So this is how we do The Dentist thing.
Wait - this is how we used to do it when I was little;
My mother would collect us from our schools, load us into the car, drive 40 miles to the dentist she used to use before she was married. We would wait in the elegant dining room, reading "Giles" cartoons until it was time for our turn to cross the hall full of antique clocks to the carpeted, curtained, restful converted sitting room that was used as the surgery. Climb up into the big brown leather chair, and watch the little flickering blue and purple flame of the meths-burner sterilizer.
Our friendly dentists would poke about at our teeth, do any fillings (we all had loads - no fluoride, no sealants back in them thar days) and then we'd all travel 40 miles back home.
I wonder how many dentist surgeries we passed on our way?
I thought this was normal - that everyone took a day off school for the dentist, that all treatment followed instantly upon the check-up, that dentists filled their houses with collections of early matchbox cars and antique clocks...
So, the first time I went to a different dentist, at University, I had a rude awakening. Up a shabby stairwell to a modern bright-white-lights-and-shiny-lino waiting room, and then through to an aseptic surgery. "You need a filling on your back left" was the verdict. So I stayed in the slippery plastic-vinyl chair, waiting... the dentists turned round, showed surprise that I was still there, and sent me to make the appointment for the filling. You have to wait? That was news to me...
Well, many years later, I made my way back south again, with my husband, and needed a dentist. Well, hey, our old dentist was only 20 miles away, and although he had retired, his successor came highly recommended.
History repeats itself; for the past 30 years we (the whole family together) have been travelling 20 miles to the dentist, taking a half day or even making a whole day of it. The checkup, cleanup, and any treatment, all happens at the same time.
Normal service has been returned. Everything is as it should be.