Sunday, May 07, 2006

...while juggling chainsaws

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.

10 comments:

Jeanie said...

hehe- they start early. I get that question all the time- friends, family, strangers. People mouths are not that gross! (ok, sometimes they ARE that gross) but better than doing prostate exams all day right? or being an optometrist- eyeballs really weird me out.

The other thing everyone HAS to say is- "Geez, I hate the dentist". I mean, is it really such a wise thing to tell the person on the business end of lots of pointy things that you hate them?
I think not.

Oh and thanks muchly for the cool comments. The Ohio State's labs sound even more decrepid (sp?) than our old dental building... Mind you, we had duct tape holding up an asbestos laden roof so maybe not...

Peachy said...

dr. nate,
this has nothing to do with your post, really; it's more of a general dentistry question. i want to whiten my teeth but i can't afford the $700 treatment at my dentist's office. what do you suggest?
:-)

hankwillisdds said...

Peachy,
Go to the grocery store and buy a box of Crest White Strips. They really do work, just not as quickly and you won't get them quite as WHITE as you can with office systems. Just be aware that IF you have any fillings or crowns on front teeth that they will not change shade--so you could end up with some discrepancy in shade.
Dr W

Don Wallick said...

So the next time someone wants to have their little ones sitting with them while you drill, you might consider this reply: "Sure, just let me go have a beer first."

Perhaps mom/dad/guardian will then reconsider.

Oh, I suppose you shouldn't even joke about that. But it would be fun to say in your head.

Here's my tooth-whitening question: What about the toothbrush I saw advertized that has some sort of scrubbie things on the back that are supposed to whiten your teeth? Could I save the $700 at the dentist and the $35 for the Crest strips and just buy a new toothbrush?

Dr Nate said...

nice pickup, Dr TheRed. (i DO miss that old email addy...) anyhoo, yeah, pretty much the only thing I'd add to Dr "Circle of" Willis' thoughts would be the customization factor. That is, your dentist makes a tray fitted exactly to your teeth; the strips are a little "messier" as far as where the chemicals go, which isnt' big deal unless you happen to have sensitive gums or something like that.

Don - I don't know anything about the toothbrush, but can say w/ 90% certainty it's a gimmick. I decided yesterday that whitening was dentistry's pre-Luther indulgence. Pretty much people will invent/sell/buy ANYthing in pursuit of the alleged goal...

Janice said...

Hi Nate - And to think I had just about forgotten the time I did an endo on a patient while she breastfed her baby. Yep. Amazing what we'll do to get that last requirement for graduation. Fortunately that was my last endo EVER.

Dr Nate said...

Janice - too funny! You should have stuck with the RCT stuff...it's fun! and such low overhead! la...

hankwillisdds said...

Yep, I'm getting more and more into endo. The more I do it the better I get and the more satisfying and fun it is.

Amelia said...

Sometimes I think to myself, "I have a strange job."

I'm not thinking that now.

Colleen said...

Might I suggest a nice tv in the waiting room? Works great for us! We have more kid's movies there than I have for my 3 year old at home...and it works wonders to keep kids off of the parents laps.
:)