I've always HATED the dentist. Like most of my other fears and dislikes, I can pinpoint the specific moment(s) where my hatred of the dentist began. When I was a child, my mother took me and my brother to a dentist who didn't believe in "drugging" children so we never received Novocaine for any procedures. For my brother this wasn't an issue- he never once had a cavity. I, on the other hand, had at least one cavity every.single.time I went to the dentist. So, let's do the math for a moment, shall we?
1 cavity X 2 visits a year X 8 years (went to this dentist between the ages of 4-12) = approximately 16 cavities filled without Novocaine. So yeah, I hate the dentist. I can't hear the sound of the drill without getting goose bumps; the smell of the dentist office makes my mouth water- and not in a good way!
But since my kids have started making their semi-annual trek to the dentist, I've put on a brave face for them. Luckily, they haven't had any cavities and I really try hard not to give off the sense that I don't like the dentist, or that there is anything to be afraid of. I certainly don't want to pass along my dentist phobia to them.
Now, there were certain things I fully expected to pass along to my children: my eyes, hair color, skin color etc. But yesterday I realized the extent to which some of my DNA had been passed along to Megan during her semi-annual dental check up.
Everything was going just fine, she sat in the chair and the dental hygienist (DH)came in. She was nice enough and made a little bit of small talk with Megan while they decided on the flavor of toothpaste to use during the cleaning.
...And then the cleaning began...
The DH put the toothpaste on Megan's teeth and rinsed with the water sprayer; she used the sucker thingy to suck out the water from Megan's mouth. I could see it was starting to be too much. I could sense it; I've been there before. There was too much going on in her mouth and the DH wasn't removing the items often enough to allow adequate recovery time. You see, I know this because Megan has obviously inherited my gag reflex. She's the child that gags every morning while she's brushing her teeth. She gagged while chewing her first piece of bubble gum. She's, well...she's a gagger- just like her momma.
She barely made it through the cleaning and the last step was the fluoride. The DH put it on her teeth and told her, "Now keep your mouth open for one minute; don't swallow it!" So Megan tried to follow the directions. She salivated; DH jammed the sucker thingy in her mouth- over and over again. Megan must have tried to close her mouth because DH then decided it would be a good idea to stick her finger, along with the sucker thingy, in her mouth to keep it open.
...And then it happened...
She gagged again.
I fired a warning shot to the DH. "Um, I think she has my gag reflex."
And another warning shot. "She's gagging pretty good there."
Megan's eyes watered as the DH said in her sing songy voice, "Just breathe. Just breathe. You are doing just fine."
Megan gagged and burped at the same time.
My final warning shot. "I think she might throw up."
DH continued in her sing songy voice, "Oh no, just breathe. Open and close your mouth on the sucker. Open, close. Open, close. That's right. Just like th---"
And a final gag and...
Thar she blows. Megan threw up all over herself, and the DH.
Then a tad bit of mayhem ensued. I was irritated; Megan was embarrassed and crying; DH was trying to convince me that it wasn't her fault. "You know" she said to me quietly as I used her sink to clean the puke off my hands, "Do you think she might not be feeling well? I mean, she didn't vomit last time she was here."
"Actually, no." I said. "She feels just fine. I told you she had my gag reflex and I'm sure that is why she threw up."
So, I suspect that in 6 months when we go back to the dentist that Megan may not be afraid of the dentist... but I'm pretty sure she'll be afraid of the DH- or at least afraid of fluoride!