Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Tale of Two Dentists

Today is going to be a short one because I am exhausted.  Casey inexplicably woke up at 5am this morning, and once I got him back down I couldn't go back to sleep, since I knew I was waking up at 6:15 to go to the dentist.

But this dentist post is not about me.

Yesterday I took Braden to his first dentist appointment.  I knew from the get-go it wasn't going to go well.

How do I know this?  Well, Braden doesn't like to be touched by strangers.   When we go shopping for shoes, he freaks when the salesperson tries to measure his feet.  He demonstrates an impressive physical strength at doctor's appointments in refusing access to his ears.  And just try and cut his hair.  That's the worst.  Because not only does he not like invasions of personal space, he also really hates loud noise.  All hell breaks loose when he gets his hair cut and they bring out that electric razor thing.  This is why his hair is always uneven- he ends up scaring the hair dressers and making them cry and they refuse to finish the job.

Braden's First Haircut - September 2010

So when you put together his stranger touch aversion and a sensitivity to loud noises, it does not bode well for the dentist.

I tried to talk it up.  You know, as in Braden, the dentist is going to get all the dirt out of your teeth, isn't that cool?  Can you show the dentist how wide you an open your mouth?  Wow, you can open wide!  That is so amazing!  Be sure to show the dentist how you can do that.  

And then, Braden, if you're a good boy at the dentist, you can get M&Ms AND a lollipop when you get home!  Won't that be so yummy?  Particularly apropo for the dentist.

But there was only so much I could do.  I expected the worst, and hoped for the best.

The waiting room portion of our visit was the most successful.  He watched the fish.  He played with the cars.  He pooped in their potty and announced it to the receptionists, who appeared a bit horrified.

Our name was called and it went downhill from there.

I don't want to go back there.  

But Braden, we talked about this.  This is going to be so much fun!

No!!!!!  I hear the loud.  

[Loud noises are so feared that they are preceded by "the" - aka "the loud."]

Braden, that loud is not for you.  That loud is for someone else.   


At this point we are attracting some stares.  I picked him up and followed the hygenist through a hallway to our "chair."  I started to have an internal panic attack when I realized the office is open plan.  Aka, we are being seated right next to someone else, with a pathetic little dividing curtain.  Someone else who is experiencing the loud (which happened to be an electronic tooth polishing device).

Should I sit with him?  I asked the hygenist.

She took one look at his koala bear grip to my body and nodded yes.

And so I assumed position.  I was laying down on my back, with Braden facing me, laying on my stomach, nuzzling his face into my shoulder.  At least it muffled the screams.

The hygenist approached with the tooth mirror and one of those tooth pitchfork hook things that I usually see after it has been stained by my own blood.  Is this woman kidding?  Braden was having a meltdown about "the loud" coming anywhere near him, and she thinks she can stick this pitchfork in his mouth?  Ha.  At this point I am just hoping he will raise his head enough so that they can look into his mouth in between his screams.

I don't think that's going to happen, I told the hygenist.  At this point, the woman next to us who looked to be about 25 and was enduring the loud shot me a nasty look.   Oh come on.  This is a pediatric dentist, lady!  Time to graduate!

Somehow in the midst of screaming and trying to physically bury himself into my body, Braden had caught sight of the pitchfork soon to be blood stained hook.  Then it was all over.  This screams turned to shrieks of sheer terror.  At that point, escape wasn't even an option.  Braden was pushing me into that chair with such force that I couldn't even think about trying to stand up and walk out of there.  I think he may have even peed himself a little.  I can't be sure.

At this point the hygenist is trying to reason with Braden:  Honey, can you just open a little?  It won't hurt.  We're just going to clean your teeth.  

I shot her a look and she lowered her expectations: Okay, how about we count your teeth.  Can we count your teeth?  

The answer was no.

I asked her if she could leave us alone for a bit so he could calm down.  He did, only to be revved up whenever he heard "the loud" coming from other patient cubicles.  Finally, after assuring him he would not fall victim to the loud, and my repeated promises that once he released me we could leave, he stopped the screams.  Slowly, I pried him off of me and took his hand and we made a bee-line for the exit.

On my way out, the dentist made an appearance and handed us a brochure on thumb sucking. Then I made an appointment for six months from now, and let the receptionist know that my husband would be chaperoning Braden next time.

And then there I was this morning, back in the dentist chair.  With the loud and the bloody pitchfork and all.  The dentist massacred my precious gums and scraped my teeth dry.  And there were screams.  My God, there were screams.   But only internal ones.

I think I've had enough dentists for one week, thank you very much.


  1. Oh poor Braden! Nobody likes the dentist (except for my crazy sister, but that is a story for my own blog). It does sound like B. was very brave, though, and that is something he should be proud of! Better luck next time, Shan.

  2. Hehehe. Too funny! (Laughing with you and not at you I PROMISE!)

    I just took all 3 of my kiddos to the dentist the other day (luckly not an "open floor plan" office) and my youngest (only 21 months) was... well... not screaming (well not until the end) but in to EVERTHING. Between him, my 5 year old who couldn't sit still and my 8-year-old who just had a painful pallet expander put in - you can imagine my look, when the dentist calmly told me that two out of my 3 kids had cavities and needed to come back again for fillings.

    You mean I need to do this AGAIN? Ugh!

  3. I have ouchy gums too - my sympathies. My kiddo used to freak out about being restrained. Not touched so much, but restrained. So the head-measuring at the doctor - Major Event. Now that she's two, she's somehow grown out of it. So maybe there's hope? :)

  4. Freya was the same way. It took us months to get an appointment for her second visit because she had to go in the "quiet room." That's right at the back of our dentist's office is a padded cell created so that kids like our kids won't scare the other children. of course, once we finally made it to the padded cell she was angelic.

  5. Darcy, that's awesome! A padded room? I need to find out who your dentist is. :)

  6. "Oh come on. This is a pediatric dentist, lady! Time to graduate!"

    That cracks me up!


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