"Sealants are quick and easy," I told my six-year-old as we drove to the dentist. "They put a little something like glue on your tooth, and that keeps the plaque from making cavities. No cavities!" I cheered. "Sealants are great."
When we got to the dentist I signed us in. "Did you have any questions?" the receptionist asked.
"I had a billing question," I whipped out a statement I'd just got in the mail with an angry orange "SECOND NOTICE PLEASE PAY IMMEDIATELY" sticker on it. "I know my insurance sometimes doesn't cover all the x-rays, but I really thought they'd pay for the exam."
The receptionist frowned at the statement, then at her computer screen. "Actually, we received full payment from your insurance company the same day this got mailed out," she told me. "You can disregard this."
Way to give me a $213 heart attack. For a moment there I had thought we were eating rice and beans for the rest of the month.
Happy to disregard the angry orange sticker, I sat down with a book while my children played with toys and watched the video on the big screen across the room. My six-year-old sat quietly next to me until the dental assistant called him back. "It will be about thirty minutes," the woman told me.
Thirty minutes later, she came back. "He seems really frightened today. He won't open his mouth. We can try some laughing gas."
That's when I remembered what I had said to my son on the way to the dentist. I had said the word glue. Dang, I bet he thinks they're going to glue his mouth shut.
"We showed him everything we were going to do," the nurse seemed puzzled. "And he was so good for his filling last time."
Just glue my foot in my mouth.
After a few futile attempts to get my son to open up for the dentist, the man told me, "Doing sealants requires a high level of cooperation. We can try sedation or laughing gas, or we could try again some other time."
"Some other time," I said. Some other time after we get our tax return.
Once we got out in the car I gave my son a big hug, "I'm so sorry! Did you think they were going to glue your teeth together?"
He nodded, his big blue eyes full of worry.
"That was my fault. I shouldn't have said glue. Sealants are more like paint. They paint white on your tooth, and once the paint dries it is hard just like your tooth. You won't even notice that it's there. We'll try again some other time."
"Okay." My son didn't look worried any more. "We can try again next week."
"We can try again in the summer time," I said.
"In the spring?" he attempted a compromise.
"In July. That's when your next appointment is. And then you can get your sealants, and your teeth will be super strong."
"Superteeth!" he cheered.