Zen and the Art of Dental Maintenance

Miss C got rock star treatment at the dentist this week.

Our new dentist office is like a day spa. There are current magazines, not five-year old dog-eared copies of Ladies Home Journal! A wall-mounted water fountain! Free mini bottles of water! These are too tempting to my greedy inner old crotchety lady, so I end up stashing at least one in my purse.

They have a special waiting area designed just for kids complete with a swank flat panel TV, a Game Boy, books, cool artwork, and funky zebra fabric ottomans. There are also TVs mounted above the examining chairs, which I especially love. I never opt for CNN or public television because I find that a good mindless entertainment show or Oprah is the best choice while I’m having tartar scraped from my molars.

The dental hygenist Miss C usually sees (this week was just her third cleaning ever) has moved so she saw a new hygenist. Miss J has a 7-year-old daughter and I could tell instantly that she knew how to layeth on the charm for a 5-year-old girl who might be a bit apprehensive. It didn’t even repulse me when she showed Miss C “Mr. Tickle” and “Mr. Thirsty” (the tooth polish tool and the saliva sucking tool) and encouraged her to brush the “sugar bugs” off her teeth both morning and night. I will raise my hand as the slacker mommy who hasn’t been very good about pushing the morning dental hygiene. Ahem. Thankfully she inherits her great set of teeth from the hubby and not from me.

Not only did Miss C get raspberry flavored polish applied by “Mr. Tickle,” but she got a new purple toothbrush and a bonus two prizes from the toy chest for enduring her first dental x-rays like a pro. I kept bracing myself for her to get frightened by the huge x-ray “arm” that circled around her while she stood, looking so little with the heavy protective vest on her, standing on a step stool. But she waited patiently and with a brave look on her face. And can I just say that I was not ready to see her 6-year molars on the x-ray film? I can barely handle the thought of her marching off to kindergarten next month, much less seeing her future adult chompers on film. I think she’s braver than me. Don’t tell her that, though, OK?

Miss C walked out with a blue helium balloon, a gift certificate for a free Chick-Fil-A kids’ meal, and melon-flavored fluoride treatment on her pearly whites.

Suddenly my years of dental and orthodontic work (retainers anyone?) seem like Medieval torture. Just like tales of listening to Prince and Duran Duran albums on my bedroom stereo will seem like ancient history to the girls, I’m sure they’ll laugh when I confess that I never got to watch the Disney Channel when I went to the dentist as a kid. And does anyone remember those chewy red tablets that would show where you had plaque build-up? Are those even legal now?

I have a dental cleaning scheduled next week. I wonder if I can request raspberry tooth polish? At the very least I’d like a balloon. I know I’ll walk out with a mini bottle of water stashed in my purse.


  1. Genna says:

    Do you think a round trip ticket from NY to TN is worth going to your dentist? Because I may have to switch. I mean, my dentist is a cutie, but I don’t get any gifts.

  2. Traci says:

    I would love to go to my kids dentist. They get to watch Finding Nemo on flatscreens. He doesn’t give out free Chick-fil-A, though. That is awesome. Is that weird that I get jazzed over the thought of free chicken nuggets?

  3. Renee says:

    Tell me about it! It’s actuall a fun experience to go to the dentist (if you’re a kid) these days.
    I wanna go back in time, only with the fun dentists.

  4. Bluegrass Mama says:

    I had a dentist I loved, even without TV or gifts. Unfortunately, he quit practicing. My new one is ok–I’m actually hoping he will retire soon and sell his practice to someone ready for the 21st century!

  5. Anne says:

    i know it! in my day going to the dentist was something that inspired fear. now? the young’ns love it! good for them and lemme know about the nail polish!

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