Friday provided a new highlight for my career. I did two (yup, dos, duo, deux) fillings on a young mother while not one but TWO small children sat in her lap.
How, in the name of Don Knotts, Tim Conway and Moe Howard, does this happen? Why would the dentist allow it? And what would possess any mother to think, "Hmm...sharp objects and high speed rotary instruments running around my head...what could be better than a 2-year-old along for the ride?"
Well, Mom brings in kids and they're kinda antsy and if she sets them down blah blah blah. I suggested, "Hey, maybe Jen at the front desk could keep an eye on them for a bit." "No, I wouldn't wish that on anyone."
Except me, apparently. Anyway, this mom had never had a cavity, and they were both really small (we thought) so I wasn't initially going to bother with anesthesia. (Don't gasp - if you've never had this down it either means your dentist is paranoid, overly destructive or that you or s/he wait too long to actually get the work done. Not a big deal; it doesn't hurt and people are happy to avoid being numb for 3 hours.)
So, back goes the chair, which the kids are pretty excited about. After a couple minutues, however, watching mom's mouth becomes less exciting and the chair becomes a slide. Er. Jimmy the 2-year-old gets squirmy and mom grabs his ankles to prevent him from escaping. "Sit still, Jimmy and just suck your thumb. Good!" Um.....oh, never mind.... Mom taught me to pick my battles and I'm gonna let the digit habit slide here for the greater good....
Turns out the one tooth is just chock full o' decay (wouldn't that be a great coffee? mmm) and I decided she needed to be numb. Again, the boys are fascinated. To be fair, Davey the 5-year-old was pretty good the whole time - totally fascinated by the ultraviolet light and other goings-on. "Whoa, Mom! Your mouth is GROSSS!!! Ewwww! (to me) How can you go IN that ugly mouth?" which sets the record for youngest person to ask me, "How can you look at mouths all day?" I told him to mind his manners and that his mother has a very nice, pretty mouth, which instantly made me a bit edgy."
Dad: So how was the dentist's?
Mom: Well, I don't think I'll bring the boys next time...
Davey: He said that Mommy has a pretty mouth and we all sat in her lap!
The above scenario may or may not have transpired, but hopefully not, as I met Dad the day before and he could totally kick my butt. Anyhoo, we finished up ok and mom did, in fact, express her desire to "not do that next time" so at least she saw the error of her ways. And on the positive side, the kids (or at least Davey) got a very good first impression of operative dentistry. If I know the patient isnt' going to freak out, it's great to have the kids watching for future reference. Just not from the lap.