I had the boys at the dentist this week. I’m more afraid of the visit than they are. It’s become my nighttime refrain when I am trying to force them to brush their teeth well: “Now be sure to get every tooth. I don’t want Dr. Jane yelling at me!” And they certainly don’t know how good they have it: video games in the waiting room, sunglasses on for teeth cleaning, prize bags filled with several small toys. This place reeks of happiness. I could not even get them to leave after their cleaning. They ran back in the waiting room and hopped on the comfy chairs to play more games on the wall screens. Can you remember being dragged out of the dentist? How times have changed.
First off, I have more metal in my mouth than some hardware stores. I could set off certain detectors at international airports. And my childhood dentist was an older man who looked like Charles Nelson Reilly, who–get this–had horrible teeth! I still remember the dread of going to his office. His waiting room had a few ratty copies of Highlights magazine–where someone had already found and circled all the hidden objects–and a pretend animal circus cage. I’m not kidding. There was a wall with a lion painted on it and a platform where we could walk up and sit behind bars waiting to be called into the exam room. What a great way to get excited to see the dentist–feeling like a trapped animal. And I’m sure we got a new toothbrush, but I don’t remember being introduced to floss until I was at least ten. And when I did learn what it was, I thought to myself, “Oh, that’s only for rich people–like Saran Wrap.”
So, the boys are enjoying Disney World, I mean the dentist, and I have to fill out another medical history form for Hayden. They say they need an updated file, yet all the information is the same. What a waste of time. He’s six for Christ’s sake. And I hate these forms. Not just because I don’t know his social security number, but because some of the questions are so passive aggressive. The whole time I’m answering the list, I’m thinking of things I’d like to put down. The following are some sample questions from the actual form, with my thoughts in italics:
DENTAL HISTORY (please circle the appropriate answer as it applies)
Was your child bottle or breast-fed? Pam was a trooper and breast fed both boys. But, oh, the judgement for the women who puts down bottle fed. It’s like asking a mother to rate how much she loves her child: Somewhat Enough More Than You Love Yours
Did he/she take a bottle to bed/nap time? YES / NO No, but daddy sure needed a bottle or two to get up the nerve to let them “cry it out”. Paging Dr. Ferber.
At what age was he/she weaned to solid food? Still working on it.
Does your child or did your child suck his/her fingers/thumb or use a pacifier? YES / NO Older one fingers, younger one binky. Poor Hayden had to give up the binky because it was a sign to the world that his parents were bad, yet, Owen can still suck his fingers when tired or stressed. Apparently you can cut the nipples off the binkies, but you can’t cut the fingers off your child.
Does your child use a sippy cup other than at mealtime? YES / NO Yes, we like our furniture and boys spill everything. Of course, now we call them “sport bottles”. Yeah, sport bottles.
Does your child eat between meals? YES / NO My child eats more between meals than he eats meals. Piss off.
Does your child eat sweets, such as candy, soda, or gum? YES / NO LMFAO (first time I’ve ever typed that). Are you freaking kidding me? Does this question mean at the same time? Then, no. Otherwise, a big, fat John Mellencamp-ain’t-that-America YES to all of these essential food groups.
Will your child eat fresh fruits and vegetables? YES / NO Yes, thank God. Sometimes, it’s the only consolation I have for all the processed crap they consume in a day.
How does your child receive fluoride? θ Community water θ Drops, tablets, or vitamin θ Toothpaste θ Rinse or gel Hot pink bubble gum rinse–just another way we obliterate the essential nutrients of one thing (fluoride) with the chemical dyes and flavoring of another (neon pink “bubble gum”).
Have there been any injuries to teeth, such as falls, blows, chips, etc.? YES / NO If so, please specify Oh, you just HAD to go there. We WERE watching him get out of the pool. He slipped on the damn ladder rung and crashed his chin on the cement. I was just about over the guilt til YOU bring it up frigging nine months later! Bite me.
How long has it been since your child’s last visit to the dentist? Child–6 months; Dad–going on two years.
Were any dental x-rays or radiographs taken? YES / NO What’s the deal with X-rays again? Radioactive or not? I should know this stuff.
When does your child brush his/her teeth? θ Morning θ After eating any food θ After each meal θ Before bedtime Define “brush”? A toothbrush enters their mouth for a few seconds in the morning and again before bed. But if you’re talking a three-second, circular motion on each pearly white while at the same time sweeping away the plaque from the gumline–NEVER! And by the way, does anyone really brush their teeth after each meal? Even people who own Saran Wrap only brush twice a day, right?
Does your child think there is anything wrong with his/her teeth? YES / NO If I have any control about it, he better. He needs to fear the cavity creeps so he doesn’t have to endure a lifetime of drilling and filling like his father. Fear = Fewer Cavities.
“The boys are all finished, Mr. Trainer. Their teeth look excellent. Thanks for all your hard work at home.”
“No problem, Dr. Jane. No problem at all.”
“See you in six months.”
“Way to go, guys! Let’s go celebrate with one of those in-between meals meals.”