Last year Naomi went to her first dentist appointment. She had gone to Lili’s appointments and we had explained what would happen at her appointment. She didn’t protest, so we assumed the visit would be okay. The visit successfully showed us that she was scared of everything about the dentist’s office – laying back in the chair, having the light shine in her face, the equipment, etc.
We tried again 6 months later with only marginally more success than last time when she actually managed to sit in the dentist chair for almost 2 minutes.
For the last 2-3 months we have been coaching her on visiting the dentist. Lili has been telling her how much she likes going to the dentist. Seriously, Lili doesn’t just like going to the dentist, she actually gets excited about going and wishes she could go all the time. I’m sure that’s not normal. Of course she is also the kid that went at 3-years-old and the hygienist reported, “She is the best 3-yr-old patient I’ve ever had.” But I digress. We spent months explaining what would happen and even role-played. There was nothing else we could possibly do to get her ready for this appointment.
We arrived at the appointment this morning with Naomi declaring her excitement. However, after Lili went back for her teeth cleaning, I could see Naomi becoming more and more nervous. I was beginning to think that we would once again walk out of the office with no more success than we had 6 months and a year ago.
Finally, the hygienist came out to report “no cavities” for Lili and it was Naomi’s turn. We all walked back together. Lili and I sat next to Naomi. I held her hand. The chair went back and I helped put Naomi in position. As the hygienist reached up to turn on the light, Naomi flinched. I explained that she didn’t like the light, so she got her a pair of sunglasses to wear. She was thrilled!! Success!!!
The hygienist showed her the tool she was starting with and Naomi opened her mouth wide. Success again!!!
Now it was time to clean her teeth. The dental bib went on, she opened her mouth wide again and the cleaning began. Success!!!
Then it was time to rinse. We had talked about the rinsing and the suction, but I knew she didn’t completely understand. First the suction and learning how to wrap her mouth around the tube. Success!!!
Next the water rinse. I could see her body stiffen a bit, then she wrapped her mouth around the suction tube again and began to relax. She had some control over the amount of water in her mouth and that was what she needed. Success yet again!!!!
After the cleaning was done it was time to floss. Her mouth opened wide and the flossing began and ended with more rise and suction. Big success!!!
Then it was time for x-rays.
At this point we were instructed to step out into the hallway. She stayed in her chair and I actually had hope that she would get through this appointment. Oops!!! No x-rays. She kept pushing the little dodad (that’s a technical term for the little things you have to bite on so they can get the x-rays) with her tongue and no matter how much the hygienist tried to explain it to her, she just couldn’t do it. Oh well, maybe next time!!!
Then we went back for the full mouth x-ray. This one is much simpler. Just put your chin on the little table and bite on the straw. Apparently, that machine is much too intimidating for a 4-yr-old, because she was not going to step anywhere near that contraption. She was convinced it was going to hurt and explaining the process was not changing her mind. Guess we’ll try next year!!!
Still, in comparison to the last two visits, this one was very successful. She has clean shiny teeth and knows what to expect at the dentist. And to top it all off – No Cavities!!!!! I can only imagine what would happen if I had to take her in to have a cavity filled 😮