I may be on the case for getting most things sorted following our move to Canada, but 10 months in, there’s been one item which has constantly been re-prioritised and moved down the list …. never to appear at the top. I’ve done doctors, schools, swimming classes, art classes, realtors, solicitors, window cleaners, car dealers, tax returns … the list has been endless. I’ll just say one word …. dentist. Say no more.
I wasn’t ignoring it as such. In fact, I had this rather bizarre and extreme thought that maybe I could continue to visit my UK dentist on the rare ‘once a year’ return trips back home. I accept it’s a rather expensive reason for a ‘trip’ just to have an annual checkup – in every way possible – costs, time and distance. All, just to have our gnashers checked. My experience of dentists has not been positive, and it’s been a dull ache in the back of my mind, knowing it had to get sorted in some shape or form. Rather than being in denial, I’ve moved it into a new category entitled, ‘things to procrastinate over’. As another form of delay, it’s been sat there for the last few months as an item on the ‘to-do’ list as soon as the kids go back to school.
Anyhow, circumstance have taken their own course, and 2 weeks ago my youngest kid went on a ‘playdate’ with a friend she’d met at her swimming class. Turns out, her mother is a dental nurse and provided a strong recommendation of a place to visit – literally, just round the corner. So, contact them I did and this week, the kids all went for their first visit to a Canadian dentist.
I’ll say it now. The whole experience, from start to finish (apart from the fact we turned up at the dentist and left again), bore no relation at all, to any previous experience of going to a dentist in all my 43 years on this earth. Suffice to say, I think the Canadians have developed the ideal solution for maintaining kids teeth and providing strong incentives for them to look after them properly …..
My research-bed for making such a rash statement isn’t large – I’ll grant you that. In fact, based solely on 1 dentist visit alone. But if it’s positive, fun, engaging and interesting – gets both kids and adults conscious about their teeth and preventative ways of looking after them, that can be only a good thing. That’s not to say my UK dentist isn’t good. I’ve never had any complaints – apart from having to go every 9 months. He is always polite, informative, and friendly – and welcomes me through the doors. The hygienist can talk the hind legs off a donkey, but given I’m often prevented from contributing to the discussion due to the various cleaning implements and tools she lodges in my mouth during the process, it is usually more a one-sided tirade on the issues of the day, which often sees me just nodding with acknowledgement and resignation.
So, back to Canada. Each of the kids were in the ‘chair’ and having their teeth and mouth cleaned and checked for 1 hour apiece. How do you keep 3 kids occupied during this process I hear you ask? TV’s of course – set into the ceiling above each chair along with a set of personal headphones which they can put on (plus a remote control to change the channels – obviously), whilst the dental nurse does all the necessaries on their gnashers. X-rays taken from every angle, shown on laptops and used to assess the health of their teeth. All were shown how to brush and floss – and a dye put on their teeth to visually demonstrate that despite my middle kid’s frantic attempts to suddenly brush properly that morning, plaque was still in evidence. Whilst all 3 have usually been pretty good where teeth are concerned, it acted as a super real-life demonstration of how they needed to ‘up their game’ with their teeth. Once clean, the dentist also reviewed all the x-rays, teeth and feedback from the nurses to make her own assessment. The ‘winning’ formula also included a ‘goody bag’ upon departure – not just a sticker which they’ve always previously received from the dentist at home (I even remember getting one each time I visited when I was little, and don’t get me wrong, was something to look forward to on each visit in the UK) – but this bag had a range of flossing tools, toothbrush, toothpaste and several kids mini-toys. The toys were tokens rather than valuable expenses, and to say it was a bonus feature, would be an understatement. The kids were delighted and distraught to be leaving – I was beginning to wonder if we would have to be forcibly removed from the premises, such was their reluctance to depart so soon.
Has it lasted I hear you ask? Well, so far since their visit, the kids have been much more attentive and focused on spending time in the bathroom getting their teeth clean and flossed, rather than creating potions with the soap and shampoo, and leaving them to congeal on the facecloths, sink and floor. Time will no doubt tell.
That said, I’m glad I finally got round to sorting it out. Now for my turn. I’m due for my checkup next week and it’s set me wondering about what will be in my goody bag? Now where’s that floss …… 🙂