We are in the school dental system and as such, this year it was Jono's turn to go to the dentist and get his teeth checked.
When Daniel hit this stage of life, I wasn't working, I was able to be there with him and I wanted to be with him (first child, I 'have' to be there). Last year Sarah got to go when she was in prep, I was working, and more relaxed about it.. so I let her go in school hours at the time she needed to go, and she was fine.
As I am now working, and Jono is older, and the other two survived going to the dentist, I decided to let him go for his check up with his teachers in school hours. Then the 'fun' started.
The first checkup he did brilliantly, he wore the protective glasses and the bib, he opened his mouth wide, he had no problems with the chair moving up and down, nor with the dentist's mirror, fingers and instruments being in his mouth. His teacher reported all this back to me very proud of him. I was too! Then we got asked to come back for a second appointment.
Second appointment we booked in after school, so I had all three kids with me. He did all as above and was totally comfortable with being checked out. The dental assistant explained which teeth needed work on them and why. He has 5 that need work, 3 with extremely minor cavities, and 2 with slightly deeper cavities, that all need covers or fillings of some sort to keep the 'baby teeth' in place long enough for his adult teeth to grow in with little complications.
Once I had all this explained I gave them the go ahead to do the smaller ones and 'see how they go'. The suction machine got turned on, and that was it.
'No thankyou, No thankyou', pushing it away, wriggling off the chair to get away. I decided very quickly that I wasn't going to make him sit through this as he was actually happy enough to have a checkup, it was just the noise that freaked him out. So we let him go, grabbing the glasses and bib off him and he ran out the door and discussed what the options were. Basically, he has to go to hospital and go under in order to have a few fillings.
Third appointment, with the dentist themselves at the school, same thing - happy to go, happy to be prodded. We talked about whether it was worthwhile to book him in again for the dental assistant to attempt one more time to do the work in the surgery rather than in the hospital. I said it's hardly worth it, and asked them to turn on the suction equipment. He ran for the door and they signed the paper work to get him into the hospital queue, with a 6-12 month wait... but first.. a visit to a specialist.
Appointment Number 4. Yes, I am starting to get tired of visiting dentists by now.
I am on the queue for the specialist appointment, and expect to get in after around a month. I got called two days later with an opening in two days... in the middle of the day. So I organise some time off work and decide 'bag it, I'll take the rest of the day off'. I wasn't sure how he would go and if I went back I'd only get 1 hour anyway, so wasn't too concerned about that.
We get to the appointment a little early, and they have cartoons in the waiting room, which he enjoyed. We got called into the room and once again he's happy about the chair, actually wants the glasses, and is ok with being checked out. They told us his teeth were beautifully clean and the issue is there are smaller fissures in his teeth that a toothbrush can't actually clean that are holding foodstuffs that are causing the decay. It's slow, and they aren't stressed about it, but it definitely needs work.
Then the room next door had a suction machine go in in there... up, out of the chair and running down the hall, but this time towards the noise! He wanted to see what was happening (with his hands over his ears for protection). So, we have him booked into hospital, and are on the waiting list, with one more specialist appointment in a few weeks time to discuss and practice brushing.
And what did we do for the rest of the afternoon? We went shopping, had lunch, got some clothes, bought Easter eggs, and picked up the other two. What a lovely afternoon! Perhaps I should book him in for some more appointments... Hmmmm ;)