Well, that was awful…

…or rather, the worst 30 minutes of my life… what deserves that title, you ask? Luca’s first dentist appointment…. yes, it was that awful as in I never, ever want to do this again.

Anticipating that this might not be the most fun event for an almost 2-year old, I chose a “pediatric” dentist (note the quotation marks as I am officially stripping this doctor of that title). Our pediatrician (who we like a lot!) recommended this dentist so I called for an appointment last week. Since we don’t have dental insurance (don’t get me started…), I inquired about the rate and as it seemed reasonable, scheduled an appointment for today. We (as in me and both kids) arrived, played a bit in the waiting room, and met the doctor who came to introduce herself. She was nice, yes, but it would have probably helped her case if she had taken the time to properly introduced herself to her patient rather than shuffling us into the examining room right away. Once in the examining room, Luca realized that his fun playtime was going to be over and started to look a little nervous… I talked with him a bit and thought we might have some get-to-know-you time with the dentist, perhaps play a game to show us around the (scary-looking) room. Perhaps get one or two toys out, turn on the TV to distract the young patient but no…. no fun, no games, absolutely ZERO toys in the office (seriously, I mean…come on…you’re supposed to be a pediatric dentist?) and no TV to divert attention. Needless to say, I knew that it could only go downhill from there and no, the cars and trains I tagged along didn’t help either…

Ah, I thought, surely she must have a special skill up her sleeve to calm her increasingly more nervous looking patient so that he can cooperate and open his mouth for her to peek inside…uhm … no, no such luck. As in not.at.all…. Rather, we were instructed to both sit on that awful and scary looking chair – Luca on my lap. Good strategy I thought, but Luca was already getting so worked up that he pretty much lost it and more or less flipped out (I have never seen him like this and this was before the dentist actually touched him….honestly, I don’t blame him one bit, I mean – new and scary looking room, a not so friendly doctor who is wearing a mask, new people and did I mention, absolutely ZERO distractions). So, nature took its course and he screamed, wailed, yelled, sobbed – all at the same time at which point the dentist took off his sneakers so he couldn’t kick her and told me that I needed to physically restrain him as his age group was just hard to work with …. uhm … I wish I could report that I had a good response for that completely insensible comment but our conversation was in Portuguese (even though she spoke some English….again, don’t get me started)… so I wasn’t quick enough and essentially at a loss for the right vocabulary to respond.

It proceeded to go more and more downhill from there. Highlights include a now wailing child who was wildly kicking and screaming; a dentist who could have cared less about Luca being afraid and upset and continued to force his mouth open and inject water and poke around in there without giving him (or me for that matter) any notice of what was about to happen; a baby who had had enough of the drama and started screaming herself (again, who can blame her?); and me yelling at everyone in the room to just stop what they were doing (I literally said “we all just need to stop” – definitely in English and German, not so sure if I ended up saying it in Portuguese but I guess I was loud and furious enough to talk over the awful noise the little teeth cleaning device made in Luca’s mouth so that the dentist finally stopped what she was doing). After consoling Luca and taking a much needed break, we of course needed to finish what had started (although I seriously contemplated leaving) which as you might imagine, it was just as pleasant as round #1…. in any case, we came through and it all ended eventually (after what seemed like an eternity).

As we were wrapping the visit up (Juliana had calmed down; I dried most of the tears off Luca’s face and gave him one of his beloved goiabinha cookies – yes, I gave him a sugar filled cookie in front of the dentist and I didn’t care one bit about that look she gave me), it was time for me to pay the bill. All doctors’ visits here are paid in cash so being prepared as I was, I brought the quoted fee with me only to find out that she was now charging TWICE the rate I was quoted because….I kid you not…she used a fluoride treatment to clean his teeth. Yeah because that apparently came up unexpectedly during a first pediatric visit … Well, I didn’t have enough money so I took my kids and left (no worries, I arranged to pay later so we didn’t just “clean and ditch”) but talk about an upsetting doctor’s visit. I am still decompressing and the visit was over 4 hours ago…

Luca recovered by the time we came home and let us brush his teeth tonight without complaints… needless to say we will not be going back to this doctor anymore and here I thought that pediatric dentists were supposed to lessen the anxiety of these kinds of dreadful visits… Ok, enough of my whining – now it’s time for the real wine so I can fully decompress from this awful experience…

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8 thoughts on “Well, that was awful…

  1. That is horrible! We had a really bad experience with a dentist with one of our kids too. We finally found a good pediatric dentist and the experience was night and day. I hope you find someone good.

  2. Oh no! We took A to his first dentist visit when he was almost 3, since our ped didn't see the need until A could understand what was going on and fully communicate. Also, I don't really recall any cleaning — I think he just counted his teeth and checked for cavitites/decay. I hope Luca (and mommy) are all recovered now!

  3. sounds like a complete disaster. We will bring a little specific mirror for Luca to get accustomed to it. And Vienna is not so far………….. And of course always welcomed when in good old Germany!!Hope you recovered all. See you soon.

  4. What a nightmare! I know of terrific pediatric dentists in Seattle, Beijing and Jordan, so if you're ever in one of those places, let me know. Poor little guy… and poor you!

  5. This sounds terrible! Even I, as an adult, appreciate a good distraction at the dentist's office (thank goodness for an iPod) – so I can only imagine how terrible this must have been for you and Luca. Hopefully you won't have to visit another "pediatric" dentist during your time in SP!

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