I've never taken Matthew to the dentist. That task has been delegated to Bill since it would be easier for him to hold Matthew in the dental chair than it would be for me. His first appointment was 6 months ago.
The 2nd visit to the dentist for a routine check went fairly well. He was calm when in the waiting area. But Bill needed to sit in the dental chair with him and hold him still. The dentist looked in Matthew's mouth while he screamed in protest. The screaming stopped shortly after the dentist was done checking his teeth. And I think he forgave the dentist when she gave him a giant toothbrush and toothy alligator to play with. He enjoyed using the giant brush so much that he even tried to brush Bill's teeth with it.
The good news is he has zero cavities! I'm hoping Matthew inherited Bill's genes for good teeth and not mine. I had lots of cavities while growing up while Bill is 30+ and he has not had a single cavity in his life. Bill drinks soda everyday, a few times a day. Unbelievable but true (and so not fair)!
As Matthew gets older and his language skills increase, I foresee us not needing to hold him down at the dentist anymore. But that will probably be several years from now when he can understand why it is important to see the dentist.
Until then, I'm thinking of ways to help him cope. I've put together some pictures from his recent dental appointment to show Matthew using an iPhone app called "Stories2Learn" which allows me to create short stories using my own pictures and words and record my own voice. Since he's a visual learner, maybe this will help him cope better at his next visit to the dentist. Showing him pictures of himself at school to help him adjust to preschool seemed to work so maybe it will work for the dentist too. Or maybe it won't make a difference. But it doesn't hurt to try and is certainly worth the effort.