Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oral Report

On Monday, Kyle visited the dentist for the first time.  Initially I didn't think we had to take Kyle there at such a young age, but we ended up scheduling the checkup at the urging of my dentist, who is trying to pay for a new addition to his home.  Jennifer was due for a checkup, too, so we scheduled both for the same time.  The visit was an unsettling experience for the little guy, despite our attempts to make drills and tartar scrapers seem magical.  Kyle immediately was thrown off by the dentist's tiny waiting room, a one-foot-by-four-inch space that somehow managed to contain three chairs and a fake plant, but lacked all the things Kyle was used to seeing in a waiting room: toys, children's books, and diseased kids coughing and sneezing.  This room was dark, foreboding, and incredibly boring.  There weren't even kids magazines, not even Highlights (what kind of waiting room doesn't have Highlights?!?), so Kyle had to settle for the latest edition of Road and Track.

Kyle and I spent a good ten minutes or so in that tiny room, as the dentist chose to see Jennifer first.  Kyle sat on my lap and flipped the pages of the magazine, pointing out red cars, blue cars, and cars with turbocharged V-6 engines.  He was trying hard not to stare at the woman in the chair next to us, who was wearing a surgical boot on her right foot.  My son had never seen a surgical boot before, so I am guessing he concluded that the problem with the woman's foot must have been caused by the dentist.  He kept getting up on his own feet and pointing to the door, asking for his mommy and looking warily at the woman's crutches, wondering what kind of ankle-smashing procedure was in store for him.  The woman's attempts to be friendly with him didn't help, neither did her description of the invasive mouth surgery she was about to have.  Fortunately, the door to the waiting room opened, and a hygienist rescued us.
The dentist welcomed Kyle and me with a big smile and a handshake.  He's a very nice guy when you're not there for a filling.  He told me to sit down on The Chair, and to have Kyle sit on my lap.  The little guy was fine with this arrangement until Jennifer showed up and suddenly (and predictably) he wanted to sit on her lap.  I swapped with Jennifer and sat beside them.  The dentist began the checkup by waving a tiny camera near Kyle's open mouth, which projected a magnified view of Kyle's teeth on the monitor in front of him (our dentist office is very high-tech; root canals are done there with light sabers).  It didn't take long for Kyle to realize that the TV in front of him wasn't going to be showing Sesame Street.  Instead, he watched a horror show with giant teeth, that, for some reason, his parents and the so-called "tooth doctor" enjoyed.  Kyle sat there looking uncertain or terrified through most of the appointment, but he did not fight, even when the TV horror show ended and the dentist took over, telling Kyle to open wide before shoving a fistful of fingers into his mouth and stretching it.  Obviously, Kyle had avoided fighting out of fear that the dentist would retaliate by attacking his foot, much like he apparently did to the lady in the waiting room.

As the dentist peered into Kyle's mouth, he said our son's teeth were coming in nicely, but then asked if either of us had worn braces.  When Jennifer and I both said we did, the dentist's pupils turned into dollar signs.  I asked him whether that meant Kyle would need braces himself.  He said it was likely and then mumbled something to himself about a new sports car.  He then said Kyle's teeth are fine right now, and he'd be happy to see him again much later, when he's twelve and has teeth that look like Superman's Fortress of Solitude.  Until then, Kyle would have to see a pediatric dentist.  Our dentist says he knows one who's very nice and is sending four kids through college right now.  Considering this dentist is an hour away via subway, we might turn down the recommendation and find someone closer to home.

After the all-clear, and a high-five from the dentist, Kyle was set to go.  There were no problems with his teeth, and hopefully that will be the case for a long time.  The little guy was happy to leave.  So was Jennifer, who also passed her checkup.  My cleaning is scheduled for the end of the month.  I'll make sure to bring my own copy of Highlights.

No comments: