Open Wide

December 11, 2009

Evan had a dentist appointment on Monday for a cleaning.  Olivia & I walked him over while my mom took Sarah to Highland Dance and Alex to choir.  Evan doesn’t like going to the dentist (who does?!)  but was fairly upbeat & chatty on the way there.  When we got to the door, he started acting reluctant, and then was fooling around, pretending to hide so that he wouldn’t have to go in.

The hygienist, Wendy, came out to get him and he said that he wanted me in the room with him.  I asked her if that was okay and she assured me that whatever made it easiest for him, we could do.  When Olivia & I got into the room, she asked us to go out in the hall before we got settled so that she could take his X-rays.

I realized that it was taking a long time, so I poked my head in to check on them.

Evan was sitting in the chair, mouth firmly closed.

Long story short:  I talked, cajoled and threatened, but he wouldn’t open his mouth.  He sat in the chair with his mouth shut and tears rolling down his cheeks until there was no time left because another patient was coming in.

As he was getting his coat on, the staff told me to take a deep breath and give him a hug.  They said not to re-book for six months to give him some time to put this behind us.

It was a pretty frosty walk home in every sense of the word.

When we arrived home, I told Evan to go straight to his room where he would stay until I calmed down supper.

We talked to him at supper and asked what he thought the consequences of his behavior should be?

We decided that he would lose all technology and he had to write a letter of apology which he then took to the office and read to Wendy:

“Dear Wendy,

I am truly, positively sorry for the way I behaved at my appointment yesterday.  I did not intend to waste your time.  The part I do not like about the dentist is the polishing part.  It makes me want to gag.  I did not mean to be disrespectful to you either.  Is there another kind of polish I could use so I don’t get that feeling?

See you in June.

Yours truly,


p.s.  Next time I will open my mouth”

Wendy thanked him and they decided that when he gets his teeth cleaned next time, they will use regular toothpaste for him instead of the polish.  He seems okay with that.

Ugh.  And we haven’t even hit the teenage years…


6 Responses to “Open Wide”

  1. Heather Says:

    The letter is so good and touched on all the things that are important. Not only did he apologize and spoke about the inconvenience to others, but he also articulated why he didn’t open his mouth. Hopefully he was able to see that his feelings/thoughts are okay, but there are appropriate ways to deal with those feelings.

  2. Hi Annie – congrats – you won the Fishful Thinking goodies on my blog giveaway! Email me with your mailing address and I will send out some totes to you!

  3. swimminhill Says:

    I hate to make light of what I am sure was (is?) a very trying situation….but I was so relieved after reading this post, I finally know how to get out of a dentist visit! 😉

    Hopefully Santa wasn’t watching!

  4. Carla Archibald Says:

    Anne you have great Mom instincts! Together you found a solution that incorporated respect for his feelings while still respecting the feelings of others ( Moms and dental hygienists included). I tip my hat to you both!

  5. […] on the agenda this week was a dentist appointment for Evan.  His last appointment resulted in disaster, so I was nervous about taking him back.  We did make some arrangements ahead of time so that it […]

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