Guess where NHV went today?
Yep, to the dentist to have her pearly whites x-rayed, cleaned, dosed with vitamins by the hygienist and then "counted" and checked by the doctor.
And this is pretty much where the smiles ... stopped ...
before any of the aforementioned interactions even started.
This was not NHV's first trip to the dentist. In fact, it was her third. She was seen by my dentist right when she turned two years old. And that visit went something like this ... Natalie sat in my lap. The dentist approached with a large, white medical mask covering the bottom two-thirds of his face. Natalie squirmed to get away. I calmed her. The dentist - with his voice muffled behind that ridiculous mask - said, "Okay, little girl, open your mouth so I can see your teeth." Natalie adamantly shook her head and refused to even look at the guy again.
For our second visit - six months ago - I sought out the recommendations of fellow mamas and found a great pediatric dentistry. That experience was fantastic! The hygienist was amazing with Natalie. She played games with all the tools. She sang Disney songs ... Natalie didn't know any of them, but she was enthralled by the woman's sweet, calming voice. All the necessary tasks were complete without any anxiety or fussing on Natalie's part.
And so, about a week ago, I started prepping NHV for a return to the dentist. It had been six months; time for a cleaning. She seemed totally fine with that idea. Before falling asleep last night, I could tell there was something on her three-year-old mind. We snuggled and chatted ... about, you guessed it, the trip to the dentist. Natalie explained to me that she wanted chocolate flavored toothpaste - not vanilla - "when the dentist uses dat tick-lee toofbush on my teef." She also was hoping for a red toothbrush and bubblegum toothpaste to take home with her. Just as I was giving her a final kiss good night, she said, "Mommy, dat chair at da den-test office. It goes up and down." Clearly she had a memory of her previous visit! I tell you, that girl remembers everything!
In fact, as I was unbuckling her car seat this morning, she told me, "We ride in dee elevator today or we take dee 'tairs?" Despite that the building is only two floors, I let her decide ... and we ended up in the elevator! Which was pretty much the highlight of the visit!
The hygeniest who greeted us today was not the same calm, sweet woman from last time. Instead she was rather loud and a little too enthusiastic. She spent the first few minutes running around trying to locate the perfect toothbrush. It was almost like a bribe. Like, "hey, I don't know how to make you feel comfortable, but I'll give you the exact toothbrush you want and then you'll be good for me while I clean your teeth. Deal?" Let's just say, "No deal."
The x-rays were awful! The way she was explaining the process to my three-year-old, well, even I was confused. I was like what does she want her to do? How about a few concise directions for my preschooler?! The hygienist from our last visit came in and literally saved the day on that one. Got both the top and the bottom done in record time and with no fussing from Natalie. But she had her own patient to deal with, so Natalie was passed back to Ms. K. In order to clean her teeth, I had to sit her in my lap and hold down her hands. She cried and squirmed the entire time. All the while Ms. K assured me that she does it "this way" all the time. Apparently other moms have to restrain their children in order for Ms. K to work her magic. Ugh! In retrospect, I should've just declined the damn cleaning! I will not make that mistake again! Rather than put Natalie through another trauma, I brushed the vitamin gel on her teeth myself.
Her time with the dentist was fine. However, she would not sit in the chair, and I couldn't blame her. We got a great report on her teeth. Two-year molars are still working their way through the gum ... ouch! The dentist also gave me the all-clear to continue the binky, which surprised me a little. But I am going with her professional opinion, mainly because I am terrified of getting rid of that thing!
I just hope that six months is enough time for Natalie to forget her awful experience. Fat chance of that happening. Our fourth visit to the dentist should be interesting ...