This was a terrible experience. It's hard enough to find a pediatric dentist in the area with any openings, but I see why these guys were able to get me in the same week--I can't imagine anyone actually going back a second time! Here's what happened:
When I spoke with the secretary on the phone to make the appointment, I felt like this would be a good choice. Among the questions I asked, one was if they would let me stay with my 4-year-old the whole time, and she said yes. I had high hopes they'd be able to help take care of my son's toothache.
When we walked in the doors, it seemed like a child-friendly place--toys in the waiting room, colorful cute pictures on the walls. When I was filling out the paperwork, I received a sheet of paper outlining how they would treat my child. The first item on the sheet was "Tell, Show, Do." It said their policy is to TELL the child what they were going to do, then SHOW them (either on themselves or on a picture), and then DO it. Everything looked good.
First a dental assistant greeted us with a friendly voice and led us back to the Xray room. She said I had to step out of the room to avoid Xray exposure on myself. I didn't like to let go of my nervous child's hand, but it was only a few steps away to go out the door, and he could see me... Plus, it was a pretty fast process. However--she didn't put the vest on him! I didn't notice this until after it was done--what the heck!?
Then she told me I had to go wait in the waiting room while they cleaned his teeth, but I could watch him through the window. I refused. I said I was told I could stay with him the whole time, and if they didn't allow that, I would just leave. Her friendly face faded. She went to go talk with her coworkers about how to handle this. (Really, people, the best thing to calm a nervous child down is having a trusted parent there to hold his hand and talk to him! You've never seen this before?)
Then another dental assistant, a male, came up to us and said "follow me." We went to a small side room, and he told my son to get up on the chair. He proceeded to clean my son's teeth, and I was allowed to hold his hand. However this dental assistant was rude. He didn't smile or try to make my son feel playful or comfortable. He used abrupt sentences, when he had to speak to us at all. He did not use "Tell Show Do." Rather, he gave snippy commands: "Open." "Close." "Chew." Yes, really, I'm not even exaggerating!
After the teeth were cleaned, the DA looked at the Xrays and said they were done wrong, so we had to go back and do them again. Again, no explanations or comforting words, just "Open." "Bite down." Etc. At least he put the vest on my son this time!
We waited for a long time back in the exam room and finally the dentist arrived. He also did not use "Tell Show Do," and he was also not at all friendly or approachable. He didn't say a word besides basic business, didn't ask questions about how we handled tooth care, nothing like that. Just spoke to the DA, who was taking notes, "Tooth C has decay," etc. He finished his brief inspection of the teeth, then looked at the new Xrays. He decided he didn't like them for some reason, and asked the DA to do them again. So we went back to the Xray room a 3rd time! Then back to the exam room.
Another long wait. (With 2 wiggling kids in a 6-foot square non-child-proofed room, mind you!) We'd been here over an hour at this point. FInally the DA came back and announced, "He has 8 cavities. Two of them need crowns. Go to the front desk and they'll make an appointment for you." No discussion about whether or not some of them might be necessary, considering my son will start losing his teeth in less than 2 years. No consultation, nothing. He didn't even give us a toothbrush, much less a sticker or small toy I'd expect for a pediatric dentist!
Needless to say, I told them we'd never come back! What a bunch of hacks and phonies. Don't trust your kids to this place. Meanwhile, I've been doing some research, and I'm going to try to remineralize my son's teeth. I found out one of my friends has treated her child's terrible teeth problems by switching to a diet advocated in a book called "Cure Tooth Decay" by Ramiel Nagel. It can't hurt to try. If it doesn't work, and I need to find another dentist, well, I'd rather drive out of state than go back to Topeka Dental Clinic.
August 19, 2012