Dear Dentist and Staff,
Thank you for seeing my children. I'm putting them in your care because you are highly trained and can provide a service they need.
Please keep in mind that I am also highly trained, both in my education and also in my children. I do hold a college degree from a genuine private college. I had a double minor, too! They put me in the Honors Program my last 3 years, the Dean's list all but one semester (stupid math class), and put the words magna cum laude after my name on the graduation program. I then got a Master's degree, and had two babies while finishing it.
I'm also knowlegable about my kids. I know them much better than you do, so when you recommend things, I consider who my kids are and what I believe they need. Banning me from the exam room is a huge disrespect to me and my children! I know for a fact that they'll be more anxious alone, and that my presence can calm their nerves. When I refuse to let you administer general anesthesia for simple fillings, it's because I know for sure that they can get by without it. Two of them have had fillings without novacaine because our homeopathic remedies was all they required! Why don't you trust my knowledge of my kids? Adult patients are not all the same, and neither are kids.
Now, I don't usually toot my own horn like this, but you need to know that I am not a nincompoop like you seem to believe. I understand the words you say (you don't even need to reword the things you tell me). The perky, patronizing voice you use is how people talk to a child or a crazy person, not a grown woman with a sound mind. When you act like you're the only smart person in the room, it hurts my feelings and frustrates me.
The hygienists who yelled at me in front of my children should be reprimanded in some way. They should understand that flouride is a controversial topic these days for good reason, and that my caution about it is rooted in protecting and caring for my children. They accused me of being negligent and even abusive, but I explained that I don't want to put something harmful in my kids. Maybe the anti-flouride info is truly wrong -- but if there's a chance that this stuff could damage my kids' brains and teeth, I won't have it unless there's a clear benefit that outweighs the risk. I need you to respect the fact that I've read 5 books by dentists/doctors about this (not just little internet articles!), and haven't been convinced that it will benefit them. Even if I'm wrong, I'm gathering information and weighing it the best I can. Let's face it, I had it in my water and treatments and toothpaste and moutwash as a kid, and I still got cavities. And we all know that the pharmaceutical companies that push it are trying to make money, so how can we trust what they say about safety? Give me some respectful, thoughtful reasons to consider it -- not an angry tirade. That will never change my mind.
When I show our Medicaid cards, they are not a sign that I'm an unfit parent. We qualify because we have a few kids, and live on one income. We are not huddled in a cardboard box on the street, like you seem to think. I do know how to brush their teeth. Heck, I've taught them to tie shoes, read and add! Do you want them to recite the Preamble to the Constitution? Rolling your eyes when I say we brush twice a day is just plain rude, no matter how dumb you think I am. And while we're at it, the plain fact of having 5 kids is not a proof of subpar intelligence, either!
We've only found one dentist's office that is respectful and understanding in every way. Out of the six offices we've seen and countless others that I called, this is disturbing, to say the least. The fact that all the others acted in the same disrespectful way toward me tells me that something is very wrong in our society, at least in our dental offices today. True, some of you were not as bad as others, but I wish we'd found all but one to be pleasant, not the other way around.
I come to you with respect for your knowledge as a dentist. I need you to respect my knowledge, too. I've chosen to be a full time mom, with my career on hold during this season. Please stop acting like you need to teach me how to be a good parent.