Mr. Henry Goes to the Dentist

The dentist. I grew up LOVING the dentist. Always in the no cavity club. Always enjoyed the new toothbrush and tiny toothpastes. Dr. Moses was my dentist growing up in Lake Charles, and I looked forward to those 6 month check ins for YEARS! Truth be told, I saw him through college as well!!

Then, I had Henry. Henry got his teeth early and in groups. Four at a time until all 20 baby teeth were up and chomping. During all this, teeth brushing was a chore. Not like bath time is a nightly thing that has to be checked off the list and sort of feels like a chore. Like, he would resist kicking and screaming every time I MENTIONED a tooth brush or tooth paste or anything in the vicinity of teeth related things. Henry did NOT love brushing his teeth and boy did he let me know it.

We tried different toothbrushes and different toothpastes and different stories about WHY brushing our teeth is important. Then at our 2 year well visit, “have you seen the dentist yet?” “No, not yet.”

Somewhere between ages 2 and 3, we finally hit a groove with teeth brushing. We found the right toothbrush AND the right toothpaste. Funny, characters made a difference in which toothbrush / toothpaste combo was appropriate. Go figure?

Our 3 year old well visit came and, again, “have you seen the dentist yet?” “No, not yet.”

Then, this whole past year, the weight of knowing Henry WILL turn 4 and we WILL get that question again … and we are now on the cusp of a dentist visit being really necessary. Anxiety and fear set in. And I’m not really sure why. I think it was some combo of “what if he flips out?” and “what if my kids teeth are basically chalk and falling apart?” There are so many ways we can screw up parenting, I didn’t want another area to have the “adequate but could do better” box checked.

So, a few weeks before my sons 4th birthday, I took a big gulp and made the call and scheduled our first dentist appointment. Henry was so excited! He had learned all about going to the dentist at school, and he enjoyed telling me all about what will happen to his teeth one day. Heavy emphasis on his teeth falling out and a direct correlation to money. HA!

The day came. He was ready. We brushed our teeth EXTRA thoroughly the night prior and the morning of. Henry’s eagerness flowed over into his desire to pick out his clothes that day AND dress himself. FYI, his idea of dentist appropriate attire includes a star wars tank top and dinosaur shorts. Perfect, really.

We showed up and the experience could NOT have been better (or quicker). He was a CHAMP. As was our tech and dentist. He was patient and still for teeth brushing, neither of those words aptly describe him most days. And, praise be, the dentist assured his teeth were looking good with good spacing and all that other important stuff!!!

Does this happen to you with other firsts? I have never hesitated with many milestone things with Henry. Tackling this hurdle helped me to bite the bullet and sign up for swimming lessons too… But that’s another story for another day!

Sarah Joy Hays is a native of Louisiana and graduate of LSU! She returned to Baton Rouge in 2015 after 6 years living and working in DC. She is a proud momma to an enthusiastic, red-haired toddler and is navigating all of this as a solo parent; fully relying on group texts with other moms, coffee, and Jesus. Sarah Joy, or SJ, has devoted much of her abundant spare time to the Moms on Campus, South Baton Rouge Presbyterian Church, and her newly founded Foundation that will focus on emergency disaster response. She claims to love to read, journal, and cook; but only manages one of the three out of daily necessity. SJ dreams of having a Target collaboration based on coffee mugs and dry shampoo one day… till then she will enjoy running her bakery CounterspaceBR and growing a consulting business!

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