Rebecca is a mother of two children.
Today I took my 12-year old son to our local Dentist. I’d been to her before and to be honest, we’d had some minor conflictive exchanges in the past. It all had to do with Fluoride treatments.
I would like to preface with a little history about myself and my own considerations when it comes to fluoride in general. I don’t like the idea of it, but I’m by no means an expert in the field of fluoride. I come from a position that if God didn’t put it in the water naturally, I don’t see why it needs to be there. For that reason, I do my best to avoid it for my family and me. I’m in no position to engage in any heated debates over the matter because I’m simply relying on my common sense.
I don’t take my children to the dentist all that often (again, my common sense). But I do occasionally take them for a standard check-up. On many past occasions, the dentist office has pushed these fluoride treatments. They do so in person and by postcards they send to the house and even a few times by phone calls. I consistently reject the service and never engage in any communications that would have the dental office believe I could be swayed in any fashion. But they’ve always been a bit pushy, usually making some under the breath comments.
Today was different, however, because this time it was the dentist who attacked me (she’s brought it up before, but less aggressively). After the check-up, she immediately said to me, “so it appears your son’s teeth are suffering from your neglect to get him proper fluoride treatments, I see this all too often.” My son was within earshot. I was so baffled that she said it at first that I almost had no response at all.
“Excuse me,” I replied, “can you please tell me immediately and specifically what issues you see with my son’s dental health?”
She waited a few moments while fumbling around with her papers, and then she said “well they could be better. To be honest, I think avoiding fluoride treatment is child neglect.”
I could feel my face blushing excessively. I was embarrassed and distraught and sad and angry all at the same time. I know what you are likely thinking at this juncture; you are probably thinking of all the outlandish things you’d have said and done to this lady after hearing such a harsh thing. If I were reading this from the outside, I’d think the same. But the truth is, when someone in a professional position speaks to you that way, you almost first have to let a few of the emotions slither through your veins before you react. And my son being so close, of course, well that changed things.
Then I said:
“Neglect is a funny word, isn’t it? You’ve neglected to be professional and kind, abusing a position that, prior to you demonizing my parental decisions, was looked upon as somewhat legitimate. But you neglected compassion for my decisions in lieu of creating more revenue for your business at the end of the quarter. You neglected to tell me any issues my child has with his dental health that is a result of forgoing your ridiculously priced treatments. To translate, you lied. You lied about my son’s health as a way to create leverage for yourself. You can’t report me for neglect of anything as it would appear you don’t understand what neglect actually means.”
I would be lying if I told you that when I left, I felt redemption seeing all the ladies in the office slump down and seeing the dentist herself experience that feeling of embarrassing blood rushing to her face. But I didn’t. The truth be told, I was still sad. I was sad into the night. I was sad the next day. I was distraught that this is the world we’ve come to live in that a small child’s health is sacrificed so often for the sake of someone’s profit and benefit. I was embarrassed that I was called out publicly.
In the end, I guess it felt good to just write it down and post it publicly.
Any mom you can think of.