Brusha, brusha, brusha ….

We are pretty good about dragging our kids to the dentist very six months for a check up.   We do it on a Saturday morning and our appointment is usually at 9am.

I am not even going to describe what it is like to get three kids up , dressed, prepped, in the car and to a dentist in the middle of Cape Town by 9am on a Saturday morning.   It is as bad as you imagine it will be, and then some.  But I make the appointment religiously and we stick to it.

Partly because Discovery covers the visits and secondly because I would prefer my kids not to have fillings and other things to deal with down the line.  When Connor was a wee mite I read so many stories of kids who had to have their teeth pulled, and there were several kids at his school who had rotten black teeth – it was like a scene from Victorian England.

When I was younger the only time we went to the dentist was to have several rather large injections into my gum following by a very unpleasant filling – it was hellishly traumatic.

But then there was the two hour spell where you face hung on your shoulder, and at some point you ignored all advise and ate something because you were ravenous, but because you could not feel your face you ended up eating half the inside of your cheek with your cheest-and-onion chips.  Yes, good times, I bet you are remembering now.

I have several fillings that were done when I was a young child – all in primary school – so either my younger years were filled with too much cavity-causing sweets, or poor dental hygiene.  It is probably the latter .

The result is that every dentist visit I attend – even the oral hygienist which pretty much guarantees no fillings – fills me with fear and trepidation.  I hate being there, I drag myself kicking and screaming into their offices.

I lie in the reclining chair, wound as tight as a spring.  I am sweating in fear, and I just want this to be over.  I count when I am trying to endure something, I count a lot at the dentist.  I think most people would opt for a pap smear (which reminds me I need to book one) than a dentist visit.

On Saturday we all traipsed off to our ever efficient dentist.

We arrive en-masse and all go the oral hygienist, who also does x-rays and a good cleaning.  We all go to the dentist, who really looks at what the oral hygienist has x-rayed, pokes around a bit with his metal stick and gives you a 3 minutes pep talk on why you should floss.

Ah flossing, my pet hate.  I have decided to stop lying to the dentist that I actually floss, and also to not say “okay will do” when they give me the flossing-talk – which they always do.

My opening gambit with the oral hygienist is:

“Listen, I don’t floss, I can lie to you and say I do, but you will know I am lying.  You are going to tell me how I should floss, and demonstrate how important it is, and I will nod sagely and agree, then I will leave here and not floss.  So let’s avoid that awkwardness, and accept I do not floss.”

I find honesty is actually the better policy.  Just for the record I do that little speech only when my kids are out of ear shot.

Connor has been going to the dentist since he was about three, Georgia has been going since she was a wee thing. Isabelle is one and already has had two dentist visits, though she has sat in reception and played with the toys for both visits, so technically they do not count, but next visit we are going to get her into the chair with her pearly whites.

The dentist means sticker and maybe a cool blown-up latex glove with a pen face drawn on it.  Neither of my kids have the fear that I have of dentist.

Neither of my kids have any tooth decay either.

At the last visit the dentist showed Connor how important it was to floss.  So he has now joined the ranks of those who floss.  Which I am quite thrilled with, as he ain’t learning that from me.

Leave a comment


  1. reluctantmom

     /  May 31, 2010

    Yes, the dentist indicated that there is a good chance that Connor may need braces, but he wants to wait a few years and see when his mouth settles more.

    I think you are either a flosser or not, and can’t be changed later … though I am embarrassed that the oral hygienist has to floss for me.

  2. Yup, i struggle with flossing too. My hubby does it religiously. My kids – not so much. We have recently discovered that my eldest (12) needs braces – am thrilled that it is no doing of my own ito no visiting dentist/ensuring good teeth, just she has too many teeth and her jaw isn’t big enough. My littlest (4) loves the dentist and regularly asks when next we will be going. Long may it continue!


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