I really have to change my habit of being early for an appointment. Every time I give myself an extra thirty-minute window -- because in New York it doesn't take a Chilean earthquake for the trains to screw up -- I always wind up with forty minutes to kill. Go figure.
On my own it wouldn't be a problem, I would just read a book. But escorting an excited three-year-old to his first dentist appointment, I learned that every minute in the waiting room is more torturous than waiting at the DMV. I hadn't even taken my coat off and already the three-year-old was climbing through the window of the playhouse. The little girl inside probably wouldn't have been so terrified if he wasn't screaming "Somebody check my brain!" at the top of his lungs.
While checking in, I saw him moving in on every kid with a goody-bag for finishing an appointment.
"Did you get a toy?" he asked a little boy. When the boy nodded he pressed on, "Is it a Power Rangers?"
When he tried to pilfer a sticker from a little girl, I had to intervene. Needless to say, when he finally got his own goody-bag he plowed through the stickers in four seconds, threw his yo-yo on the floor and seemed upset that there was no Power Rangers doll inside.
At least he got to see the dentist - something he was looking forward to for the longest time. Referred by a friend, the Kids Dental Village in Woodside was outstanding. The atmosphere, the tiny examination chairs, the silly sunglasses for the big light they shine into the patient's face and of course the staff are totally kid friendly.
I wish I knew about this place for my five-year-old's first visit. I made the mistake of taking him to a regular dentist who was recommended as being "good with kids, too" but that was far from the truth. She couldn't be bothered and left when my son, who was three at the time, couldn't come to grips. She was awful, like the female version of Steve Martin's character in Little Shop of Horrors.
It is important to find a pediatric dentist, not just any dentist who happens to see children. I mean if you think about it, seeing a dentist can be a distressing experience for an adult, imagine how threatening it must seem to a child.
And if you're wondering what age to bring your child in, our dentist Dr. Pabrim stated they like to see kids as early as a year and a half. Better late than never.