Thursday, May 8, 2008

Not a matter for the Tooth Fairy

Here's a question for you parents (and non-parents) out there in the blogosphere. Would you take your children to a dentist who doesn't allow parents to go back with the kids?

We've lived in Austin since our children were born, but just recently moved north of Dallas. Our pediatric dentist in Austin was fabulous, I was really, really sad to leave them. So, I'm slightly biased after such great care. I went back to the cleanings with my children, sat through their exams, everything was fine.

Well, in our new town, with our new pediatric dentist, I was told to wait in the waiting room until the cleaning and xrays were done, then they would call me back to meet with the dentist. They told me to "enjoy your break."

Now, I'm all for enjoying a break from the kids, but this struck me as odd. I mean, it's nice to be given the option of staying in the waiting room or going back...but I wasn't given an option. I was TOLD to STAY.

Children are minors, right? YES. Shouldn't their parents be with them when they're seeing other adults? I mean, I'm not looking for pedophiles around every corner, I'm sure they were fine getting their teeth cleaned, but I just feel like this is odd...or am I overreacting? I need your imput, please!!

My older son went back with my younger son, so that was nice. And, the younger one ended up crying because the xray thing hurt his mouth...and apparently the dental hygenist told him there was to be NO crying and it wasn't allowed. Did she say this sweetly? I don't really know. But, my 11 year old was the one who shared this, and it didn't happen to him...he heard it happening to his 6 yr old brother. He said the woman was mean about it...

So, what would you do? I liked the dentist when I met with him. The kids seemed fine after the visit. Would you say something to the dentist or the office staff, that you want to go back with your kids? Or would you find a new dentist? Or would you just keep going back without saying anything?

This isn't a matter for the tooth fairy yet...but I could see consulting her in the near future for her opinion...


Lottery Girl said...

My dad was a dentist for over 50 years, and during high school, I worked in his office. Also, I'm the mother of three, and since we've moved around a bit, we've had many dentists, some good, some not so good.

First, trust your instincts. If you don't like the place, move on. You really do know best.

The dental assistant sounds like she shouldn't be working with kids. With that said, my dad had a great way with kids, but he preferred parents to remain in the waiting room, because sometimes kids act up for the sake of mom.

Next, most pediatric dentists these days have a huge, open operatory that contains several chairs, so that for most procedures, the kids all see what's happening to the others. So there really isn't much of a chance that your kid is alone with any adult.

I loved our last pediadontist, but I intensely disliked his staff. Also, the turnover was awful in his office, and he always hired more grouches. Moved the whole family to a general practitioner, who was terrific.

All Things BD said...

I've done both. My kids' dentist has a TV in each room so they get to watch videos while they are getting work done. This relaxes them and I don't need to stay there.

I feel like the more I insert myself into the situation, the bigger deal it becomes with my kids (I think they pick up on my fear of dentists which I've shielded them from). Once we get a good dentist that the girls were comfortable with, I let them go in to get treated by themselves. I only go with them if it's a big procedure.

We've recently had extractions done, and I was in the room but tucked away in the corner with my nose in a book so as to make it more relaxing for my daughter.

HOWEVER, all the hygienists have been awesome. I don't care how nice the dentist is, if the lady who cleans their teeth and does xrays is bad, I won't go back. The kids get their first impressions from those folks, and if they're mean, they won't respond well to the dentist when it really counts. In my opinion of course. :)

Valarie Lea said...

I like having the option to go back or not. I don't do very good with people telling me I can't go somewhere with MY children. I would probably find a dentist where I could go back if I wanted to. I had an eye doctor tell me I could not go back with Syd when she was younger, against my better judgement I let her go back. I could hear her in the room with the DR and the Nurse. When I heard him say, you wont get to see your mommy untill you stop crying, I went in got her and never went back. So I am for being able to go back if you want to. :)

crazy4danes said...

My dad is a dentist and I worked in his office as an RDA for years. I agree with lottery girl about trusting your gut feelings. My dad preferred parents to wait in the waiting room as well, because some children will act up when the parents are standing right there, so it just makes everything run a little smoother without mom sometimes.

I worked in a vets office for years too, and we rarely let owners back in the treatment area for the same reason. So I don't think it's odd at all that they asked you to wait. If you like the doctor than stick with him.

Hope this helps!

Indy said...

I think that if you like the dentist, stay with him. It is great that your kids like him. I would take it app't by app't. You can always change if you start to feel uncomfortable or you aren't being consulted for decisions.

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

Hmmm...this is a toughie. I understand the dentist's point of view...but I think you should be able to go back if you wanted to. I do think you should completely trust your mommy instincts. I used to own a nanny placement agency...and sometimes I would get parents who would ask me my opinion about the nanny cam (not that I ever had an issue with my issues were almost all parental...but that's a topic for another day). And I would tell them that if they felt like they needed one...then they just needed to move on. Don't wait to see what's on the your insticts. So, Rhea, if your instincts are setting off warning bells, move on.

We actually went through a series of pediatric dentists...and I thought they were not really good with the kids. One had a set up like what was mentioned by lottery girl...and it was most disconcerting to watch them try and do a filling on a girl who was screaming...and then they expect my child to remain calm. Eventually, I just brought the kids to my dentist...and we are all happy.

Gene Bach said...

Not in this lifetime. Find someone else.

Unknown said...

As a qualified ex dental assistant, I would say No, No, No!

Why shouldn't you be with the kids at a time when they have a tendency to stress, Seems like they may be hiding how they treat troublesome kiddo's.

Rhea said...

Lottery Girl - I think trusting my instincts is a good call. I do think the back room there was big and open, so there wasn't any funny stuff possible.

All Things BD - TVs in the rooms is a great idea for kids! I like it. I definitely don't want to cause my kids an anxiety by being back there with them, but we've always had pretty relaxed visits so I don't think I'm the problem. lol

Valarie - I like having an option, I have to admit. That's awful about the eye doctor experience.

Crazy4Danes - My kids don't usually act up with me around like that. They're really good kids (when we're out in public, home can be a different matter. lol).
Interesting vets do that too.

Indy - I will probably give them another chance.

Kat - That's so cool you had a nanny placement agency. I bet you have some great stories from that. Nanny cams...hmmm...scary.

Gene - You saying you don't want to give any imput? Or that I should find a new dentist? I wasn't sure from your comment.

Britgal Sarah - I wasn't worried about my older son, he is so calm and handles things's the younger one I was worried about.

Thanks everyone for your wonderful and helpful advice. I'm going to mull over it a little longer...we're do back because each boy had one cavity and we're going to get them filled. We'll see how that goes and I'll reevaluate the situation. :o)

Catherine said...

Rhea, all my life I have been scared concerning dental cares because when I was young our the dentist was a real sadic. My mother was with me, but I remember he was telling me "It doesn't hurt, does it?" to me, my mouth was wide open. I couldn't answer, it was really hurtful. That was really a kind of "trauma".
When Gabriel's hurt his anterior baby teeth at the parc, no hospital wanted to take charge of him (hospital ER are not specialist for dental care), so her teacher advised me a pediatric dentist. She was used to work with very young children, and she reassured her little patient and his mom. She really have an emotional approach! She allowed me to sit, myself, and take Gabriel on my knee during the medical care. I'm sure he would have been in trouble if I was told to go outside, that's sure! Every thing went fine. And he wasn't scared to return, as I was at the same age, and I am still. Rhea, do the better you think for them, trust your instinct, and all will be fine.

Anonymous said...

My husband, son and I all go to the dentist at the same time. Everyone knows us, we know them, we can all be with each other if we want, everyone is friendly. They even have todays for the kids at the end of the appointment. I like it!

CrystalChick said...

I'm commenting kind of late on this one but here goes anyway:
It's all a matter of how you and your sons feel about it. I was at an office for some oral surgery with my son years ago and after the initial appt. I wasn't allowed back and that was odd to me because he was younger. Now that he's older he sees an orthodontist for braces and there are two benches in the main room and a few chairs for patients. I didn't know that ortho offices were like that and found the community grouping to be odd too (what about people who LIKE privacy while a doctor is digging around in their mouth) but he didn't mind. I have gone in and watched, other times I am at the front desk chatting with the secretaries. LOL At our family dentist there really isn't enough room in the treatment room for another person so I wait in the reception area, again, chatting with the office manager.
Maybe you could ask them why that is their policy and tell them you are uncomfortable with it and see what they say. It's either because parents like myself are chatty and might be too curious back there and not give the person the silence they need to work, OR the kids feel nervous with extra people in the room, or something else. Ask, and if they don't give you an answer that is comforting and your kid wants you there, find someone else.

Anonymous said...

They even have todays? Ummm. TOYS! I meant TOYS!

Geeez, I didn't sleep enough last night, those typo monsters really got me!

Rhea said...

Thanks for the advice, Catherine, Kim and Crystal Chick, I really appreciate y'all taking the time to read and comment and let me know what you think. It helps!

And, Kim, I was so confused by your comment at first, but I figured you had to have meant toys. lol

Utter Basketcase said...

Oh HECK No!!!

I wouldn't allow it! Especially after the experience I've had with a dentist, while my mum was forced to stay outside!!!

*Cringes* xx

Chatterness said...

NO, no and no. I want to be there for my child. No more commenting needed on my part. I'm adamant that if I can't be there, then WE are outta there!

tearese said...

Yes, you need to go back there. THey had this dentist on the news in Seattle. He worked with a lot of medicaid patients, and had had several people file suits against him for hurting their kids, but the state wouldn't prosecute or something because there are so few dentists who will do medicaid people.
He had been quoted as saying that he was always working with "wild kids" or "That type of kid" (meaning medicaid people I guess) so it took stronger measures.
Basically, he was accused of overly restraining children, many had cuts on the outside or inside of their mouth from his instruments etc.
After I saw that news report, I vowed I would always go back with my kids!

Jules said...

Oh man Rhea! TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS! That's why you have them. Don't talk yourself out of what your gut is telling you. This posts raised all sorts of red flags for me, and I'm only READING it. You're living it.

Why don't they let you go back with them? You did at your other place. Maybe you should tell them that, if you didn't. If they still don't let you.... then that's WAY too suspicious. Your kids aren't scared of the dentist, and don't they feel comfortable when you are nearby? TRUSE YOUR GUT. Don't second guess it.

We go to one of the best ped. dentists in the area. All the doctors take their kids there. Ours specializes in children with special needs and they ALWAYS let parents go back. Nothing to hide. And my kids have no problems going.

Whereas a friend of mine went to one like you describe. In the back they had a kid who was getting a tooth filled - no parents there. The kid's hands were strapped down and his mouth was taped open. It was really horrid. And the parents weren't there to see.

Rhea, there are lots of good dentists out there. Maybe you could go and interview a few. See what their policies are. You are your child's protector. Xrays shouldn't hurt and there is NO WAY your baby should even WANT to cry at the dentist. It could scar him for life and make him hate visiting! RHEA, trust what you're feeling!!

Kim said...

I have had several different dentist with some BIG teeth issues here in Atlanta and I say no dice!! You should have the option adn now 4 years later my kids are saying, "Can you wait here outside for us?" It feels great being turned away by the kids but not the dentist. Also, my child was put in time out for crying. Come to find out, lots of not nice things were said. Moms always know best.

Andrea said...

I say the waiting is not too big of a deal, but you should be given an option. I prefer to wait if they are older-it does give me a moment.

The tech doesn't sound too kid friendly. I bet she wouldn't have said that if you were standing there.

Maybe try again, but if you get bad vibes---move on.