Dentist Round Two


And so we returned. But this time to a pediatric dentist in Dublin named Dr. Harring who was sent from the heavens, I’m quite sure. After a most hellacious experience a couple of months ago, this dental trip was a piece of cake. Jon had taken him a few weeks ago to an initial consultation with Dr. Harring and really liked him. It was at this time that he found 6 cavities in Mario’s mouth as well as a tooth that needed extracted because it was infected. Lovely. Just stick that “Mom of the Year” pin on my chest. I will never forget that sinking feeling I had when Jon texted me with the news. I was sick the rest of the day.

But then perspective opens up and you realize all you can do is move forward. And so we did. We promised Mario a Skylander and a a package of $4.99 coins for if he was a strong boy and stayed still. I ate a gallon of peanut butter chip ice cream the night before his appointment.

Spider-Man and I showed up at 9:15. The dental assistants loved his outfit. The waiting area has video games and toys to keep the kids busy. Nice touch.


The dentist arrived shortly after we walked back and hooked the laughing gas onto Mario, turned on Scooby and all went smoothly. At one point, Mario started waving his hands in the air and talking nonsense about the Scooby show. The doctor told him the gas should be relaxing him but Mario said “no way, I am hyper!” I asked the dentist to describe how Mario feels with the gas and he said it’s like us drinking two glasses of wine. Now the arm-waving makes sense.

I cringed when the dentist pulled Mario’s tooth but thanks to the gas and a boatload of novocaine, Mario felt nothing. He high-fived the dentist after it was over and bragged about going to get a Skylander. I told him that I wasn’t sure he needed a Skylander since the procedure was so simple. He told me I promised him. A deal is a deal – I will know next time (seeing we have at least two more visits to fix up those teeth – I am the toothbrush nazi every morning and night after this insanity).

We drove straight home because Mario decided he wanted to buy 2 $4.99 gold coin packages rather than a Skylander. When I went to try and buy them my credit card would not process. So I got irritated and restarted the computer and tried again. The second time it went through immediately. Then a screen popped up and told us our first try went through so that pipsqueak got $20 worth of gold. He loved that.

I called Patty to update her on the appointment and she had news for me when I told her how much I hate taking Mario to the dentist.

“Mario told me the other day that he loved going to the dentist because he got toys afterwards and got to stay out of school.”

I think I’ve been taken by that boy.


Surviving the dentist

Jon and I just experienced one of the most disturbing incidents in our parenthood.

Mario getting a cavity filled.

Horrid and nightmarish.

This is Mario pre-filling.


Sweet, charming, calm.

Even if I could have gotten a picture of Mario during the procedure, I would not post it. People would believe that he was being tortured. He pretty much psyched himself out as soon as the dentist walked in the room. He looked like he was facing the firing squad. I just wanted to wrap him up in my arms and shoot out of the office.

The dentist began by looking into Mario’s mouth with the typical little instrument that has a mirror at the end. Mario cried and would not open his mouth more than a grimace. And it went downhill from there. We had to hold him down for the numbing gel and the shot took him over the edge. Screams of pain, giant tears that could have filled a bucket, hyperventilation.

“I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!”

We stopped. I held him. He begged to leave.

“I can’t take this anymore! I can’t do it anymore!”

More soothing from me and Jon. As soon as we got him to lay down again, he wailed and begged to tell me “one more thing.” By the time the dentist started drilling, the novocaine had worn off and when the doctor drilled, Mario writhed in pain.

We went through the process again with the same crying and soothing and hyperventilating and begging until the numbness settled in. Mario sat fairly still as the dentist finished the drilling and seal clenching my hands and asking “are we done?” every three seconds.

When we left, I felt like I had ran a marathon. Jon was even worn down. Emotional trauma. Mario would only get a picture with me and when I smiled he stopped me. “You can’t smile, mom. This was not fun.”


Grandma Lolo called as we were heading out and told him he earned his $20. She had promised him that if he acted brave through the process. Not quite sure we’d call it “brave” but he got the filling and reached the end goal… Kicking and Screaming.

Jon took him to Target to get a Wii game. He called me when they got home and reported that Mario was back to Mario again – playing Wii and laughing. Glad he’s back to normal but I am still recovering!


Serious lesson learned for all: Brush your teeth after every meal! I think Mario may listen after today.

No More Medical Professionals Please!

“Mom, when do we get to go home?  I want to go now, mom, please.”

Maria enjoying the dentist

Mario bellowed those words over and over this morning.  I subjected the poor boy to a double dose of fun – the dentist and the doctor – and I am quite sure he will mention the indelible trauma it caused him 30 years from now.  Maria has never minded the dentist or the doctor.  She did not want to leave on her first dentist trip; she kept asking questions to the dentist, and was pumped when she got to take a sticker out of a big plastic tooth.  Today was no different.  She burst into tears at 6 am this morning when I told her we may not go to the dentist because Mario was spiking a fever. 

“Mom, please, take me to the dentist.  You can just hold Mario and give him your phone to play with.  Please, mom.”

How could I deny her after that pleading?  I don’t want her to blame me for a traumatic event, too.  She walked right into the back room when the dental assistant called her name. When I stood to ask her if she wanted me to go back, she stopped me.   “I am fine, mom.”  Yet another leap away from needing her mama.  Proud…but kinda sad.  

Mario not enjoying the dentist

Mario sat in the waiting room playing on my I-Pad and asking to download every ninja, hunting, or fighting game he found.  When they called him back, he dutifully walked back trying to continue his play on the IPad while walking (he’s my son).  The dental assistant sat him in the chair and explained that she was going to clean his teeth.  He chose grape flavor and all was good… until she attempted to put her hands in his mouth to clean his teeth.  He clenched.  He cried.  He did not want her near him.  I tried to explain to him that she was not going to hurt him in any way but he wanted nothing to do with her.  He pleaded to go home.  He begged me to take him out of the chair.  Horrible.  Sweet Maria looked around the room trying to find items he might enjoy (a picture of a “hot” girl brushing her teeth, a balloon, and my IPad) but nothing worked.  She told him to hold her hand and that she loved him but that didn’t work either.  It was ridiculous!  My tough-man is not so tough at the dentist. 

So, if I had not tortured him enough at the dentist, I took him to the doctor right after we dropped off Maria at school.  He usually does not mind the doctor, especially when his sister joins us.  But today, I knew it would be different because he had to get a throat swab to check for strep throat.  My stoic Maria even cringes at the thought of the swab check.  But her worse reaction to it was to cry for three minutes and then open up and get it over.  Mario beat her by far.  When the nurse came towards him with the swab, he innately knew something was up.  She had her one chance to get him but she was too slow and when she stuck it in his mouth as he opened up for her, she must have hit the roof of his mouth and he closed up immediately.  She didn’t get the swab, and there was no way she was going to get it.  He was beyond pissed off at every  medical professional now.  He sobbed, he hyperventilated, he begged to leave or at least “wait until later.”  It lasted an entire fifteen minutes until the nurse left and even then, he laid like a wet noodle in my arms.  Eventually he got back into the IPad but then the doctor came in the room.  Luckily, she was good with him and asked him all the questions that would engage him (who is your favorite superhero, what did you get for Christmas, what is your favorite IPad game). 

Nevertheless, when she took another swab out of the jar, he freaked.  There is nothing worse than having your son beg you to help him through what he believes to be a horrid situation and the only thing you can do is put him in a hold-down and be complicit in the horrid act.  But again, this doctor came through and tricked Mario and me.  She asked him to open his mouth just so she could shine a light on his throat (what she did earlier) and then she quickly and precisely jabbed the swab in his throat.  When she took it out, he realized what had happened and looked at me in disbelief.  I praised him like he had just won the Olympics.  When we walked out, he looked up at me and asked “Are you proud of me, mom?”  My sweet babe.  We took a long walk in the stroller and he fell asleep due to all of the trauma of the day.  I stopped and stared at him for a long time.  My doll baby.   

All I know is that I am scheduling the next appointment for Mairo on a day when Jon is in town!

Open Wide

It was as if Maria had been to the dentist ten times before our trip today for her initial visit.  She walked into the small cubicled room, swung her body onto the oversized dental chair, placed her limbs on the chair’s armrests, and waited to be pampered. 

Happy as a clam!

Cool Cat

Seriously, I had to pinch myself to make sure we were at the dentist’s office and not the spa.  The hygenist came into the small room with her perky self, talking three decibels higher than normal, and explaining everything in s-l-o-w-m-o-ti-o-n.  After about a minute, I would have thought that she would have toned it down some after seeing that Maria was cool as a cat in the chair, but it must be engrained in her to act that way with any child that comes into the office.  Maria seemed to like her nonetheless, so it was all good. 

Maria loved being taken care of and getting pampered with flavored toothpaste and fluoride while watching Nick Kids on the tv in the corner of the room.  She did not mind the slight tugging at her mouth and poking of her teeth because afterwards, she knew that her teeth would be shiny white and she would get to taste raspberry fluoride and get water sucked out of her mouth through a straw.  The only services she missed were a head massage and pedicure.  After the hygenist finished cleaning her teeth, she shot up and asked for a mirror.  “I want to see my shiny white teeth, mom!” 

When we got home from school tonight, she went upstairs and brushed immediately asking me to find her floss and asking me if I liked the color of her new toothpaste.  She asked when she could go to the dentist again.  She bragged about her teeth still looking so shiny and white.  She even admonished her little brother about brushing his teeth, and instructed him how to brush properly.  Of course, he smacked her right in the arm as soon as she tried to touch his toothbrush.  She should know by now but she continues to try. 

I wonder how Mr. Mario will do with his first trip to dentist – somehow I don’t think that he will be quite as enamored with the process or believe that any of it is “pampering.”  He will probably cram down ten donuts and licorice before the appointment just to be ornery (whereas Maria made sure she brushed her teeth right before we left).  Although he did show some promise tonight while we were rocking in Maria’s room.  He heard Maria tell her dad that she forgot to brush her teeth, and then he heard her get out of bed.  He turned to me in the chair and asked “Mom, brush teeth?”  I replied with an adamant “no way” and he looked at me with frustration continuing to speak: “But, mom, my teeth feel dirty.”  What do I say to that?  I figured I would take him in the bathroom and he would goof off but he actually brushed his teeth better than I do half the time. 

So, one for one so far at the dentist and maybe a two for two in another year.  For now, I will enjoy the memory in my head of Maria in that big ol’ dentist chair, mouth slightly open, waiting for her flavored toothpaste and watching her favorite tv shows – that content, mischevious little grin on her face.