Sweet Tooth

Sharon Fuentes essays

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I hate the dentist! I know that confession is nothing new and profound. I mean come on, how many people do you know that write, “I am so excited because today I get to go to the dentist and have my teeth cleaned!” as their Facebook Status? Yeah, didn’t think so. But as a mom, I don’t want to impose my fears onto my innocent offspring. They have plenty of time to develop their own neurotic tendencies without me speeding the process along. So with that in mind I try extra hard to make our bi-annual pilgrimages to the Tooth Terminator as fun as possible so we can get in and out of their before he can say, “You’ll be back!” (That is to be read with an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice of course.)

Making going to the dentist fun is not easy. It requires much planning and a lot of bribing! On this particular visit I used the if you both get great check-ups you will get a special reward tactic; an oldie but goodie. All the way to the office my kids argued back and forth about what the reward should be. Hey, at least it made me think of something other than the appending calamity that no doubt awaited us.

I was doing fine until I got a whiff of that undeniable dentist office smell. It is a revolting mishmash of wintergreen toothpaste and bleach. I was both nauseated and scared, not a great combo. But I put on a pretend smile, for my children’s sake, and entered the House of Terror.

The cute little thing behind the front desk really didn’t say much to us as we checked in. My kids tried their best to engage her in conversation but she just politely smiled at them. I shooed them to the sitting area and gave her a “kids today” kind of halfhearted chuckle. No response. I guess I don’t really blame her. I mean if I had people coming in all day telling me how much they hated being there I wouldn’t be Miss Mary Sunshine either.

I sat down to wait and tried hard not to look at the picture on the wall of the before and after shots of decaying teeth and gums. The picture made me think of something so I asked my son a simple question. “Did you brush your teeth?” To which he responded, “Nah… why bother, they are going to do it for me anyway.” Yes one day I could be the proud mama of one of those decaying mouth shots on the wall.

I am happy to say that both kids got glowing reports, despite the fact that the hygienist had to remove half a bologna sandwich and chips from my son’s molars.

As we were making our appointments to come back in six months and do this song and dance all over again, the doctor came out and asked my children what reward they had come up with. Would they choose going to the movies? Was the Dollar Store (which ironically never has anything for a dollar) in my immediate future? No my children informed our Sugar buster dentist that what they wanted was for their Mama to make them homemade chocolate chip cookies. Because after all what better way to celebrate a great checkup then with cavities; I mean cookies.

While getting off cheap and only having to bake was music to my ears, I somehow felt as if I just got caught doing something naughty; with my hand in the cookie jar no less. But to my surprise our dentist replied, “Maybe she’ll make me a batch some time.” I am not sure if he was just letting me off the hook or if his “open up and say AHHHH” stamp of approval was just him making sure he had repeat customers? Either way I can’t help but think that if you want folks to not hate the dentist so much, why not serve them a cookie after their appointment? It will give them something to smile about, and with their mouths full they can’t complain about the bill!

About the Author

Sharon Fuentes

Sharon Fuentes is an award winning freelance writer, humor columnist, special needs parenting expert and author of the soon to be released book: The Don't Freak Out Guide to Parenting Kids with Asperger's Syndrome.

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