Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What I'm Looking For In A Dentist

I'm not satisfied with any of the dentists I've spent time with.  I simply can't find one that suits my needs.  It's not easy.

The dentist I had before I moved here was a really nice guy and didn't try to make me do things I didn't want to do (like have teeth pulled or get braces when I was 22) but he cleaned my teeth like the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors.  When I was were done, I'd look like I'd gotten punched in the mouth.  I stayed with him a long time though.  He was nice most of the time so I dealt with the abuse.  Age-old story.

Then I moved.  The first dentist I tried out was a minute-man.   A cleaning took literally as long as it takes me to brush my own teeth.  I can do that myself.  What do I need him for?

The next one, the one I'm currently seeing, cares way too much.   He wants to see me every three months.  He wants follow up visits.  I'm just not ready for that kind of commitment.  I don't think I'll ever be ready.  I want someone who I can see every 6 months, a nice quick cleaning and I'm on my way.  I don't want to talk about my feelings.  I don't want to try having my wisdom teeth pulled.  I'm 36 years old, if I had any interest in that I would've done it in my 20s.  I don't want to try anything new.  And, also, accept my faults.  I know my mouth is crowded, my teeth are crooked and I have a slight overbite.  Stop trying to change me.  Just clean my teeth and send me on my way.  Don't call me, I'll call you.

There should be a service for finding a dentist that's right for you. 1-800-Dentist doesn't cut it.  None of the search criteria suit my needs.  I'm looking for more than someone in my zipcode but I don't care if they offer Invisalign or bleaching services.

I need checkboxes with criteria like:
  • straight up, no kinks
  • no commitment
  • easily available
  • accommodating
So, I find myself ever-searching and unsatisfied in the dental hygiene area of my life.  I'm not whole until I find a dentist who completes me.  

(Local readers:  I'm totally serious.  If you know a dentist like this, hit me up!)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Kids Are Not Sorting Blocks

I know you usually come here for the humorous rants but I should preface to say that this one is more rant than humorous. I can only hope that you come for the comedy but stay for the stunning insight and social commentary.

As always, I continue to be concerned about our society but my latest concern is the extreme predilection for labeling children in our school system. I feel like the world has gone MAD in that everyone seems to have drunk the I.E.P. Kool-Aid (Independent Education Plan for the uninitiated).   An I.E.P. is what they give a child after they have been evaluated and diagnosed with something. The I.E.P. dictates that this child is special and needs extra time to do their work, or to take a break when necessary, or any number of ways in which this child needs to be treated differently so that they can develop properly.

Here's the thing. Not every child has ADD or Asperger's or Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Pervasive Development Disorder.  Or, they do, but they didn't have a name for it before, or a treatment.  Back in my day (says the old lady) it was called being a kid.  The one with Anxiety was "a bit nervous". The one with Asperger's was "a chatterbox" or "a daydreamer". The one with ADD had "ants in his pants."

I am certainly not saying that these disorders aren't real or that therapists aren't both talented and important. In many cases, diagnosis and treatment are both good and necessary. However, I think we are too quick to label or kids and sort them into the appropriate bucket. What ever happened to giving them a chance to mature a bit and figure out how school / life / friendship / the world works?  Sorting seems to be the path of least resistance.  The easy way out.   Stick a label on them and make it someone else's problem.

I've seen parents outraged that their child was evaluated and not given an I.E.P.   Isn't it a good thing that it was not deemed necessary for your child to receive intervention?  Doesn't that mean that the professionals don't think your child needs it?   The idea seems to be "Dammit, I pay taxes and should receive free help whether my child needs it or not!!!!"

And what ever happened to good old-fashioned (or in this case new-fashioned) parenting?   Therapists are not magicians.  They are not going to lay on hands and instill coping skills or anger management techniques into your child.  They are going to teach them through play, pictures and words. It's going to take time and not only is it within our ability as parents, to do so, it is our JOB! We are fortunate to have a wealth of information available to us at all times. Resources on the internet. Books in the library. Videos to watch. Games to play. It's our job to know our children, inside and out. It's our job to understand in which areas they need extra help and their learning style to best receive the help we want to provide to them.

It's your job to be you child's advocate.  It means knowing your child like nobody else possibly can. Yes. Sometimes that means fighting to get them the help you know that they need in the form of early intervention and an I.E.P.  But sometimes it means fighting the new norm which seems to be that nobody is normal.   It means putting in the time and effort to give your child the help they need instead of pawning it off on to a team of professionals and, in some cases, it means knowing when it's more than you can handle and getting help. Sometimes.

That's all for now.  I'll be funnier next time, I promise.