After reading some reviews on Yelp of different dentists that our insurance covers, I decided to make her appointment at a pediatric specialist in Chino. They're a bit farther away from us (about 20 minutes) than other dentists, but they are super specialized for kids and that's what we needed for Ellie. We knew she was going to be nervous, and we wanted someone who dealt with nervous kids all day long and knew how to help them relax and to treat them the best.
So, we drove out to the office yesterday afternoon. Their waiting area had a little train table for kids to play with, and also a table with coloring books and crayons. When it was Ellie's turn to go back, she got to pick out a movie from a whole bunch that they had (we picked Toy Story for her), and they put that in the TV they had in the room and turned it on for her. They also had (and this is my FAVORITE part) a little service dog that they brought to her room. Ellie was able to pet the dog, and that really helped her calm down.
Ellie didn't like the actual tooth exam at all (who does?) but the dentist was really great with her. She was very gentle and fast and it was over as soon as it could be. And then Ellie got to pet the dog again. That seriously really helped. They also gave Ellie a sticker. Ellie didn't actually want to leave, because she just wanted to sit there and pet the dog all day. Even when we got her detached from the dog and back out to the lobby, she wanted to play with the train table and coloring books again. So, we stayed for another couple minutes for her to play with both tables and be satisfied.
It was a really good experience. We knew Ellie was going to be scared, which is why we picked a dentist office that specialized in kids, and they were great. And the service dog was the best.