Does Your Kids’ Dentist Like Kids?

Do you know the name of your child’s dentist? This is a great question Eve Rodsky asks fathers.

I certainly do. But I often mumble it in frustration. Dr. A’s office is the most baffling of all the doctors I bring my daughters to see.

Pediatrician – office does almost everything on a portal.

The allergist – a scheduling machine.

Dermatologist? Book out months and it works fine, if not for the liquid nitrogen…

But our pediatric dentist? It operates on a schedule seemingly designed for maximum inconvenience of working parents and kids in school.

Office hours? 830 to 6, closed Wednesday, no Saturday appointments.

In our town, all kids are on the bus by 8:30 and most kids get home at 4 or later. So, her office essentially operates for 8 hours a WEEK when parents of school-aged children can get there.

My kids used to go in sequentially – 5:30, 5:45, 6. Now it’s all three kids at once, which was news to me when I brought two of the three on Monday. My wife was taking another daughter to an appointment but planned to get to the dentist at 5:45. I was told that was too late – they close at 6pm, last appointment is 5:30. (So, 6 hour a week???)

In the midst of arguing this, my middle daughter came out after 12 minutes with her teeth cleaned and inspected by Dr. A. The youngest one was done in 15 minutes – with the fluoride gunk on her teeth to boot.

It was 5:45 and my oldest daughter could have slipped in for the jiffy wash of all dental cleanings.

But by that point I was playing rescheduling bingo for something a month out.

Then I got the bill – $590 for two kids, no X-rays. I get my own teeth cleaned for $190 and it takes a solid 45 minutes with a discussion with the hygienist and dentist.

I asked Dr. A, What gives?

She said kids have fewer teeth. I said my middle daughter has lost every baby tooth. “But she hasn’t gotten her 12-year molars!”

“So, 4 teeth takes my dentist an extra 33 minutes?”

“Maybe you don’t floss much.”

“My kids eat three times the candy I eat and only floss when they eat corn.”

“Their gums – they’re softer.”

I had no comeback for that.

I also don’t have a choice. Like obstetricians, psychologists, and any surgeon who accepts insurance, pediatric dentists are in short supply.

But my problem was where to direct my anger, where to advocate for change?

As a working dad, I am understanding when people schedule around their kids. I do. Her website talks about her teenager and husband, and that got me on The Company of Dads high horse, Why isn’t her husband stepping up? If she could work from 3-8 pm two nights a week, she could help every working parent in town – if the guy was a Lead Dad.

Here’s my question: What do working parents do to get non-emergency appointments when a pediatric doctor doesn’t work kid hours? Maybe I’m missing something.