November 16, 2005

Why we love going to dentist

We camped out at the dentist's office yesterday for nearly three hours so all three kids could have their check-ups (and Laura ended up with sealant on her molars; she was delighted to hear that she, like her beloved horse, has deep grooves). Not as bad as it sounds because

1. thanks to checkups every six months since they were tots (and before that, they'd sit quietly on me or nearby while I had my checkups), they lie there like champs, with their mouths wide open. Even when they don't have to.

2. thanks to the check-ups every six months, no cavities again. Well, there was that one horrible time when the youngest was too young for teeth and the eldest was old enough to more or less (apparently more) take care of her own and somehow middle child's mouth got neglected by Mommy -- not a good tendency with his tendency away from vegetables and other healthy snacks and toward anything sweet -- who was just so tired from looking after various children's ends and other odds and ends, and somehow middle child ended up with six, count 'em, six, cavities. All at one time. In that teeny tiny mouth. Oh. my. god. I think it was more traumatic for me than for Daniel. I am able to think about it now but am still secretly waiting and hoping for all those cavitied baby teeth to fall out. Soon, damn it.

3. I didn't have to pay this time. Whoopee! I didn't even mind that I had started writing out the check (which I can use next week when I go for my own check-up). Because this is Canada, land of national health care (see item no. 6), and because we go to the dentist twice a year, one child's visit annually is covered under the provincial health care system. (Of course, we could be like the other people in town and go once a year at most. At twice a year, a schedule started by my mother who grew up in war-torn Yugoslavia and ended up with dentures in her twenties, we are the village oddities.) I couldn't remember that the kids' visits in the spring had been on our dime, so it was a pleasant surprise to have the receptionist tell me no need to pay. Especially because this was a visit with x-rays and sealant. And I'm not going to mention the braces that I can see marching toward at least two of the kids. Did I mention we farm and have no private insurance that covers such niceties?

4. We left with a bagful of loot -- one prize each from the prize room (Laura got a braided, beaded bracelet; the boys, little plastic parachutists who've been making appearances down the stairs and into the basement), new toothbrushes and garishly colored and flavored floss, a pack of gum each (the dentist must be part of some Gum-ola scheme, because besides the gum I got a spiel about how this one brand of gum is actually good for our teeth. Yeah, right, more like good for the dentist's business) which I intend to save for a plane trip after the holidays. And something new for those with no cavities -- three coupons for a free movie rental. Double wowee.

5. Laura, a natural worrier like her mother, had her fears about the various bumps and gaps in her mouth allayed first by the hygienist and then by the dentist. The bumps are the belated arrival of her six-year molars (and yet not-quite-five-year-old Davy's x-rays showed that his six-year molars have just started breaking through the bone now). I tried to explain, but of course a mother isn't nearly as reliable as a trained professional.

6. Best of all and completely non-tooth related, the hygienist assumed that we're the same age. To which I will only say a) Ha! and b) I am delighted that at 41 and after nearly three hours in a dentist's office I can apparently pass for 35. I am so delighted, in fact, that I plan to overlook the fact that the wonderful, younger hygienist from Saskatchewan admitted that she had never heard of famous Saskatchewanian Tommy Douglas (father of national healthcare -- called Medicare, by the way, and not be confused with the other Medicare in the U.S. -- in Canada, not to mention Kiefer Sutherland's grandfather, ex-father-in-law of the newest Mr. Bennet, and winner of CBC's Greatest Canadian contest the other year). "I'm not that into politics," she explained.


Well, thanks for everything, and see you in another six months!

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