The kids had a dentist appointment yesterday. Just a cleaning, but I was a complete nervous nelly inside. For the past two weeks I have been anxiously watching their appointment loom closer and closer. Once we got there and they were both sitting in their respective chairs with their respective hygienists I casually asked, "Oh, is Dr. Dentistman not in today?" Obviously I have changed his name, although if that was your last name you would SO have to be a dentist when you grew up, right? When I heard he was out I heaved a sigh of relief. I realized that I wasn't nervous about the kids being uncomfortable or not cooperative at their appointment, but having to talk to the dentist about their teeth. This is the same dentist that I have been going to since I was 5. Dennis has been going to him since he was 5. My entire family. He's not a mean man or anything, although my father would complete disagree and dislikes him with a passion. (So much so that he took his and my mothers dental records from the last 25 years and got the hell out of there.) Its more that he is a dental snob. It seems as if he likes to work on teeth that are well, perfect. If you have bad teeth or multiple problems, then you kind of get the impression that you have somehow committed a mortal sin. When it comes to the kids he just makes me feel . . . . inadequate somehow. Like I don't give their oral health nearly the attention it rightly deserves.
"Who has been flossing these children's teeth?" he asked me last time.
"Ummm, that would be me." Sure, its true that sometimes the whole flossing thing falls by the wayside. I mean, as mothers we have so many millions of things to take care of, the daily flossing/fluoride rinsing routine many times gets pushed to the back burner. To be honest I pretty much let them floss and brush their own teeth. I supervise, kind of. Most of the time. OK, sometimes not at all. OK, and sometimes they don't floss. Or forget the rinse. Or its late and I'm tired and they're whining and I don't even make them brush. You caught me. It's true! There have been whole weekends gone by when I don't think they've picked up a brush. There at the dental office I sometimes want to scream at him "don't I have enough to feel guilty about, do you have to add the threat of impending cavities due to lack of flossing to my list!"
But Jack and Abbey thus far have great teeth. No cavities. So get off my back Dr. Dentistman. And even if they didn't, even if their teeth were filled with cavities, it still wouldn't make me a bad mother, dammit!
The only real reason we still go there is because of the dental hygienists. The women who do the actual cleaning of your teeth. The two that work on their teeth are so great and wonderful and fabulous with them that my kids actually look forward to going to the dentist, which is just insane. Who likes to go to the dentist? Since they haven't had any cavities or needed any work done, the only time they see the actual dentist is when he pops in at the end of their cleanings to say hello, commiserate with the hygienist, and to show me how I should be properly flossing their teeth, because obviously I'm doing it wrong.