I used to dread bringing my children to the dentist. I’m sure no one rates a trip to the dentist as their favorite activity ever, but I couldn’t put my finger on why I disliked it so incredibly much. But during my son’s last appointment, it dawned on me. I really did not like how we were being treated.

During every visit, I felt as though I was in trouble with the dentist. She always brought up J’s history of pacifier use (we ditched it at 2 years old), we were told we weren’t flossing enough (he’s 4!), and I was uncomfortable with their recommendation to have a palate expander placed in the next year (he’s still a baby!). My son was not the hugest fan of her either, and let’s just say her bedside manner wasn’t the warmest.

Enough was enough.

I asked around for recommendations for new practices, I Googled every dentist in town, and I checked out all of their websites. I followed some of my girlfriends’ recommendations and called the dental practice they suggested. I asked the receptionists some questions, they asked me some, and I signed consents via e-mail to have my son’s records forwarded to the practice.

I scheduled our “consult” with the new dentist. And at the visit, I was an anxious mess. I felt guilty, like I was cheating on our old dentist. Why? As a nurse, I regularly see patients getting second opinions and I don’t blink an eye — why couldn’t I do the same? I needed to put the guilt aside and put my son first.

Upon meeting the new dentist, a sense of calm immediately came over me. She was friendly, she made my son laugh, and we felt comfortable in the office. I wasn’t scolded for the years of pacifier use or the fact that we don’t always floss my 4-year-old’s teeth at night. We came up with a plan for his orthodontic future (insert cash register noise here), and she was completely OK with readdressing the palate expander when he turns 7 or 8 years old.

Our personalities meshed better, and I regretted that it took me two years to break off the old relationship. I finally felt as though I was able to breathe again — a weight had been lifted off my chest. We made a clean break from the old, and there was no looking back.

New beginnings aren’t always easy, but they are often necessary.