During his second teeth cleaning ever, Dr. Maria told me my baby boy had a cavity and I was shocked! He’s only 4 years old! You better believe that I brush his teeth like a crazed mama. She explained that to the naked eye, it’s difficult to see all of the grooves in his top back teeth, even though I get in there pretty good. Since the cavity was caught early and it was in a baby tooth, the procedure would take just a few minutes. I quietly asked if she needed to drill his tooth and she turned to my son and asked him if it would be ok for her to “tickle” his tooth next time he visited. He said yes. I panicked.
I was hesitant to set up his appointment to fix his tooth more because I’m a nervous wreck and I couldn’t bare to see my baby boy cry. I didn’t want him to have the same fear of the dentist that I had as a child and surely he would hate it after THIS appointment. (Read more here on My Issues with the dentist will not be my son’s.)
As we arrived for his appointment, we were greeted by Dr. Maria and her assistant who happily set up my son in the dentist chair and assured me everything was going to be just fine. She explained exactly what she was going to do—quickly tickle his tooth while he wore some cool sunglasses and that he would be so lucky to have a light saber in his mouth! (A device that quickly dries dental work) Now Star Wars was something that he could relate to, how cool!
Every time Dr. Maria worked on his tooth she gave him a countdown which we both appreciated. Ten seconds in and out—small increments that allowed him to handle the treatment in a way a four year old knows how. Since his mouth is small, he expressed that it hurt his jaw to try to keep it open on his own so Dr. Maria gave him a bite guard which helped him relax. A bit of of sour tasting solution, a quick suction so he wouldn’t taste it and a cotton ball in the side of his mouth meant he was almost done! Last, Dr. Maria smoothed out his tooth and he was done. He chose a sticker and we were on our way. No big deal for my brave 4 year old.
I think as parents we underestimate the impact that a dentist has on our children and their future dental care. If his experience was negative at such a young age he could be traumatized for life. I had a miserable experience as an adolescent and I still get unreasonably anxious every time I visit my dentist.
Thankfully, Dr. Maria is a wonderful, genuinely kind dentist that has the perfect, calm demeanor to work with children. She encourages them and praises them during their entire visit and makes them feel very comfortable whether it is a cleaning or a cavity. Her work is impeccable, efficient and necessary. I can’t thank Dr. Maria enough for making my son’s first and hopefully last experience with a cavity a positive one.
Dr. Maria can be found in Brookline, MA at Pediatric Dentistry.
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