Surviving Our First Trip to the Dentist
As February is National Children's Dental Health Month, I just had to share my daughter's first experience at the dentist.
As a parent, you look forward to “firsts.” Your child’s first time walking, first time riding a bike, first ballet class, that sort of thing. But I must admit that while I wanted to be present, I did not look forward to my daughter’s first trip to the dentist at age 2.
Let’s be honest, I don’t know anyone who likes going to the dentist, myself included. Obviously, I know taking care of your teeth is very important (and going to the dentist is essential), but it doesn’t mean I have to enjoy the experience. And while I was very positive and upbeat as I prepared my daughter for her visit (I could have won an Oscar for that performance), I wonder if she sensed that I was going overboard for a reason.
When we arrived at the dentist, I have to say we were both pretty impressed… the waiting room was a child’s paradise. Toys, balloons, an animated movie playing via projector on the wall, stickers galore. Millie was having so much fun, naturally she didn’t want to leave when our name was called. But out of curiosity more than anything else, she was intrigued to see what was behind the next door. As luck would have it, more stickers (these people are smart).
The dental hygienist, who was very sweet, took us back to another room where I tried to make Millie as comfortable as I could in the dental chair. Another show played on a screen on the ceiling, so she was able to focus on that. It was when the dentist, who was very nice, asked me to lay down over my daughter’s legs and hold her arms down that I got nervous. The cleaning, which was brief but thorough, was not fun to witness. There was a lot of crying (and maybe one or two tears from her mama). I just didn’t realize that they would actually do a cleaning on her first visit—I thought they’d just look around in her mouth and call it a day, for the experience more than anything.
Eventually, the crying stopped (with the help of a balloon), and we made our way home, both a little bewildered. I share this information not to scare you from going to the dentist but to not be surprised if this happens to you. Maybe I was naive to think our visit would be different, but it certainly was not what I anticipated.
In any case, dental care is alive and well at our home, thanks in part to a pretty cool Hello Kitty toothbrush and toothpaste that tastes like strawberries. We’ll visit the dentist again, of course, but next time… I think it’ll be my husband’s turn to take her.
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