My dentist is awesome. I say this after a really long struggle to find a dentist. I’m not sure why it took me so long to hit up the toolbox that has been my stronghold for 12 years, but I finally asked a former rugby teammate to recommend someone to me (this particular teammate just finished dental school in Pittsburgh). I had a wonderful, positive experience with Dr. W and, when we got to talking about Miles, decided to bring him in rather than seek out a pediatric dentist.
What transpired was a phenomenally positive experience. I need to share! When I opened the office door, the staff immediately hopped up and greeted Miles. They handed him a clipboard and crayons for his “paperwork” while I filled out his medical history/insurance info.
Then, they took him on a tour of the office, even let him see the lab where they make teeth. I had no idea dental offices included labs where they make teeth. We got to see some pretty gnarly impressions and some dentures in progress…very neat. I think grownups should get this tour, too. I digress.
Dr. W. has one patient room reserved for kids, and she has the walls hung with funhouse mirrors, children’s artwork, and each pediatric patient gets a tooth poster with his/her name on it to hang on the wall. Between all of this and the bin full of sunglasses, Miles was feeling mighty comfortable with Dr. W. when it was time to hop in the chair for a ride.
As I sat in the corner trying not to intervene while she asked him to do things, I was so impressed with the way she spoke to Miles. She used the same tone of voice she uses with adults, explaining that she was going to put on some gloves and a mask. Then she gave him gloves and a mask to hold, to see if he wanted to check them out.
Then, before he knew what was happening, Miles had his mouth open and Dr. W. was using the mirror to examine his teeth.
She also brushed his hand, then brushed his teeth. He loved it so much he kept asking her to brush his teeth again and again and again.
So she got bold and asked him if she could use the pick thingy to “tickle his teeth.” He said, “Sure! Yeah!” and let her scrape plaque from his teeth. By this point, Dr. W. acknowledged that Miles was having a uniquely positive response to his teeth cleaning (apparently she’s never had a 2-year-old let her use the pick before).
But she also said that at this age, the important part of the visit is getting him to view the dentist positively. Mission accomplished! He let her rinse his mouth and he loved giving “Mr. Thirsty” a kiss while she suctioned the toothpaste out of his mouth.
And then she let him choose from a bin of prizes that included both a tractor and a Jeep, so when he asked if he could come to her house, nobody seemed surprised.
I’m really proud of Miles for cooperating so well at the dentist, but I am super excited to find a dentist with such a wonderful way of treating pediatric patients.