As a father of two children, it is my opinion that parents around the world struggle with many of the same challenges. At the top of this list is the daily chore of reminding our children brush their teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once a week. I have to admit that I have been less than insistent in these areas, especially when my 6 year old daughter claims she has brushed her teeth, even while the residue of chocolate remains evident on her teeth.
Even more difficult is the task of informing our children that a visit to the dentist is on the looming horizon. After 4 years living in Costa Rica, we have made our fair share of mistakes, and have stumbled through unreliable professional relationships because we were afraid of change…and the possibility that a “change for the better” may result in a “change for the worse.” The evidence lays scattered on my desk in the form of multiple car repair receipts to complete the same repairs, and the memories of numerous electricians, plumbers and other repair “professionals” that failed to measure up to even the lowest standards.
I vowed that we would not make this same mistake when it came to seeking a dentist for our children. We asked around and searched online for the most recommended pediatric dentist in Escazu. Some veteran parent friends with several years of Costa Rica life experience under their belts gave us the names 2-3 reputable pediatric dentists. We decided to try Colina Dental in Escazu, which is the closest to our home and also the highest recommended pediatric dental office as rated by our “experienced parent” friends.
Due to some unfortunate dental experiences in my life, I don’t usually “gush” over dentists, no matter how good they may be. However, after seeing how my children smiled and laughed at the dentists’ office, and the repeated requests to actually go to the dentist again…I felt a responsibility to share our positive experience with other “green” parents who could use a little help finding a good pediatric dentist for their children.
One of our children has “troubled teeth”, while the other has nearly perfect pearly whites. After some difficult dental experiences in the US, I wasn’t confident that our experience in Costa Rica would be much different. However, when we arrived at Colina Dental, Dr. Alejandra Brenes, the pediatric dental specialist greeted the kids and even played with them to break the ice. It was a smooth transition from the kid’s waiting room area with TV and toys to the dental chair. These dental chairs are outfitted with TVs on the ceiling, so my son could change the channels and watch whatever he wanted while Dr. Brenes inspected and cleaned his teeth.
She found enough problems to warrant a return trip to fill cavities and even pull a baby tooth that wasn’t worth saving. She broke the news to him with a smile and assured him that everything would be ok. He listened intently as she explained the process and made him feel at ease. Before walking out the door, Dr. Brenes gave him a balloon and a small toy as a reward for good behavior. This definitely set the tone for the next visit, where not a tear was shed as she filled cavities and even managed to make him laugh.
Our little man cried a bit at the next appointment when a bad tooth needed to be pulled. But the tears were soon gone when she gave him some praise for being so strong. She presented his tooth for inspection and put it inside a box for him to display for all to see. What could have been a very difficult, experience that he would never forget; became a happy, positive experience that he will always remember.
Thankfully, this story has a happy ending for my son. Not only is he not afraid of going to the dentist, he looks forward to it. He also remembers to brush and floss more often, and has a much healthier attitude about caring for his teeth.
Our little girl also had a couple of small cavities that Dr. Brenes filled with fillings that looked like tiny butterflies, much to our daughter’s delight. She also received a balloon and a bracelet from the doctor that kept her interest for days to follow.
Thankfully, we received and followed some good advice from friends to give Colina Dental a try. Thanks to the loving care they gave our children, they have earned our confidence and our loyalty. Colina Dental is not the least expensive dental group in Costa Rica. Their pricing is generally higher than most local dentists operating from their homes, but a real value for a beautiful office, a great kid’s play area, and the kind of care for which almost any parent would gladly pay a little extra.