Going to the dentist was never something I hated. In fact, when I was younger, I used to look forward to going and getting to pick out my flavor of toothpaste, play with all of the cool toys in the office, and of course pick out something from the prize drawer.
But for some reason, taking my daughter Sailor (23 months) to the dentist was something I found myself majorly putting off. I could not imagine how she would sit in a chair and let someone put tools in her mouth! I know a lot of you moms can understand my hesitation.
We recently decided to take the plunge and go see Dr. Shari Carroll, and I am so, so happy that we did. We ended up having a wonderful experience, and Sailor has been talking about it ever since!
In preparation for our appointment, I got Sailor a Daniel Tiger book called “Daniel Tiger Goes to the Dentist”. We talked about all of the different things that she should expect- sitting in the chair that leans back, wearing a napkin/bib to keep her shirt clean, the different tools the doctor would use to clean her teeth, the stickers that she would get, etc. She had it down, and I knew this would be so important in preparing her for the experience.
We got to Dr. Carroll’s oceanfront, colorful, fun, kid-friendly, and welcoming office in no time and parked in the free lot that is below the building. We checked in, and by the time Sailor had marveled at the water/bubble wall display, it was time to go back and see Dr. Carroll! The office has a small kid-size door next to the main door for them to use- so fun! Sailor decided she was not up for it and went through the big door with mom ☺
The first thing we did when we went back was make a pit stop at the “Flavor Wall” where Sailor got to pick out what flavor of toothpaste she wanted. She was definitely prepared for this as Daniel Tiger had done the same in the book, so she was ready with her answer: “Berry, please!”
Next, we were led by the dental hygienist past the X-ray room, “sibling room” (an area with side-by-side chairs so siblings can have an appointment simultaneously), the “baby room”- a cozy room meant for tongue and lip tie consultations, and several other adorably decorated exam rooms- bright colors, surfboards, and more! – to our room.
The dental hygienist was extremely friendly, and Sailor warmed up to her immediately. She asked what shows/characters Sailor liked so she could play a movie on the screen that was located above the chair on the ceiling. Sailor chose her favorite, Frozen, and the movie started immediately. It is such a treat for Sailor to get to watch Frozen, so I knew everything was going to go well from there!
Soon after Sailor was all set up in the chair, Dr. Carroll entered the office and let the hygienist continue cleaning Sailor’s teeth while we chatted about any concerns I had. Dr. Carroll is so easy to talk to- she is open and warm, and chatting with her is like chatting with your best girlfriend..…. who is extremely knowledgeable about pediatric dentistry! My main concern for the appointment was first to make sure Sailor’s teeth looked good and that we were doing a sufficient job with brushing– and then, of course, the dreaded pacifier discussion!
Dr. Carroll was helpful and easy to talk to, giving me all of the information I needed without overwhelming me, and she was completely non-judgmental when it came to the pacifier situation. She even recommended that we don’t attempt to take it away anytime soon since we have a new baby coming. It was exactly what I was feeling and was so helpful to hear it from a professional.
Dr. Carroll continued to offer me advice as she jumped in to count and examine Sailor’s teeth further. She skillfully put Sailor at ease by explaining every step of what she was doing and showing Sailor each tool before she used it. Sailor was completely comfortable- so comfortable that she had no problem with anything Dr. Carroll was doing. It was reassuring to observe and felt like such a mom win to see my little one behave so well! Dr. Carroll and I continued to talk about the type of toothpaste and toothbrush we use, how often we are brushing, what Sailor is drinking, her lip tie, how to deal with smoothies and how they affect the teeth, and more.
Sailor did great and was distracted by Frozen playing above her on the ceiling for the majority of the appointment. Had there been any issues I would have just held her on my lap- they absolutely welcome any parent to do so!
The last order of business was to apply a layer of fluoride onto the teeth which took a matter of seconds! We were able to snap a couple fun pics to send to Dad, and then Sailor got the best part- her goodie bag! She was so stoked for the stickers (again, she was anticipating them because of the Daniel Tiger book!), a new toothbrush and her own tiny-sized toothpaste! Lastly, Dr. Carroll led Sailor down the hall to the prize bin where she was able to pick out a toy. She gained some confidence on our way out and decided to use the little door, so cute!
The experience was smooth, pleasant, enjoyable, and quick! Dr. Carroll was very kind, helpful, and knowledgeable. She made Sailor feel comfortable, and the staff could not have been more friendly. The office is a dream for kids- bright colors and fun stuff everywhere- toys, movies on the ceiling- Sailor honestly had a blast! The office is welcoming and organized- they had a welcome sign for Sailor at the front desk and at her room. They really go above and beyond to make sure the kids are comfortable and excited to be there.
Since the office is located in the beautiful Riviera Village, we were able to grab lunch after to make the day even more special. Sailor got to go through all the goodies in her goodie bag, and we talked about everything she did.
She is still, days later, talking about how she got to watch Frozen “on the ceiling”, which I think was the biggest highlight of all.
A few days after the visit Sailor even got a little note in the mail from Dr. Carroll thanking her for coming and that they will be looking forward to seeing her in 6 months. And- a major bonus- more stickers!
Looking back, I cannot believe I was dreading what turned out to be such a wonderful, positive experience. Sailor is so excited to brush her teeth, and we talk about her dental appointment on a daily basis! I know for sure that we will be counting down the days until we get to go back to Dr. Carroll’s office!
Suite 100 Redondo Beach