Our dentist is a nice, benign, conservative (in treatment) older gentleman. He's just the kind of dentist I needed when we moved here, after 12 years of inconsistent dental care on my part. It turns out his manner is pretty good for the kids, too. The boys like him, he's been responsive to concerns, doesn't over-react to the (occasional) less good visits, and doesn't try to push treatments or services unless he thinks we really, really need them. As someone who once experienced a vindictive hygienist who taught me the meaning of oral pain (I dared suggest she could have let me know how late she was running in over 90 minutes in the waiting room), I appreciate this.
This time, I was able to get her to open her mouth to let the hygienist count her teeth, but that was it. Again, the staff was understanding and accommodating, but I think they doubted my sincerity when I insisted that I had tried to prepare her for this.
Leaving the office that day, I wondered if I had over-prepared her or missed something. Friends assured me that this happens sometimes and said I just needed to keep trying. Patience and persistence, they said.
On the appointed day, we made our way to the dentist's office. Alfs went first, and the report back was good. Then it was Sunshine's turn.
At first, she exhibited the same reticence as she had in previous visits. The hygienist was patient and kind and showed her everything. Finally, Sunshine said she wanted to sit on my lap. Fine, I can do that.
I laid back in the chair with Sunshine leaning back on me and, lo and behold, she let the hygienist clean and polish her teeth and let the dentist poke around for issues without much fuss at all. We collectively decided, however, not to push our luck and give her the full flouride treatment. Next time.
I tried not to make too big a deal about my relief, but I was relieved. Sunshine spent the next two hours grinning widely to show off her shiny teeth.
Patience and persistence worked just fine, it turns out.
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