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The Titanic Was A Cruise Ship, Too

A year ago, Bryce went to his very first dentist appointment, and this particular dentist's office takes a Disney World approach to introducing kids to the joys of dental health. He was inundated with chipper, bright-eyed female hygienists asking him lots of interesting questions (do you brush your teeth every day?), taking pictures of the inside of his mouth (for fun!! isn't this fun?), letting him pick his own flavor of floss (bubble gum or blueberry?! wow, you get to pick your own!), all in effort to ease him into the luxury cruise ship experience that a dental cleaning can clearly be. By the time we met the dentist, Bryce was in a catatonic state, completely over-stimulated by the fast-paced questions and the goodie bags he clutched while he watched the blaring Nickelodeon station on the TV that was aimed directly at his face, right over the dentist chair. After the cleaning and exam was over, they whisked Bryce to the Toy Area and let him pick a toy and a balloon to take home with him. The cruise and brain-washing was complete. See you in six months, new initiate.

The next visit wasn't so much a cruise as a visit to the circus. There were sights to see and interesting things to consider, but not as many treats or comforts as our first time. He still got a toy and balloon at the end, but there was some flouride swallowing and a long wait for the dentist with a fuzzy TV...so, some less than stellar aspects to our visit dampened his enthusiasm a bit.

Yesterday was his third visit. This time, as the eerily calm hygienist, Sherrie, prepped him for his cleaning, he said, "This isn't my favorite part. My favorite part is at the end when I get a toy." Calm Sherrie chuckled and started the whirring, high-pitched, pulsating instrument slathered with that sandy fruit-flavored teeth-cleaning chemical. Whoah. Hold it right there. Who decided it was okay to use THIS thing? On the previous two visits, the cleanings were done with an innocent toothbrush and some special toothpaste. There was no warning to the kid with the insane gag reflex and TEXTURE ISSUES FROM HELL that he was about to undergo this medieval torture! In some attempt to cooperate, Bryce kept his head still, but his eyes filled up with tears, his fists were clinched into tight little balls, and he alternated between banging his knees and his heels together violently. Calm Sherrie used the water hose to rinse off the sandy residue, but Bryce is still trying to grasp the concept of using the suction hose, so he gagged as he tried not to swallow it, his face turning bright red and his neck craning. "Uh, he's choking!" I told Calm Sherrie. Without looking at me, she said, "that's just what they do, he's fine" with a tone that suggested Bryce was some oblivious dog yelping over shots at the vet: "Oh, he'll be fine, we'll get him a milk bone in just a sec, hon." After the cleaning was done, Bryce was still doing the "there's no place like home" heel-thumping, and it just didn't look right. "Do you need to go to the bathroom, Bryce?" He nodded his head violently, looking at me with panic in his face. I scooped him up and took him to the bathroom down the hall. When we got in there, he gave me an accusatory glare: "I do NOT like it here, Mom! I'm ready to go! And I don't want to come back here EVER AGAIN."

The jig is up, Dr. Smith and Calm Sherrie; you'll never indoctrinate Texture Boy into your Disney Cruise of a dental practice. Nice try, though. And thanks for the balloon.

As an entertaining side note, the dentist asked if I knew whether or not Bryce grinds his teeth in his sleep. He showed me where Bryce had been wearing his teeth down to teeny little nubs, and said, "He may have a little Type A personality going on here." I just chuckled and said, "Oh. You have NO IDEA." He responded with, "well, we won't speculate on where he got that."

Cheeky bastard. See if I bring any more kids on his creepy dental Cruise-Circus-Torture Chamber.

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