Putting the Childhood Dental PTSD Behind Me

I remember my early childhood dental visits as if they were only yesterday…the dentists name was Dr. Karet (I think that’s how it was spelled) and it was pronounced like the vegetable so as I child I heard the following “Dr. Carrot”. Dr Carrots office smelled like alcohol and old man and it had that 1970’s polyester style wall paper plastered over its walls. Everything about the dental office screamed at me as a kid that I needed to run in the opposite direction and I tried, I swear I tried. I fought tooth and nail with the dentist and his assistant and they fought back, HARD…I wriggled, screamed, shook that chair but they proceeded to try and hold me down to get the dental procedure done and I vowed that I would not go back there……..ever. Lucky for me my mother found a new dentist, a child friendly dentist, called a pediatric dentist….and I went to him and somehow got over my fear, until that dreaded day when I was in his office at 21 years old and he said the words I knew would one day come, but still they were shocking as ever….”Melissa, you need to find a new dentist….you’re not a child anymore, we can no longer carry you as a patient here.” Crap.

I spent the next couple of years in a sort of dental limbo and I did not get my teeth cleaned for several years until I decided it was time, flipped opened the yellow pages and looked for a dentist in my area. I have since seen Dr. Mann over the years and get my teeth cleaned without issue 3-4 times a year with my most favorite hygenist Kim…she’s the best, I swear to it. I always knew the time would come for Jacob to have his turn at the dentist, and I vowed that I would make it a pleasant experience for him, that I wouldn’t let anybody hold him down no matter how rotten his teeth were, that if he cried we’d call it a day and try again another day….but he met the experience without fear, climbed up into the chair, opened his mouth, and let KIm “have at it”. I’m not kidding when I say that he was a totally cool cat and the only objection he had was that he did not like the taste of the tooth paste and well…..that’s because it was mint!!! The flavor of choice for kids at the dentist is bubble gum but when Kim offered it to him, he turned it down because the idea of bubble gum flavored tooth paste was so foreign to him – he has no clue what bubble gum is really.

I am so happy that his first experience at the dentist was pleasant for him and that years from now he won’t look at me and say “Mom, remember that time you traumatized me at the dentist?” In the end he learned that he had 20 marvelously taken care of teeth, no cavities, and a spanking new tooth brush…..Kim asked him if she could take his picture to put on the No Cavity smile wall and he happily declined as he hopped off the chair.

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