Why I Don’t Take Our Kids to the “Kid Dentist”

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I had someone ask me the other day where I take our kids to get their teeth cleaned. She said, “I need to find a good dentist for my son. With all those kids, you must have a great kid dentist!” I told her who I go to, and said, “He’s just a regular ol’ dentist. No bells and whistles, no video games or TVs, just a regular dentist.” She was shocked that I don’t take them to a dentist where they can zone out, completely numb to what is going on around them, watching a tv in the ceiling or playing video games in the waiting room.

Wanna know why?

Our culture is all about the path of least resistance. We want what we want now, with no pain, and by George, we want to be entertained! 

I hate that. My kids already have things easier than I would like them to most of the time. Comparing the way I grew up with the way they are growing up makes me squirm sometimes. I want them to appreciate what they have, work for it, and not take it for granted. I want them to suffer consequences for their mistakes. And that goes for their teeth, too. I want them to know going to the dentist is nothing to be scared of…as long as you eat healthy and take care of your teeth. Granted, genetics play a part in tooth health, but I truly believe that our food and lifestyle choices play just as large a role. And if they have a cavity, I want them to know what it feels like. I know that sounds mean. But I’m not saying they need to get a hole drilled in their teeth with no pain meds, I just want them to be conscious of what is going on in their bodies, and to know that if they don’t properly care for their teeth, there are repercussions from that.

I don’t want our kids going to the dentist and staring like zombies at a screen while the dentist does his thing. I want them to know what he’s doing. I want them to have to sit there, UNentertained, maybe even bored a bit. Because it’s good for them. So many kids nowadays barely know how to sit through a boring church service or a funeral or wait in a fluorescent-lighted waiting room for an hour. I can be guilty of that just as much as the next person. I’ve given my kids the iPad to keep them entertained while at doctor appointments before. But I really, truly, try to have them just have to sit sometimes, even when it makes no sense to them.

There we are, sitting in the car, waiting for daddy to get done with work. The iPad and iPhone sit, unused, in the front seat. Of course, the kids ask if they can play on them. And you know what I say? NO. And they whine and cajole and ask me why they can’t play, and I say, “Because it’s good for you to have to SIT sometimes without being entertained. Stare out the window. Watch the birds. Look at your dirty fingernails. I really don’t care. But just SIT. It’ll make your brain grow.

It’s good for them. It makes their minds reach beyond the screen and actually imagine.

And that’s what my kids are gonna have to do at the dentist for the rest of their childhoods. Lay back in the seat, stare at the ceiling just like I did growing up, and twiddle their thumbs. Not on a joystick either. They are going to grow up and probably purposefully take their kids to a “kid dentist” because they were so deprived as children. But heck, at that point, I really won’t care, because those will be my grandkids, and I’ll just want to have fun with them.

Follow-up note: I don’t have anything against pediatric dentists or dentist who specialize in children–it’s just the need to entertain that I have an issue with. It’s definitely just my opinion, though, and is not something I am saying other people need to change in their lives!

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Comments

  1. Mickey says

    THANK YOU!!! I’m so tired of our culture having to dumb down everything for our kids. Why do they need to be entertained all the time? P.S. I may borrow you’re “It’ll make your brain grow” quote. lol

  2. April says

    I totally agree. I actually do take my kids to one of those dentists, but I always feel like it’s such an extravagant thing. Now that my kids have tasted the good life, though, it would be hard to switch.

  3. Heather Simpson says

    Once again, you nailed it! I’m with the commenter above, I might steal your brain growing comment! Our culture really does need to step back and calm down a bit.

  4. Sandy says

    Well….I have a bit of a dental phobia, and I take care of my teeth, but when I need a filling, I really appreciate the distraction of the little t.v. to take my mind off things…. :)

  5. says

    That’s a reason I love the dentist my kids go to. It’s a pediatric office, so it’s very kid friendly. HOWEVER, outside of a few toys (blocks, puzzles, books) in the waiting area, thery’re all business. No tv’s. No games. Nothing. Get them in and get them out.

  6. Jen Alcorn says

    Totally on your side with softening kids lives and putting them in bubbles of comfort. We go without in a huge way to make some points and life lessons on entitlement. However…..I was traumatized by #1 bad teeth and #2 an older dentist with too large of hands and parents who could only afford minimal coverage. I would get physically sick on my way, and remain sick the whole day after an appointment. I didn’t go for 2 decades due to this, and believe me, my teeth are paying the price.

    I’m thrilled my kids love to go to the dentist…it’s the only place they get video games! And it’s only twice a year, so I let ‘em.

    Jen

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