Friday, October 03, 2014

Dentist fail

Soon after returning stateside from Egypt, Rachel had her very first dentist appointment. It did not go well at all. And every other dentist appointment since then has also been rather terrible until Monday. On Monday I explained to Rachel that she had to be brave and go in by herself. I had the two littles ones with me and we couldn't all cram into one of the little dental stalls.

She was great. She went in and endured everything, even though she was nervous.

Then I was called in while the dentist did her exam (and it was crowded with six people in there: me with three kids, the dentist, and hygienist). The dentist revealed a couple of cavities, which Rachel was mortified to hear about because since she was three years old and the dentist first admonished her to always brush well and to floss every night she had brushed well and flossed every night.

She wouldn't dream of ever skipping, like some children do. In fact, once we went overnight somewhere (camping, I think) and—horrors!—we forgot to grab the kids' toothbrushes and Rachel cried and cried and cried (worrying about getting cavities from one night of not brushing). We had to do something to placate her. I think we rubbed her teeth with toothpaste or something.

I also hate flossing my teeth and used to consider a vacation away from home a vacation away from flossing—who packs that stuff, anyway? Well, Rachel does. So I started packing floss specifically for her whenever we go anywhere because she has to floss every night.

Having Rachel in my life has probably only improved my dental hygiene because she's so strict about it herself. She has taken oral hygiene very seriously since she was tiny. Because one time (when she was three) a dentist told her that was the best way to avoid ever having to see him again.

She's always had in-and-out visits with the dentist and has had several sets of bite-wings done over the years, always revealing pristine, cavity-free teeth. So on Monday, Rachel's eyes welled up with tears at the mere mention of "small cavity."

We set up a return appointment for today and I was looking forward to getting it out of the way because we've been to the dentist a lot this past month:

Sept 2: Dentist for both Benjamin and Miriam
Sept 5: Return appointment for Miriam
Sept 11: Return appointment for Miriam
Sept 12: Doctor appointment for Rachel
Sept 29: Dentist appointment for Rachel
Oct 3: Return appointment for Rachel
Oct 6: Dental study appointment for Benjamin (it's at the doctor's office, where I'll probably schedule Miriam's annual check-up (which probably won't happen until November or December because their schedule is notoriously full and I put off scheduling it far too long)).
Oct 22: Return-return appointment for Rachel

First Rachel had an appointment to get her fissure sealants done. Then after that she had another appointment to get her filling taken care of. I was geared up for a long day in the waiting room, with books and toys for Miriam and Benjamin.

Rachel bravely went back with the assistant to get her sealants done.

About fifteen minutes later they brought her back out to me. Her face was blotchy from crying and she was holding a cup of water.

"She threw up," I was told. "So we'll have to reschedule both her sealant appointment and probably the one for her filling. I'll go talk to the dentist about it."

While she was gone I talked to Rachel about what happened and she said that they sprayed something in her mouth that gave her a bad taste that made her gag. I've told you about her esophagus, right?

Gagging is dangerous with this child. So, yes, she threw up. But she's perfectly fine.

"Yeah," said the assistant when she came back. "We'll just have to reschedule you for another time."

"Oh, please don't!" I begged. "She's fine, I promise. She's not sick. She just has an underdeveloped esophagus. Her gag reflex is very easy to trigger so she throws up a lot. But she's feeling just fine."

I just...I had to drag my three little ones out of bed to make it to this (first of the day!) appointment. And now it seems dragging them out of bed was (again) pointless and I could have just let them sleep in (because remember how I dragged them all out of bed to go to preschool yesterday, which was cancelled—and remember how monstrous they've been behaving? They need a decent sleep-in. It's fall break!).

"I'll go talk to the dentist again," said the assistant.

But I'm really not sure she did. Because instead of her coming back out to talk to me the lady at the desk called me over to reschedule her appointments.

"We'll do it first thing in the morning," she said.

She said it like it was a treat. Do you know what it takes to get my three kids out the door before 8:00?

"Have her eat just a light breakfast," she said.

Because now a single bowl of cereal equates a feast? It was a small bowl, too.

"We'll have her do both appointments at once instead of breaking them up like we did today," she said.

Brilliant move. Not like I didn't beg for that when we originally scheduled these appointments.

"She seems to get nervous," she said.

Really? So the tears the past couple of appointments she's had here didn't clue you in?

"So, just try to talk to her about it, put her at ease," she said.

Nope. I'm done. Finished. There's nothing that "calms" her when there are people in lab coats involved. I gave up holding her down for vaccinations when she was five years old and, fortunately, by that time she'd already gotten most of her vaccines. It's Andrew's job now. I can't physically handle her anymore when someone is coming towards her with any sort of medical device in their hand.

I was a little bit furious that they wouldn't even consider doing her filling today (or try again for the sealants) because I really didn't want to go back in there since we'd basically been living there all month, anyway. (Because four appointments in one month totally equates living somewhere and I'm not exaggerating things at all).

Fortunately Andrew volunteered to take Rachel in for her return-return appointment (which I conveniently scheduled for a time when he could). He took Miriam for her first filling and held her while the dentist worked on her (and she was able to do the second one on her own, thank goodness, because I had Benjamin to wrestle with). Andrew says he thinks he can hold Rachel while they work on her. We'll see.

On the way home we decided to stop at the Museum of Life and Science and I'm glad we did. The kids had a blast playing for two good hours until they were hungry enough for lunch (even though it wasn't lunch time yet). Thank goodness we have a pass and can be admitted an hour earlier than the general public can because—yes!—we were out and about in the morning before the museum was technically open. 


  1. We paid $80 bucks out of pocket to put g on laughing gas so she wouldn't know they were giving her a shot. Money well spent. I've also had friends recommend going to a PEDs dentist. We never have but they say they are a lot more understanding and fun.

  2. Oh, how frustrating! Some of my online friends have been talking about the joys of visiting the dentist lately. One friend in Massachusetts said her children were not allowed to have a treat from the box because they had been scared and not done as well as the dentist office person thought a 3 or 4 year old should do.