Doing it wrong – Dentist’s Office Version

A few weeks ago, I spent an afternoon at the pediatric dentist. Based on the crowd in the waiting room, the staff was working with a full schedule of small, wiggly children. My personal goal was to keep Evan calm and cooperative. Sitting still is not his forte. In short time, we were called back for x-rays and cleanings.

Before we even made it to the exam room, I could hear the anguished whimpers of a frightened child. Stepping in the room, Amy and Evan stood and stared at the child begging to leave as tears streamed down her cheeks. “I don’t wanna be here. Please let me go home.”

Amy hopped in her assigned chair while Evan sat motionless for x-rays. The usual banter in the room was non-existent as everyone stared at the sobbing child. The mother of the terrified child sat at her side, telling her to hush. The hygienist silently tried to do her job with an unwilling patient while the dentist sternly told the crying child that she needed to cooperate.

I tried to distract my children with chit-chat until the stressed hygienist was ready to clean their teeth. Evan sat silently, but his eyes were fixed on the scene that everyone was aware of, but nobody could help. Amy’s forehead was scrunched up with worry.

The dentist didn’t have the girl scheduled for a mini-visit to a nearly empty office to gradually work her up to an anxiety-free cleaning. He made it clear that her next visit would be scheduled in the hospital under general anesthetic. The hygienists couldn’t do their job and they looked like they were seriously concerned the child might bite them. The mother was exhausted, frustrated and overwhelmed. The child looked like she just wanted someone to pick her up and hold her tightly.

In what felt like a slow motion train wreck, I watched the mother’s “Hush now” become “shhhh” and then a hard slap on the girl’s leg. Shhh, slap. Shhh, slap. Over and over she hit the child while everyone in the room pretended not to notice. I sat paralyzed and did nothing. Several minutes or a few seconds later, I couldn’t tell how much time had passed in the swirling vortex of emotions that surrounded one scared child, the dentist said that they were done trying.

I finally found the courage to speak. “She’s going to …” I spoke too late. The girl sat up and projectile vomited several feet across the room. The hygienist stood up and jumped backwards as she shrieked, “Get her in the bathroom.” The mother scooped up the girl and nudged her toward the bathroom as the vomiting continued like an angry volcano.

The hygienists immediately gathered in a corner for some kind of impromptu meeting. The one who must have drawn the short straw came back and slowly gathered cleaning supplies. Suddenly, the girl’s mother reappeared and mopped up everything with the girl’s new-looking winter coat. The hygienist stood and watched as the mother ruined the coat that her hysterical and sick child would need in the cold February air. In a flash, the mother was gone and the room was silent.

Everything about the visit felt wrong. I should have left the appointments happy about my cavity-free children. Instead, we raced to get out of there and away from the chaos. I just wanted to hug my children. Tightly. If you are looking for a more pleasant experience please visit denture services weeki wachee fl.

5 thoughts on “Doing it wrong – Dentist’s Office Version

  1. I bet this dentist office is in a neighborhood with the initials WH? If not, they are very similar!

  2. I cannot even begin to tell you how this sad story makes me want to hug them too! (And also hug my sweet Dallas dentist for making my visits so easy and carefree.) It wasn’t until I was an adult that I developed dentist-anxiety (and while living in Knoxville!), something for which I am currently paying dearly in a variety of ways to correct.

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