pediatric dentist

Today was Jonah’s first “real” visit to the dentist.

We took him once before, about a year ago. He sat in a kid size chair at a kid size table in the corner of the room and watched while I had my cleaning. He played with a geography puzzle. He was pretty good at it.

When it was his turn, he sat in the chair and the Dr. Cynthia “counted his teeth.”

I think she may have been using that pokey instrument to poke the top of each tooth, perhaps checking for decay.

That was it.

This time, it was a little more involved.

He wasn’t scared though, which was what we must have accomplished with the last visit.

“I bet I can do the puzzle faster now,” he said.

First we sat in the waiting room and read books. Dr. De Soto, which is an awesome story about a mouse dentist and his fox patient, and a very self-congratulatory book by Tom’s of Maine about how toothpaste is made.

Then it was time for our appointment. This visit, just like last, Jonah sat at the kid chair/table in the corner while I had my cleaning. He played with a building-type toy that had a lot of eyeballs. Which was great because eyeballs are a very popular topic for us these days. Just after poop jokes and pee jokes. When those are forbidden, we go straight to eyeballs. It’s just so fun to say. Eyeballs!

At first he was distressed because he was unable to replicate the bug pictures in the instructions. But then the dentist suggested that he just make the biggest spookiest creature he possibly could using all the pieces. Spooky is another popular word. Right then, Scott showed up for his appointment (his being a little after and simultaneous with ours) and sat with Jonah and offered encouragement.

This was the masterpiece that ensued:

Then it was Jonah’s turn to get in the chair. First she showed him how the chair worked and let him press the buttons to make it go up and down. Then he got to pick a toothbrush.

Purple! He said. She had an orange and purple one. He approved.

He showed her/us how he brushes his teeth.

She was very complimentary of his technique but also warned that I should be helping him because the fine motor skills required to get at each tooth aren’t fully developed till around age 6.

She gave him a mirror so he could watch what she was doing, and she showed him how the various sucking and spraying and polishing tools worked before she began.

Fortunately, the neck bib and the stem of the polishing tool were also purple. And the sunglasses.

Because that overhead light is really really bright. (Don’t you always wear sunglasses at the dentist’s? She had a whole collection for Jonah to choose from.)

My boy was TOTALLY chill.

Totally. Chill.

And when I asked him afterwards, how it went, he gave his approval:

I really hadn’t thought of my dentists as having a pediatric practice. I knew they were married and had a kid two years older than Jonah so I figured I could bring him to them. Last year, the puzzle seemed like it was simply part of the toys they’d had around for when their daughter came to work with them. Probably I just wasn’t paying attention. The fact that they had a kid-size toothbrush for him that time should have clued me in.

This time around it was clear we weren’t the only mini-patrons, when, at the very end, she pulled out the giant plastic treasure chest filled with… treasures! Little rockets and gliders and finger puppets and those wooden paddles with the little pink rubber balls attached with elastic and whatnot. No dyed rabbit’s feet—which, oddly, is what my dentist had in his prize cabinet when I was a kid. I collected all the colors. Ew?

5 comments for “pediatric dentist

  1. November 9, 2011 at 6:42 am

    I am so glad he had such a great experience. M went for the first time on Monday. He had gone with me many times, but never had his teeth cleaned. He did really well.

  2. November 9, 2011 at 11:26 am

    That reminds me I have to make another appointment for Zack. He went at 18 months and at 2 1/2 & 3 and then I started slacking. I think it has been over a year since I have taken him. Bad mommy!! Glad Jonah’s experience was so good.

  3. November 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Jonah handled it a whole lot better than I do! Of course, I’ve never been offered purple sunglasses. That could change the whole experience.

  4. November 9, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    @Lyena: Definitely. Everything goes better with purple polka dot sunglasses.

    @Heather: Hiiii! Nice to “see” you here. I just checked in on your blog… You have had A LOT on your plate, woman! Glad that my little post can serve as public service announcement. But no “Bad Mommy” awards for you, not by a long shot.

  5. laura
    November 16, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    From Flann: “Silly Jonah! Thanks for putting your thumbs up! Uh huh thank you how pretty your sunglasses are. Thank you for putting your thumbs up for glasses. Thanks Jonah for being a great boy at the dentist. Like me. And I’m the one, y’know, Jonah, I’m the best one for dentists. Thanks for the dentist for getting great toys. Jonah, you are the greatest kid for dentists in the whole world.”

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