My family has never had the best of relationships with dentists. My mum was very good in making sure that we got our teeth checked out regularly and even paid for us to have our molars plastic coated every so often – although we certainly didn't appreciate her efforts at the time.
For us the dentist was a scary place – the hygienist loomed like a jaundiced, anorexic corpse, terrifying drilling sounds tried to hide behind every door and an odious medical smell permeated the air – the only possible outcome was pain, tears and prolonged discomfort (I remember on one occasion pretending to feel sick so that I didn't have to go through with a filling). What my mum wasn't to know was that the dentist was a bit of a crook and some of the treatment we had was unnecessary – he eventually did a disappearing act and the surgery closed down (or something like that).
Needless to say, I soon avoided the dentist when I was old enough to make up my own mind. However, after chipping a tooth about 10 years ago I started going back for regular check-ups and now have a dentist I trust. Fortunately, apart from having my chipped tooth seen to, the only treatment I've had since is a replacement filling, done with very little drilling and a strange light directed into my tooth that made my whole mouth glow as if I was being transformed into some sort of dental superhero.
And now it's my turn (along with mummy) to make sure George gets proper dental care too – he goes for his first check-up next week.
The dentist has recommended that we look out for an episode of Peppa Pig that features a visit to the dentist. We must also encourage a daily brushing routine – which we've been doing for quite a while already (as when he was a baby I caught a Panorama documentary on TV about children having to have all their teeth out by the age of 2 or 3 because they'd eaten nothing but ketchup. Mummy may call me neurotic but ever since I've never been keen on George having the red stuff and was overjoyed when he tried it for the first time and turned his nose up). The only problem we have with brushing teeth is the spitting afterwards – George prefers to suck the brush clean and ask for more toothpaste.
So, with the very best of intentions, like my mum with me, we're going to be orally vigilant on George's behalf – after all, we think he has a smile in a million!