Our Son’s First Trip To The Dentist Office

If only we got that far. That boy looks quite calm doesn’t he?

Ah Dentists. They are required part of life, but so many of us fear their existence and the dreaded trip to their offices.

You would think with all the cool stuff a dentist office provides, kids would love it.

Televisions everywhere including on the ceiling, toys, books, cool gadgets, the best flavours in toothpaste and the free toothbrush you get at the end.

I wish dentist offices were like that when I was a little guy.

Anyways, we had our first trip to the dentist for our 3-year old on the weekend and it was a learning experience.

The final verdict – he called it off at the moment of truth.

What we learned? That too much waiting time can hurt your chances of success. The wait was not the only factor but I think that is what put it over the edge.

Harrison’s day started really early. He was up at 6 am I believe, which was not a good sign for a noon appointment with the dentist that he had never met.

Anyways, with him, it is hard to ever really tell.

All week we had been getting him used to the idea of what a dentist was and what was going to happen. My wife even book her appointment before his, so he could get a live look at what the dentist would do.

The mood shifted. One day, he would be interested. The next, he would say he did not want to go.

Back to Saturday morning.

We had gotten him into a mood of excitement or at least humouring us. The bribe of a treat or toy afterwards really went a long way.

Yes, we know you should not bribe them, but whatever, we did.

We went to the mall where the dentist office was and did a little window shopping as we went.

Of course there was a toy store very close. Ding, ding, ding. Harrison was already zoning in on his victory treat.

Now we just had to get -er- done.

The office was full of very friendly and smiley people (for a Saturday).

Ever more so when they learned it was Harrison’s first trip.

I was part of the team as I had Charlie and was there for moral support and to watch everyone while my wife sat in the big chair.

There were two TVs that were locked onto the news.

There was also a kid’s area full of Lego and books. Two of Harrison’s favourite things. So this won’t be bad right?

My wife got called in and Harrison tagged along for the trip. It was like a ride along.

Shortly after Harrison was back. He had seen enough and wanted to be back where the toys and books were.

From here I read books, entertained Charlie, got out snacks, picked up Lego, tried to keep Harrison from running out to see the toy store and of course there were a few bathroom breaks.

Things were going okay. Harrison was still in the zone for trying the whole dentist thing out.

Then time started to drag.

My wife was in longer than we expected and things started to go past the noon hour.

Then the combo of tired, hungry, bored, nervous and annoyed was hitting Harrison.

If you have a little kid, you know that once you reach that point, it does not take much to push things to tantrum town.

Finally my wife was out.

Time for Harrison to go in. From here, I only know what I was told.

It went something like this.

Harrison was fine getting into the chair and even liked that Mike the Knight was playing on the TV above.

But all the dentist was able to get to was counting teeth.

Harrison did not want them cleaning his teeth. Why?

They did not have the right toothpaste. The right toothpaste being exactly what we have at home. Watermelon.

It was over before it even started.

Rightfully so, they won’t work on a kid that is not wanting to be there and is not calm.

So they said we should try again later as maybe he is not ready.

On the way out, Harrison even said something like, next time he would bring his own toothpaste.

So there you have it.

Two hours at the dentist, and we still have to go back for Harrison’s first real appointment.

We are in no hurry. Maybe he is just not ready. I am willing to try again and take him with just the two of us.

Next time, we will try to make it a shorter trip, maybe earlier in the day and definitely make him more aware that it has to happen at some point so he might as well just do it.

There was no treat this time. We did not want to cave. There were tears but by the time we got home, all was better.

Anyone out there have a similar first dentist appointment story? Maybe one much more positive?

What did your kids like and not like about the first time?

The biggest thing I got out of the whole experience was wondering if dentists put TVs on the ceiling in their own house? Seems like such a good idea.



  1. Susan Bryant

    Hey Michael–

    And did you have to pay for this sans watermelon visit? Just wondering.

    My 2 cents on bribery with kids is that it’s good. Do it. And tell them that they can never be a senator in Canada as a result. I think it’s a small price to pay.

    Loving these glimpses into you, Charlie, Harry’s life.



    • Nope, it was all covered. So we did not have to pay. I agree with the bribery.

  2. At least this trip took some of the unknown out. That should help next time. I remember my older son’s first trip to the dentist. The dentist did little other than look in his mouth. It was a good move as he has never been afraid to go.

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