I LOVE our dentist! Yes, you read that right - I love, love, love our dentist!
Just before we moved from Philadelphia, Caleb was diagnosed with (gasp!) cavities! It has taken me a long time to even admit that publicly, as silly as that may seem. I'm 'that' Mom - the one who insists on all-natural toothpaste, limits the amount of sweets he eats, and insist on daily flossing and brushing. But, still, he had cavities. Apparently this is common with little ones these days, but I am still very, very unhappy about it. Hearing your kid has cavities brings on the Mommy guilt - what could I have done to prevent this? Where did I go wrong?
To add to my Mommy guilt, the first go of treating Caleb's cavities was, to say the least, traumatic. This particular pediatric dentist office was more like a factory, with too many residents caring for children and the actual physician who owned the practice never actually surfacing, a dirty waiting room, rows and rows of colorful mini-dental chairs, and Sponge Bob paraphernalia everywhere. Yuck.
My experience with all of our pediatric providers before this had been great, so I was shocked when I took my 5-year-old into the office and two women restrained him while another pulled out a giant needle and shoved it into his mouth. About a minute later, as a result of the kicking, screaming, crying, and broken needle, we left. They suggested we bring him to the hospital to have general anesthesia. To fix his cavities. Um, no thanks.
So, after several months of fretting about Caleb's teeth, imagining them rotting as I ignored them, I asked around in Chicago for pediatric dentist recommendations. A dear friend recommended Children's Dentistry of Bucktown/Wicker Park. She insisted her son loved it there and that the dentist, Dr. Melissa Connell, was incredibly sweet! Still, it took me another several months to schedule. I'm not sure either one of us was ready for the trauma again.
But what a wonderful, redeeming experience! The women in this office, from the front desk to the medical assistants to the dentist herself, are caring, gentle, and fantastic at their jobs! During Caleb's initial cleaning, I was welcomed into the treatment room and everything they did was simply explained and painless. During his first treatment, I was a nervous wreck! However, Caleb happily parted ways with me when he was called back, and the doctor came out to the waiting room to report on her progress, as if my son was undergoing heart surgery. Upon Caleb's return, I hesitantly asked him how it was. His reply? "It was awesome!!" What?? I think I love Dr. Connell!!
Today, I write this as he is undergoing his second and final cavity filling (and hopefully the last for a very, very long time). When I told him this morning where we were going, he was excited! Weird, but wonderful. I am so grateful to my friend who sent us here, so I thought it was time to pay it forward…
Tricia Streit Perez is partner to Dan, mom to Caleb, and founder of One Fit Mama®. She lives in Wicker Park.
See more of Tricia's stories here.