I took my daughter Millie for her first visit to the dentist on Saturday – and wow, did that turn out to be a slightly stressful experience. Looking back now maybe I was being a bit naïve about the whole thing but I was definitely brought back down to earth, and fast.
I was so confident that my little girl would stroll in there with me and do whatever the dentist asked her to - okay, maybe not sit up in the chair on her first visit but definitely open her mouth wide to let him have a look at her teeth (I’m not totally sure why but I think this trip to the dentist has something to do with some sort of subconscious agenda going on in my head that she needs to have a full MOT for starting school. I also called our GP to make sure she has definitely had all of her vaccines and I brought her to the hairdresser to have her hair trimmed). Yes, I have been in full preparation mode lately.
But I was basing the success of this visit on the fact that she has been to the doctor’s now several times over the last couple of years and she has always been very co-operative, as good as gold. But this day was not going to be the same good news story.
It was all fine right up until the moment we actually walked into his office/room/den of despair (I’m sure that would be Millie’s description anyway). Even as we sat in the waiting room filling out a medical history form for her she was doing a little hop-skip dance beside me and humming a tune as if all was well with the world, completely luring me into a false sense of security. So when we were called, up jumped I off the couch taking my little girl by the hand, confidence oozing out of my pores, the mother who has it all wrapped up. Easy peasy Mill, we will be out of here in ten minutes.
But as soon as he turned to speak to her, I could see her whole body begin to freeze. She turned towards me with her head hanging down, completely ignoring the fact that he was talking. I was slightly alarmed by this but still didn’t panic. I thought I could put her sitting on my lap, give her a little squeeze and plenty of reassurance and she would be fine. But no, he took about two steps closer to her holding that implement (you know the one dentists’ use with the little round mirror on the end?) and she started to roar. I mean roar crying. Now I was starting to panic because if nothing else I was thinking everyone else in the building can hear her now. I’d say people out on the street took a side glance. She has never, ever done anything like this before. We have been to the doctors before where she has had to have the back of her throat checked or her ears examined and she has been completely fine with it. So what was going on? Why all of a sudden the big tears?
The lovely dental nurse went running out to get her some stickers and my very nice and very patient dentist continued to try and reassure her that he wasn’t going to you know, strangle her. He just talked to her in this calm and collected voice and assured her that all he wanted to do was have a quick look at her teeth.
Eventually, I managed to quieten her down and I got her to listen to me, as I knew she would listen to me a lot faster than to him. I even convinced her to open her mouth and she let me pull her gums back slightly to let him get a peek at her teeth. At this point, he nodded and said that would be enough for today. I was relieved and she was returning to her normal self, looking slightly pleased now because she had a princess sticker stuck proudly to her t-shirt.
I thanked him and paid quickly as I was still a bit taken aback by the whole experience. We made another appointment for six months’ time for her next check-up, hopefully by which time everyone will have forgotten about the somewhat, slightly traumatic experience that was her first visit to the dentist. Phew!