Trips to the Dentist

I know that I've talked about Katie Wynn's fear of the dentist on here before, and this is just another quick post so that I can remember this checkup.  She is at the 5 and a half year mark and I've been taking her to the dentist every 6 months since she turned 3, and she has yet to actually have her teeth cleaned by the hygienist.  Partly because her first visit was so traumatic (pediatric dentist - got pinned down - sticky fluoride everywhere - etc) and partly because she just has this irrational fear of all things teeth, dentist, hands-in-mouth related.  So anytime a checkup is approaching, I start brainstorming what I can do to make it a successful visit.

This time around, I decided to take Thomas with me on my checkup day so that I could take pictures of him getting his teeth cleaned to show Katie Wynn.  This was his first official time getting his teeth cleaned and he was SUCH a champ.  He was scared at first and wouldn't go at the same time as me (in a different room), but they were able to wait and do him after I finished and he was perfectly fine as long as I could be in the room.  Coming from my experiences with Katie Wynn, I was blown away by how good he was and how EASY the visit was. 


He was not a big fan of the fluoride being painted on at the end and I totally get it - it's sticky and texture-y and tastes weird.  I had to really work to get half a smile after the dentist, but toys from the prize chest and a trip to McDonald's before going back to school definitely helped.


Katie Wynn's appointment was scheduled for the next week, also at my dentist's office.  (We ditched the pediatric dentist in town after two visits, hoping that going with me would be better.)  Leading up to the visit, we practiced playing dentist every night.  We looked at all of the pictures of Thomas and watched the videos I had taken.  We prayed about it and really talked through every step of it.  And still, this face shows how the visit went down:


There were so many tears.  So much fighting and bribing and begging just to get her halfway into the seat.  She did let the hygienist and dentist both look at her teeth and count them, but girlfriend hopped out of that chair and hid in the corner as soon as she saw that spinning toothbrush come out.  I can't even begin to really describe how frustrating and stressful and embarrassing and sweaty these visits are for me.  And I feel so helpless because nothing I say makes her feel less afraid.  It frustrates me and breaks my heart all at the same time.

We have known for a while that she has two teeth where the enamel didn't form correctly in utero.  They will definitely have to be fixed at some point but we've just been watching them as best we can for now.  During his very short peek into her mouth, the dentist noticed a cavity in a back molar and thought it might be good to have it looked at as well as the two with bad enamel.  He referred us to a different pediatric dentist that would have the tools and equipment to work on a terrified child.  The idea was tossed around that she may need to be put to sleep and this mama nearly lost sleep from worrying over it.

Two days later, we made our way to Katie Wynn's new pediatric dentist.  This was the first time ever that Matt has accompanied us to the dentist - we were all hopeful he would be the magic trick to taking her fear away!  

Sadly, she was still terrified so I don't have any action pictures since it was an all-hands-on-deck situation to get her to open her mouth (without scarring her for life), but here is a big smile after her teeth had officially been cleaned for the first time ever!


We learned after these last two visits that part of her fear was coming from what the toothpaste would taste like - and this dentist office won her over with flavorless toothpaste.  Hallelujah! The hygienist was incredibly patient and sweet with her.  Matt and I did have to go through all of our bag of tricks, but I think now that the first time is behind us, she'll hopefully do much better!

After the cleaning she was feeling brave enough to do one of the xrays.


Not quite brave enough to do the other one, but that's ok.  Baby steps!

The best part of the whole visit was that after the dentist examined her, he said we could wait a while on fixing the bad enamel teeth and we could just watch the cavity a little longer.  YAY!  This was such a huge answered prayer.  It is still something that will have to be addressed eventually, but I'll put it off as long as we can!

I know this has become a long post for a silly trip to the dentist - something everyone does twice a year! - but I'm just so proud (and relieved!) of my girl for finally getting through that fear.  I think she was pretty proud of herself too.  She couldn't wait to tell Thomas all about her new dentist and how it's where she goes now.  :)