Tilly, age 10
So, I went to the dentist on Monday. What? You thought I was done going to the dentist? No, no, I said I was finished with my major dental work. Besides this was just a quick visit, so Mr. Dentist could check out my bite (after all, he put in about 82 crowns last year), drill down a few places, check on Stand-In-Dentist's work. Mr. Office Manager (from here on out, Mr. OM) assured me it would be a quick visit. I always ask how long the visit is expected to last, so I can plan for it. Since it was only going to take a few minutes, I opted to leave seven children home alone and take the other six with me. The dental staff has always been friendly and welcoming to my children. Mr. OM assured me it was fine to bring them along. I think he likes likes the way six kids in the waiting room break up the monotony of his day...
So, I took Ezra (16), Boaz (14), Enoch (8), Kalina (7), Modecai (6) and Hezekiah (4). We had a talk before we went, about giving up their seat for any adult (or patient) who comes, not to spread books and games all over the floor, keep their voices quiet, etc.
I ended up getting stuck in construction, and was ten minutes late for my visit. Arg....when I walked in and apologized to Mr. OM, he said, "No problem, Mr. Dentist just pulled in right behind you". Apparently he was on his lunch break. Whew. From my vantage point in the waiting room, I could see Mr. Dentist come in, take off his coat and put on his white smock (no easy feat, with one arm in the sling). Now this is the second time I've seen my dentist in "street clothes". You know, clothes not covered by his smock. And I find it a bit unnerving. I'm not sure why, other than my issue with needing to see people on in their proper context (Cub Scout people at Scouts, MOPs people at MOPs, doctor at the doctor's office). This overlapping and meeting of people willy-nilly out at grocery stores and parks, makes me a bit nervous. I know, I have issues.
Mrs. Assistant, calls me backs, gets me settled, and starts chatting with me. In walks Mr. Dentist, and Mrs Assistant says, "Doctor, Renee's under the impression this is a short visit today. She's got some of her children out in the waiting room, and rest at home". Excuse me? Under the impression? Any impression I've gotten has come straight out of Mr. OM's mouth...who in theory works quite closely with Mr. Dentist.
Mr. Dentist doesn't respond to that, and just asked how I'm feeling, etc. Then the Checking of My Bite, and the drilling commences. Oh, but not before he calls in...well, I'm not sure her official title, but we'll call her Mrs. X.
"Mrs. X, I'll need you in here to be my left arm".
Hmm...now Mr. OM assured me on the phone Mr. Dentist was back to work. In fact he told me he had done an endo (I've been there so much, they use the dental lingo with me...an endo is a root canal) last week. That now seems doubtful, since he apparently can't even do a little drilling with out the help of Mrs. X.
So, imagine this. I'm lying the dental chair, Mrs. Assistant at my left, Mr. Dentist at my right and Mrs. X, well, wedged between Mr. Dentist and and back of my chair. Mr. Dentist looks at my teeth, positions his little mirror in my mouth so he can see, then asks Mrs. X to hold the mirror while he does the drilling. And of course, Mrs. Assistant is holding the water and suction thingy. Yes, I have three people hovering around my head and all three have their hands in my mouth. And keep in mind, since this is just a visit to check my bite and I actually need to pay attention, I have no music. I'm not numbed up at all (he's just drilling on crowns) instead I'm having flashbacks to my very first dental visit at age six when the dentist drilled my tongue.
The visit is divided pretty evenly between drilling, and Mr. Dentist saying, "Open, close. Open, close. Open, close. Open slowly. Close. Tap, tap, tap, tap. Bite. Open, close". Punctuated with the occasional, "Articulating tape." and "Shim stock" thrown in. Just to keep us on our toes. Mr. OM comes in a couple of times to let me know how the kids are doing. At one point Mr. Dentist has everyone pull out of my mouth. "What do you feel now?" he asks. After closing my mouth and frowning, I reach up to pull a thin strip of foil off of my tongue. "Shim stock" I answer, handing it to Mr. Dentist. Good thing I know the proper dental lingo. "Sorry" he says. "Is there any more left in there?"
No, I think I swallowed that.
After surviving well over an hour of opening, closing and drilling, he declares me done. For now.
"There's still that last crown we haven't done yet..." he says.
"What crown? I thought we were done."
"No, there's still number five. It was part of the original plan, we just didn't get to it. We got too bogged down in the other teeth".
Mrs. Assistant, flipping through my chart, saves the day. "Actually, Doctor, number five wasn't part of the plan".
Looking himself, he realizes it is a "structurally compromised" tooth, that needs to be crowned eventually, but was not, in fact, part of the plan.
So at last, I am released. An hour and forty-five minutes later. I walk out to the waiting room to see Hezekiah nearly asleep on the couch, Mordecai wedged in a corner between a lamp and a window and the three older boys and Kalina drawing and reading quietly. Piled in a corner is a our customary case of toothpaste samples, new toothbrushes and pencils for everyone, and piles of cheap plastic toys.
The end of another happy dental visit.