Friday, March 29, 2013

Non-pediatric dentists for children

Sienna and Jonah had dentist appointments this morning with a new dentist.

A new dentist?   Oh golly, why do you have a new dentist?

I'm so glad you asked, because I was going to tell you all about why regardless, so it's great that your interest is piqued. 

Clearly we weren't using our wisdom teeth when we picked our dental plan during open season last year, because only after signing up did we discover that the "really cool new policy available through Blue Cross Blue Shield" I tried to stay awake to hear all about from Mr. Money Saver had an extremely basic cleaning only dental part that isn't accepted by "pediatric" dentists.  

You see we had a pediatric dentist that we absolutely adore and sent no less than 5 referrals to their office that same month as a result.  One of the two dentists there is honest to goodness named Dr. Beanstock.  How can you not be a pediatric something with a name like that!   She maybe creeps up to 4'10" in high heels too. This lady is adorable to parents and children alike.  She's gentle, animated, fun, fast and most importantly has a really kid friendly and desirable to visit office wonderland.

With that rave review, can you tell why we were more than a little skeptical about leaving our magical Beanstock??

Yup, and so then you also probably figured that we might not have been "as" satisfied with our new experience this morning?

How could we have been?   Fortunately, a new "Dental Depot" opened up 3 minutes and 20 seconds away from our house (which was barely 2 minutes closer than the Magical Beanstock). 

The Dental Depot had potential with a huge train engine, water tower and RR crossing sign in the front courtyard thingy of their building that my boys had been jumping out of the carseats over every time we drove by for the past few months.  Plus, it's for adults and children.  So could be a good fit... maybe a one stop shop for the whole fam? 

Within the first 2 seconds of meeting Jonah's hygienist two things glaringly stood out to us as parents:

1)  The maaaaybe 23 1/2 years old male dental hygenist's perfectly tweezed eye brows and meticuloulsy geled faux hawk. 

2)  That previously described Dental Beiber had likely cleaned 0 children's teeth in his extended career. 

We're not exactly expert hygienist profilers, but after Dental Beiber kept repeating instructions to our 3 year old son like:

"Please step into the panaromic xray machine, clamp down on the probe directly in front of you and remain still until the scan has stopped."
As tempting as it was to silently enjoy D.B.'s "age appropriate" instructions, Daddy and I realized we were going to have to interpret just a teensy bit if this was going to go anywhere.

"Ok, Buddy, you get to bite on that stick has hard as you can like a big, huge shark!!
  But don't move or let go until you hear the beep." 

Done and done. 
We finally headed back to the cleaning space, section, cubby thingy (no clue what they're called) and Jonah happily plopped himself on the outstretched chair ready to rock and roll!   Things weren't going so badly until Jonah realized this place didn't have TVs on the ceiling, DB didn't have a pig snout or a cat whiskers on the front of his mask and his gloves tasted nothing like yummy fruit or bubble gum.  
Strike 2.
Fortunately, Jonah was placated with the "dude sun glasses" he got to wear and the wooden trains we let him hold. 

Thinking that we were heading in the right direction I left the area thingy to go check on Sienna one wall over.

Yup, just as I thought.

Which was very lucky because I hear Dental Beiber asking Daddy and Brother to step out of the room for the next set of xrays. 
Excuse me?  Next set? 
Was the panaroma set not enough for a 3 year old, becasue they were at the other place?  
I exchange glances with Daddy as we hear DB behind the wall alone struggling with Jonah once again. 
"Now we are going to take some pictures of your molars.  I'm going to have you open your mouth for me to insert this covered xray film along your gums.  You have to hold very still and keep your mouth closed to keep the film in place while I stand back here with your parents and take a quick picture."
Riiiight. Did you read on his chart that he was only 3? 
In case he didn't, we would've thought that Jonah's immediate attempt to get up the second the guy walked behind the wall loudly saying,  "I don like dis.  I wanna home wif Mommy n Daddy"  might have suggested speech development circa preschool age.
But no.  Such clues definitely didn't pass through the hair gel. 
DB kept on beating that dead horse until poor Jonah was pushed to his Jonah-max (never a good sight to see). 
Strike 3.
Finally Daddy said, "Sorry, he's just not going to do those kinds of xrays, let's move on before he won't let you clean his teeth."
Sienna has been long since done with her cleaning and exam, so now the entire brady bunch is in the tiny exam space trying to get Jonah excited to lay back on the boring chair.
Jonah finally agreed to sit down if I could sit next to him. I don't blame the little guy.  He probably knew he would be in big trouble without an interpreter close by!  
All was back on track.  Daddy took the other kids to play on the huge train outside.  We were calmly underway and gettin' some baby teeth polished up.  

Jonah was still unsure every time DB said something to him and would hilariously just lift up his sun glasses and stare at him like he was totally clueless. Which was pretty true.  

Forutnately, D.B. liked the animal analogy thing we used back at the panaromic xray machine and tried adapted that into his script. 

Although, his well-intentioned improvisions still weren't exactly appropriate for the targeted audience...
"I'm going to need you to open wide like a snake."
Jonah sticks out his tongue and spits slither sounds at him. 
What cartoons that we might have ever shown our 3 year old son illustrate snakes opening wide to eat their prey?   None.  Snakes are for slithering and hissing at this age.   
"Close for suction, please. Like a fish."
Uuuuuh, do what?  What is a suction?
Forgive my aquatic ignorance, but do fish close for suction?  What do fish suck? I missed Dr. Beanstock's simple words to "give Mr. Thirsty kisses."
"Turn your head like an owl toward me."
Well.... this is a better use of age appropriate and recognizable animal functions... slightly better... but Jonah still wasn't enthused.   I hate to critize well-intentioned attempts at connecting with your toddler patients, but he probably could've toned it down to "turn your head this way."  
All said and done, Jonah did so great I couldn't wait to scoop him up and tell him how proud I was that he made it through an HOUR of all that business!  

No cavities for either kiddo and lots of compliments on how well they seem to brush. 
I did like the actual dentist who said he had young kids these ages.  He did a pretty good job with both of them on the exam and got Jonah to stop asking for Dr. Beanstock when he offered him a new tooth brush along with blue t-shirt with a "Dental Depot" train on the front. 
Blue, trains and new Toy Story themed tooth brushes was a slightly redeeming wrap up to conclude a decent overall experience at a general dentist cleaning for children or adults. 

But we're still going with the conclusion that we will be upgrading our plan during open season.   
Call me frivolous, but imma gonna go out on a limb and say we have the family to warrent pediatric dental coverage....


  1. When choosing the right dentist for you, it is important that you take your time and find someone that you can trust, that you are comfortable with, and that can provide you with the services you need.

    children dentists

  2. No cavity for both of them is always a good news. I hope they will maintain such a feat as they grow up. Also, I’m glad that everything ended well, even if you didn’t have an impressive start with your new dentist. That must've been a relief for all of you.

    Brent @ Herrin Pediatric Dentistry