big boy he is for sitting in the chair, etc. The very first time we saw him, he told me to hold Jack in my lap so he wouldn't be scared!!

Needless to say, we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE him and Jack thinks going to the "teeth doctor" is just the best!!

I should've posted a long time ago, so you would know I was here... I found you via Tonya's blog and just love reading about all your experiences.

Best of luck and take care!!
Kim and Jack

musicmommy3 said...

I would say that it's kind of weird. I mean, our pedi drs always had me hold my little ones until they were comfortable, unless it interfered with what they were examining; and even then they gave them right back to me afterwards. The only time I've ever had to hold down my kids were for vaccinations and that's understandable. Sheesh!
Well, you can always check out a new dentist. :)
We haven't been to the dentist yet but that will come sometime in the near future.
Even when Judah had hearing tests done at age 2 I was allowed to sit next to him and hold him. I was talking in a very matter of fact voice about everything but he was nervous. So, I guess every dr I've ever been to has been pretty much kid friendly. I guess I've been pretty blessed in that area. I never thought about it before. When Judah broke his foot at age 4 and they were trying to set it he was very very scared and they even let him change positions then and worked around the fear. He was fine as long as he could see what they were doing.
This is getting into babble. Sorry. I'm so glad that your husband was there. Don't you feel bad at all about asking your husband to come. If mine could accompany us to the dr's office I would gladly accept his help!! :):)

Lauri said...

I agree with you 100 %... I would expect more from a dentist that caters to Children. I thought they were all about making it a positive experience for the boys and a little warming them up, patience and perhaps creativity would have gone a long way.

Esther said...

We just had major activity done yesterday and the pediatric dental office. Check out my post from yesterday and today. They did an excellent job.

Esther said...

Ooops, typo. We had work done AT the pediatric dentist office.....

Christine said...

I'm sorry the their first dentist appointment wasn't very positive. The title pediatric doesn't mean anything in this day and age. I have 10 children and all of them see very gentle and nic regular doctors and dentists. I ahve found them to be wonderful.

God Bless.