First visit to the dentist

Ok, so remember last time I talked about Nathan face-planting in  a parking lot and knocking his two front teeth loose? Well, this post is about the ensuing dentist visit.

Nathan hadn’t been to a dentist yet. It was something on our to-do list, but for some reason, I thought that kids didn’t need to see a dentist for teeth cleaning until they were three. (They actually need to go at age two.) So I called my dentist, who by the way is AWESOME.

Side story: I’ve been having some tooth pain but I didn’t have a dentist and had no idea who to call. So I asked my mother-in-law who she sees because she has some sort of innate ability to pick amazing doctors. I haven’t had my teeth cleaning in years (I know, shame on me!) because my last dental visit was rather traumatic. I had to get my wisdom teeth pulled, and my dentist at the time (who I had been seeing for almost 20 years) was becoming cranky and rude in his old age. My teeth were impacted, so they had to be cut out. I swear, I could feel every single bit of it even though I had numbing shots. As I was screaming in agony with tears flowing down my face, my dentist told me that it was “impossible” to feel pain after having the shots.

I have not been to a dentist since then.

So anyway, I went to my mother-in-law’s dentist and was blown away by how friendly the staff was, how careful they were with my mouth, and how knowledgeable and helpful the dentist was. I am scheduled for a deep cleaning soon, a couple fillings, and to replace an old filling… and I’m not feeling all panicky and anxious about it because I know they will take care of me.

What’s really cool about them is how understanding and compassionate they were towards Nathan. I didn’t have a sitter that day, so I had to bring him with me. He freaked out. Totally. Complete with hysterical screaming and thrashing… and he wasn’t even the one seeing the dentist! They were so understanding, however. They gave him three race cars, a bouncy ball, and let him play with a set of display teeth. They cajoled him and spoke softly with him, and even sat with him and played while I was getting x-rays. They were super awesome and they now have me as a client for life!

So back to my story. Since Nathan didn’t have a dentist, I called mine to see if they accept children his age. They said that they do… but only as long as the child will allow them to look into his or her mouth. I may have chuckled a little. With Nathan flying into hysterics when I WAS THE ONE SEEING THE DENTIST, I knew there was no way he would allow anyone to look into his mouth. So they recommended I take him to a pediatric dentist.

When I called, I warned them that my three-year-old is incredibly strong-willed and would more than likely fight tooth-and-nail (gotta love the pun) when they try to check his mouth. She replied that they only deal with children and they are used to it, so it wouldn’t be a problem.


When we walked into the door of the pediatric dentist, there was no wailing. No frightened screeching. No flowing of tears. The waiting room was kid-friendly (of course), complete with tons of books, a few toys, and some paper hot-air balloons swaying gently from the ceiling. When we walked in, Nathan took one look around and said “Wow!” as he darted towards the bookshelf. He scampered about the room, alternating between playing with toys, pawing through the books on the bookshelf, and running up to the receptionist to tell her over-and-over again what his last name is.

When it was time for us to be called back, Nathan went willingly. We went through a brightly-painted hall, passing by a display of neatly arranged stuffed animals as we walked into the equally festive and colorful dental room. Nathan willingly stepped onto the scale when they asked and hopped up onto the cleaning bed with a smile on his face.

Getting him to lay down was another story. He knew something was up, and he didn’t like it. The dental hygienist explained to him what they were about to do. After much ado, we were able to coax him into laying down. He fought somewhat but she was able to check his teeth to see if they were ok to clean (since he’d never had a cleaning before.) Even though his front teeth were loose, he was good to go for a cleaning. She showed him the “spinning toothbrush” and even let him hold it. She let him pick out the flavor of his “toothpaste” (grape) and the  flavor of his fluoride treatment (strawberry.) But as soon as we tried to lay him down, the thrashing and screaming commenced full throttle.

Fortunately, they were able to work with him and we were able to get his teeth cleaned. And the good thing about a child screaming bloody murder during a cleaning is that their mouth is wide open, allowing great access! Lets just say that he fought so hard that he was completely covered in sweat by the time it was done. So much so that they had to wipe him down with tissues!

When it was finished, without any hesitation whatsoever, they whisked out three bins chalked full of toys onto the bed next to us and told Nathan to pick out what toys he would like. He picked out some cars and some stickers and proceeded to roll them happily around on the floor, even as his tears were still freshly glistening on his sweaty and flushed cheeks. But then Nathan wanted to roll his cars elsewhere, so two assistants escorted him out to the waiting room where they sat on the floor and played with him for THIRTY MINUTES while I spoke to the dentist about his tooth injuries.

Seriously, this dentist was super awesome and I was thankful and impressed that he took such a long time discussing it all with me.

Basically, Nathan had a 50/50 chance of loosing his two front teeth because his gums were so red and angry that either the teeth could die or their own or might have to be pulled for the good of the permanent teeth that are developing behind them right now. The dentist explained that it if the teeth survived, it would take about a month or longer for them to tighten up but in the meantime, Nathan could eat whatever he wanted as long as it was cut up into tiny bites. Absolutely no biting into anything with his front teeth, and no falling. He said just one more fall on those loose teeth and it would be over- the teeth would not survive.

So once we were finished, I walked back out to the waiting room and saw Nathan having a total blast with the assistants. They were all sitting on the floor, rolling cars back and forth. Nathan didn’t want to leave!! It was awesome how they took care of him and saw him as a person rather than a number. I felt like they really cared. I will definitely be using them for now on!

So as of today, it looks like Nathan’s teeth are going to survive. His gums have regained their healthy pink look and the swelling has disappeared. His teeth are still a little loose, but they are definitely tightening up. It looks like everything worked in his favor and he won’t lose his two front teeth, thank the Lord.

Did I mention that it’s stressful being a parent?


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