Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Kid Friendly Dentistry


I’m not sure how I feel about this new craze of kid-friendly dentistry.  On one hand it’s a lot better than sitting around a boring dentist’s office where the kids can do nothing but get bored, unless you bring your own entertainment.  At the same time it’s a little much for me.  There’s something about this prize and reward oriented dentistry that gets under my skin.

That being said, Corde had her first dentist’s appointment in a long time.  She had a loose tooth and I worried because she hadn’t lost a tooth since she was five.  I thought it would be best to get it checked out because it never hurts to know.  Besides, our dental insurance just kicked in and I don’t want my kids to have teeth problems like mine.  I was fine through high school, but my teeth started getting bad a couple years back and now I have a big gaping hole in one tooth that I can’t get fixed.

I was actually really thrilled about taking Corde to the dentist because she was so excited about it.  She was bouncing around the house the night before saying she couldn’t wait to go to the dentist.  At the office they were laughing when I told her.  They’ve never heard of a kid so excited to go to the dentist!

When we walked up to the place I was caught a bit off guard.  The place was painted up to look like a castle with animals as the residents.  It was incredibly welcoming, nothing like the stark, ugly brick building I went to as a child.  Corde was excited because they had a bunny princess on the wall.  She’s all about bunnies.

Walking in I felt almost like I’d arrived at some children’s amusement place, not a dentist’s office.  They had a play area with a tunnel and a slide like a smaller version of the ones at fast-food places.  There were two kid-sized tables with crayons and a whole bunch of different coloring sheets at the desk for the kids to choose from.  Then there was the movie theater, which was set up with a projector on the wall and real movie theater seats.  There were regular benches to sit on as well that looked more like they belonged in a park than a dentist’s office.  It was completely welcoming for kids.  If Corde hadn’t been excited about the dentist before, I’m pretty sure she would have been won over after seeing all of that.

After registration new patients get a tour.  We got to see the x-ray room, the exam room, where the treatment rooms were, and had a wonderful explanation of how things work.  The exam rooms and treatment rooms have televisions in them so the kids can watch a movie while everything is done, keeping their mind off of the dentist visit.  They call the children by prince and princess, so Corde became “Princess Corde”.  They get a token in each room they go to “for being brave at the dentist”.  At the end of it they go to the office where parents can discuss financial aid, insurance, any questions they have.  In that room the child is crowned as king or queen and gets a sticker and a balloon.  The moms get an “Amazing Mom” sticker too, which Corde stuck right on the biggest skull on our Baby Hawke.  The room next to that holds televisions and video game systems so the kids can play video games while they wait too.  Corde wants to play video games while waiting for the boys when I take them.  This time it was just the two of us and she got too into coloring and watching movies.  They can spend their tokens at the end of it to get little coin-op machine toys.  Corde got an alien and a ninja so they can play “Aliens vs. Ninjas”, as she said “It’s like Plants vs. Zombies…only so much cooler!”  As they’re getting ready to go out the door, with a parent’s permission, of course, the kids get a cookie.  Corde chose oatmeal raisin, her personal favorite.

The good news of the whole visit, Corde’s got no cavities!  I guess her routine of being horrible about brushing her teeth isn’t so much of a problem.  The only thing they felt they needed to point out is that she still has baby teeth, a surprise for me given that she hasn’t lost any baby teeth in years.  She’ll be losing them soon enough, then we can talk about braces.  Honestly, I wouldn’t even worry about braces given I never had any and my teeth are fine, even though they’re crooked.  Braces are expensive and we can’t really afford that, but she really needs them.  Years of thumb sucking have caused her jaw to be severely out of alignment and it’s causing her problems.  Some of the problems are just annoying, like her inability to easily chew with her mouth shut.  Others are more pressing, like having a hard time biting into things because her teeth are so misaligned.  They do braces there, so it’s going to make that so much easier when she’s ready.

Corde was fantastic about the dentist.  She learned about x-rays, all of which were pulled up on the computer, which she thought was pretty cool.  She was curious about what they did to her teeth, though I was honestly disappointed that she wasn’t more interested and didn’t ask more questions.  I guess that’s the hard thing about unschooling.  I want her to be interested in all sorts of things that she could really care less about.  Dentistry and teeth don’t really have much to do with art, so they’re not really her interests.

Thankfully I’m not going to have many problems getting the boys to the dentist now.  Big sister comes home with all this cool stuff and said it’s really easy.  All she did was kick back and watch Mulan while they cleaned her teeth.  Now the boys aren’t scared at all, not that they were terribly scared in the first place.  They’re actually really excited.  They’re going to have to wait a bit before I’m ready to go through that again.  It was a lot of waiting because the place is so busy, but it was worth it.  I just need to gear up and be ready for that kind of long wait again.  Poor Luca wasn’t really up for the long wait.  He was having another cranky day.  It’s hard to believe it won’t be long until he gets to see the dentist too.


Author: Fox

With four kids, who has time for much? We spend a lot of time together, which translates to a lot of knitting time for me when we hang out. We've been trying to get back to our unschooling roots. We watch a lot of videos, play a lot of games, and pay attention to the things we notice in our everyday life. It's been quite the big adventure!

4 thoughts on “Kid Friendly Dentistry

  1. My 7 year old daughter is shy. Her first visit to the dentist did not go well so I found one of these children’s dentists in our city and she LOVED it. We’ve never had a problem with any of her visits. Last month they said she needs braces very soon as she has a very small mouth and there’s no room for her adult teeth to come down as she has lost all of her front baby teeth. It’s not a cosmetic thing merely just a way to find a way for her adult teeth to have room. We had our first orthodontist appointment today which is at a different building. She would NOT open her mouth for the guy!!! I was so embarrassed. There was nothing we could do! Now we have to go back in a couple of weeks to see if she will be more cooperative!! I wish they had a “children’s orthodontist” by us!!!

    • I think it’s great that they handle everything in the same child-friendly office. It makes it easier for kids who are a little more shy about things. For my daughter, she probably could have gone to the dentist I went to as a child, sterile, intimidating office and all and be fine. My boys? Sander would get bored and Beekee would probably be crying within the first hour.

      I wish you luck with your daughter’s next visit. I know orthodontics visits can be intimidating. They want to pry your mouth open and put all this stuff in there. I can’t blame her for being nervous. Hopefully she’ll find the courage to get through it!

  2. I know what you mean about the Kid-A-Palooza dentist office. They can be very annoying. Buttercup went to one of those, but her current dentist isn’t that bad. They are somewhere in between.

    From a kid point of view, those types of dentist can be like Donkey Island. They fill you will all the goodies and then you have to have fillings or crowns. lol

    • I think those dentists are great for little kids who may be scared, but as they get older I think they can definitely benefit from a dentist that’s a little more serious…and drives Mom a little less nuts!

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