Monday, January 17, 2011

Visit to the dentist = partytime??

When did going to the dentist become akin to going to a kid's birthday party? Have kids always left the dentist's office with toothbrushes, balloons and loot bags? (Did I get royally screwed by a cheap dentist as a child?)

Since the Monkey is sprouting teeth faster than her big sister is growing, we recently took both in to get their teeth checked out. It was the Squid's third appointment; the Monkey's first.

After my first experience taking the Squid to the dentist, I put the hubby in charge of dental care. I go to help corral the munchkins, but it's the hubby's show. He's known the doc forever, so I just make sure the appointment's with her and we go from there.

Part of the reason I put him in charge is because the office is set up like a McDonald's, but without the food. The fact that there's an indoor playground in the dentist's office doesn't bother me (I sometimes wish they had one at my dentist's office.), but it can be a bit much when you're stuck in a room with a dozen toddlers and school-aged kids running and screaming at the top of their lungs. Not that I blame them. Going to the dentist doesn't exactly make my top 10 list of things to do. I've never even really had a bad experience, but spending 30-60 minutes staring at the ceiling while someone brushes, flosses and polishes your not-so-perfect teeth is not my idea of a good time.

Anyway, the appointment went well. Both girls have good, healthy teeth - and lots of them. The Monkey's even starting to get a molar!! But then the madness began. You see, the girls equate going to dentist to going to a party. They have to open their mouth for a few minutes and let people examine and clean their teeth, but that's over within minutes and then it's time for loot- lots and lots of loot.

I should say that I'm not anti-lollipop. I have no problem with physicians, dentists, eye docs... giving patients treats after an appointment. If giving a kid (or an adult, for that matter) a sticker or lollipop on the way out the door will make them keep still during an exam, I'm all for it. I have really good memories of getting to select a single toy/piece of candy from the treasure chest at my pediatric dentist's office. Hell, even today, I always look for the free lollipops and snacks when I leave my dentist's office after a cleaning. So I do support bribery. It can be useful, but it does seem to have gotten out of hand.

From this one visit alone we walked out the door with no less than: 2 balloons, 5 toothbrushes, and two goody bags filled with plastic yo-yo's, stickers, fake play glasses..... there was some other stuff in the goody bags but I'm not exactly sure what it is. It's mostly those  plastic toys parents stuff in goody bags to make them look fuller.

I didn't take any of the stuff away from the girls. They love their dentist and she loves them - that's not a relationship I want to challenge. And she and Mark have known each other since she was a teenager, so that probably has something to do with the amount of toys we walked away with. But how much is too much? When does the madness stop? What happened to the day when a kid walked out with a shiny new toothbrush and maybe one small toy?

I'm not going to rant anymore because I adore the girls' dentist and have no plans to go elsewhere. I would recommend her to anyone. But has anyone else experienced this? Does anyone else think that leaving the dentist with enough loot to stage a birthday party is a bit much?

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