Back in the summer, we had a terrifying experience with a dentist. It was Stanley’s first ever visit and he was scared. In fact, he was so scared that he was having a full on kicking, screaming tantrum in the waiting room. With the eyes of the room on us, I even went as far as to whisper the words: “If you calm down, I will give you a lollipop when we get home”, totally aware those were possibly the worst words I could ever mutter in a dentist. And not even that worked.
Just as I thought things couldn’t get any worse, our young, newly qualified dentist stuck his head into the waiting room to call Stanley in. He was wearing headgear that even I found quite frankly terrifying – and Stanley agreed, making a dash for the door that I had to save in a near rugby tackle as he attempted escape. Inside the room, things didn’t get much better. There was zero child empathy (our dentist even remarked: “Why won’t be open his mouth?”) and we left our appointment without him ever managing to look at his teeth.
Not only was it a waste of time, but I was worried that the experience had kick-started a life-long fear of the dentist in my 3-year-old. I imagined a future of avoiding dentists, tooth decay, and dentures. It was bleak.
But then I heard about Dr Michael’s Children’s Dental Center and went as far as to click on their website – and when I saw pictures of a place so different from our first traumatic experience with the dentist, I thought ‘why not?’ and decided to book an appointment.
Told on the phone that my 21 month old should come along on the day too (it’s never too early to start visiting the dentist, they explained), I took both the boys along to the Al Wasl clinic on a Saturday afternoon. And when we arrived and walked into the bright waiting room, I wished we’d arrived earlier and had longer to hang around before our appointment.
There were toys, there were books, there were complimentary healthy snacks and juice, there was a fish tank, there was even a garden with bikes they could head outside and ride. And if you are still struggling, there are even iPads available on loan, filled with kiddie appropriate apps and movies. And for the adults, there was coffee. On tap. I know; it’s exciting.
But just as the boys were settling down to play with some toys, their names were called by Dr Chantal Kengo; a pediatric dentist with over 30 years experience – and her kind, warm nature was world’s apart from the terrifying encounter we’d had just a few months ago.
After she’d greeted both the boys, we were led into Dr Chantal’s room to discover it was equally child-friendly. A row of monkey toys with big teeth sat on a shelf, with giant toothbrushes and mirrors underneath to practice brushing on the monkeys – and boxes of toys lined up in the room to keep waiting siblings happy until their turn.
Stanley had his turn first, delighted by the fact the chair moved up and down (he was allowed to go up and down at least 5 times, squealing with excitement every time) – and very happily opening his mouth and letting Dr Chantal have a look, before she gave his teeth a good brush and gave me tips on the correct way to do it at home.
Wilfred wasn’t quite so compliant, but Dr Chantal knew exactly what to do. She told me to sit him on my lap facing towards me, before gently lying him down so she could look in his mouth. A few minutes later and we were done. I couldn’t believe how easy it had been.
But it didn’t end there, as Dr Chantal revealed a tray of goodies called her ‘Brave Box’, giving both boys the chance to pick something for their bravery. Stanley chose a long balloon, which she promptly blew up for him – and Wilfred chose a flashing ball, giggling with delight. If that wasn’t enough already, they were both handed a bag as they walked out with the toothbrushes and mirrors that were used during their appointments.
Before we left, I booked their next appointment for 6 months time, confident that we’d found the best pediatric dentist in Dubai. And next time, we’re arriving earlier to make the most of this fabulously child-friendly place. And I never thought I’d ever look forward to the dentist…
Dr Michael’s Children’s Dental Clinic is located at Villa 1020 Al Wasl Road, Umm Suqeim 1. For more information, visit www.drmichaels.com or call 04 339 7700.
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