Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My 4 year old likes the dentist

He wants to go back.

Wil had his first dentist appointment. I decided to schedule one because his preschool has been learning about 'community helpers', including dentists. I also was noticing some plaque on his teeth, so thought it might be worth a try to get his teeth cleaned. A search of our dental insurance network indicated no pediatric dentists, so I set up an appointment with the family dentist Chris and I see.

Over the weekend, I started telling him that he was going to see the dentist on Monday. I didn't want to start too early, but a couple of days of prep seems to be about right. I explained that the hygienist would clean his teeth kind of like I do, only she has special tools. I told him he would need to sit still while she worked, but then his teeth would be nice and clean. He seemed to accept the information; his only worry was that he didn't want a bandaid. I reassured him that the dentist doesn't give bandaids.

At the dentist, he settled into the chair with little protest (he didn't want to leave the waiting room toys). Once he realized he would be able to watch TV (tuned to the Disney channel!) he quietly sat. The chair tilted back, allowing a good view of the TV over the chair.

The hygienist, Karin, counted his teeth. She showed him her scraping tool and explained what she was going to do. As long as she didn't block his view, he let her scrape away at the plaque on his teeth. She let him feel the air puff out of the hose before using it to clear debris off his teeth. Next she showed him the toothbrush, letting him see how it spun, and asked what flavor of toothpaste he would like. I helped him pick grape (I think the number of choices was a little overwhelming and was interrupting his TV watching.) He really liked the hose for rinsing. She squirted a little water on his teeth, then let him spit into the hose. Yep, did that a couple of times. Finally, she flossed his teeth.

Sam sat quietly on a stool watching the TV most of the time, occasionally asking to see what was going on. He liked the little cup that filled with water.

After Karin was done, she let him play with the big teeth and toothbrush while he waited for the dentist to come check his smile out. He had a lot of fun playing with the toothbrush. The dentist came in; he lay back on the chair and opened wide. The dentist declared his teeth in great shape with nice spacing.

Sam climbed up on the chair and got a 'ride' into position, opening his mouth to show Karin his teeth, once Wil was done. Then it was time to pick a treasure from the treasure chest. Both boys picked tiny bone dinosaurs.

Wil really likes the clean feeling of his teeth. After a snack this afternoon, he told me his teeth were dirty and he needed to 'go all the way back' to the dentist for another cleaning. He's asked a couple of times to go back. He was disappointed when I told him he had to wait 6 months. I asked why and he wants to play with the big teeth and toothbrush. But, if he wants to go back, having had a positive experience, that's great! If he wants to get his teeth cleaned so he can play with the big teeth and toothbrush, I'm not going to argue.

I called the dentist's office to let them know he had a really good experience and wanted to come back. I figure they probably don't hear that too much.

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