So not-so-little L finally had his first dental check-up. Yes, he’s already 3. Judge me.
Dental visits were never fun for me. I don’t know that it is, for anyone. My first dentist was a relative, who didn’t have the lightest of hands and was known as Dr. Bunot. Back in the day, if something was wrong with your teeth, you were better off without it, milk teeth or not. I also wore retainers earlier on, in elementary, for the gap between my two front teeth, and later on in high school, to fix my canines which wouldn’t fit where they were supposed to. I always used to say that retainers were worse than braces, because I had to clean them, get my teeth loose again, only to shove back that plastic and metal plate back to straighten out those rebellious incisors. Think you’ve escaped your childhood dental trauma in your mid to late twenties? Think again. Don’t even get me started on the time I had my wisdom teeth extracted.
Given the less than fond memories of my own past dental visits, I was prepared for the worst for L’s first visit. A little bit of Facebook crowd sourcing led us to the Children’s Dental Clinic, where we experienced first-hand, the expertise of pediatric dentist, Dr. Malou Medrano.
First off, the toys in the lobby were enough for L to jump from my arms and come running into the clinic. Score! After filling up the required documents, Dr. Medrano came out to speak to me and brief me about how the session would go. With her questions and tips, you know that this woman has had her share of horror stories and nightmares. I liked that she reassured me that, if, this indeed would not be a pleasant experience for L, that he won’t really remember much from it. She surely knows that the trauma is not only for the kid, but also for the parent as well. After our little chat, she went on to make friends with L by playing hide and seek with him and singing a few songs! When it was time to enter the clinic, L happily followed inside, while holding one of the toys from the play area. Dr. Medrano then showed him the equipment: the space rocket chair that went up and down (the dentist’s chair), and Mr. Sun (the light). She made him feel at ease enough for him to lay his head on her lap while straddled onto my waist. Dr. Medrano and not-so-little L impressed me with how easy the entire procedure went! He got his teeth counted, cleaned and rid of sugar bugs and even got some fluoride! And at the end, Dr. Medrano even made some balloons with that tool that blows air, and made 2 balloons chase each other inside one big balloon! I have a feeling I was more impressed than L, because he just up and ran to the play area afterwards.
He was so entertained at the play area and refused to leave after several “5-minutes” and we ended up staying an entire hour more. Good thing Dr. Medrano didn’t have a patient yet, so we got to talking. Turns out she is an educator as well! She pointed out how mellow L was and how his vocabulary was quite impressive for his age. She said he looked like a very secure and confident child. This made me so happy! Not so much because it’s something to brag about, but mostly because, as a first-time mother, it’s nice to hear from someone else that your child is doing well and that yes, your parenting has a lot to do with it, and that you are doing a good job at it.
While I’m not one to let what others say affect me, you can’t help but listen to well-meaning, self-righteous people who dish out some unsolicited advice. And it makes you start doubting the decisions you make as a parent — even the most mundane of things like when to start school or when to have a first dental visit.. But like Dr. Medrano said, do what your gut tells you. You know what’s best for your child. I could’ve hugged her and I’m sure she would’ve been ok with that (she is such a lovely, warm person), but that wouldn’t be me. So this blog post is that “Thank you” hug I would’ve given her. I needed to hear that.