Monday I took the kids for their first dentist appointment.
Yes, they are 5 and 3 1/2, don’t judge…. I really have been meaning to do it for quite a while, at least I’ve been meaning to ever since my youngest stopped biting when he was upset. (That wouldn’t have gone over well…) I actually had a note to myself on the dry-erase calendar for the past year now, and every month when I erased the board and started a new month I’d notice it and swear I’d call the next day.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who makes big obvious notes to herself and then repeatedly misses them.
Okay, that’s all besides the point.
After I made their first dentist appointment, I started prepping the kids for the big day:
- We got several books from the library, all about your first trip to the dentist.
- I got out the old Play-Doh dentist head my husband had as a kid (sometimes the stuff his parents kept actually is useful) and we played dentist.
- We watched an online video that the dentist office suggested we watch.
- And, finally, we practiced in Daddy’s reclining chair. They loved it when I lowered the seat back and tied a towel like a face mask around my nose and mouth so I could count their teeth.
Really, the books are all it would have taken for my 5 year-old.
It was the 3 year-old I was crossing my fingers about.
Because from the moment I told them I had made dentist appointments for them, it was, “I don’t want to go dentist!” Followed by, “I hate the dentist!”
Three days before the appointment, after brushing his teeth, he totally freaked out, while on the potty of all places. He was bawling. All because he didn’t want to go to the dentist.
And the morning of the appointment, as I finished brushing his teeth, once again I heard, “I don’t want to go to the dentist! I hate the dentist!”
Thank you, oh thank you for awesome pediatric dentist offices!
All fear was forgotten when we stepped into the waiting room and he declared it looked like a sunken ship.
And that was before he discovered the small collection of free video games and the “tower of toys” where the kids get to put a token at the end of their appointment and get a small prize.
Just to be safe, big sister got into the chair first so he could see what would happen. Turns out all he cared about was that she was getting to watch Dora the Explorer… He soon let go of my hand so he could stand next to her chair and catch a few glimpses of Dora himself.
They left with first visit t-shirts, tooth brushes, little tubes of toothpaste, and a small turtle and frog from the toy machine. And they can’t wait to go back.
They sure didn’t have offices like that back when I was little!
For more tips about that first dentist trip, check out my post on preventing childhood cavities.