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Going to the dentist or ortho in the time of Covid?


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Smart or not we didn't go to the dentist or the ortho in the last 13 months.  I don't know if that is smart or bad choice.  I will beat myself up either way, so please don't yell at me about that.

Ok so I am having some tooth pain and need to go to dentist.  I cancelled an apt for this week, but now I have one for Monday.  I am nervous.  Super nervous.   I have had my first Moderna shot 2 weeks ago.  I wanted to go after my second, but they are booked until June and that seems long to put up with the pain. 

 Are you going to the dentist?  Or the ortho?   Are you putting them off? 

Is this safe? 

What is your dentist doing that makes you feel safe?   Are you still going if there is a surge in your area?  

Are you taking your kids?  

 

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I went mid-COVID, pre-vaccine, and it was fine.  Everyone waits in their car, gets called in for their appointment.  All the staff wore the masks, goggles, shields, gowns, gloves.  I felt like they were in far more danger than I was, and I felt completely safe from them, so I guess it works both ways.  

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We've been going since last summer, and my son just had braces done a few weeks ago. At least where I am, they are wearing masks with shields plus gowns and gloves plus and running air filitration systems. My husband had a crown replaced recently as well. All of us have had 2 dental visits already in the last year.

FWIW, we are pretty conservative and stayed at home and rarely go anywhere except to do marketing and doctor's appointments.

 

Edited by calbear
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We did not go to the dentist for routine cleanings, but I would absolutely go for an urgent issue.  If we had been mid orthodontic treatment, we would have continued that as well, but I wouldn't have started new orthodontia mid pandemic.  Cavities absolutely can kill and seriously impact quality of life, so that's definitely a risk I would take.  And 2 weeks a dose of Modrerna, you should have some significant viral resistance, if not proof.

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1 minute ago, Resilient said:

I went mid-COVID, pre-vaccine, and it was fine.  Everyone waits in their car, gets called in for their appointment.  All the staff wore the masks, goggles, shields, gowns, gloves.  I felt like they were in far more danger than I was, and I felt completely safe from them, so I guess it works both ways.  

I guess I am not worried about the staff at all.  I know they have all had the chance to get vaccines, but even before they had masks.  

I am more concerned about the other people there at the same time.

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Gone to both orthodontist and dentist over this time period (when they were open). Try have both been rather conservative about reopening and their protocol are decent enough. Otherwise we are a family who masks (N96 or N99 equivalent) any time we are outside and occasionally go to indoor things.

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I am high risk, very cautious, and very *very* anxious.  I have had dental work during covid and our family is having checkups later in April.

I looked up what is suggested for dentists in terms of covid. (Cdc I think) I spoke to my dentist and she went through what they are doing.

I have decided that taking care of dental problems and also getting a check up is important enough to go ahead. 

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We've had to go several times. I had a dental emergency (a crown fell out!) too.  I  have to say, our dental office is doing a FANTASTIC job.  They have medical grade air purifiers in every bay.  I would go without a 2nd thought.

ETA - my daughter had regular ortho care and her braces removed recently too.  That office too was doing a great job with in and out, traffic flow, small numbers in the building at any one time, air purification, etc.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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1 minute ago, mommyoffive said:

I guess I am not worried about the staff at all.  I know they have all had the chance to get vaccines, but even before they had masks.  

I am more concerned about the other people there at the same time.

At least at the offices we go to, there are barriers (like large cabinets) in between the chairs. 

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Our dentist has people wait in cars.  If yours isn't it is an easy, normal thing to request.

Ours runs a filter and leaves rooms empty between patients.  You could ask to be the first patient of the day if your anxiety is high.

They do require signing a form about covid symptoms etc.  They wash pens but I still bring my own.

They sippy hand sanitizer but I bring my own anyway.

I handle paying etc over the phone not in person.

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I have had really good experiences. My son really needed braces and got them in June. His office takes all precautions...he waits in the car til it’s time, they keep patients separate, and all staff are well covered. He’s been there a bunch and I’ve felt good about it. Now all staff are vaccinated and he’s had his first. I had emergency dental issues recently and my office has been the same (although I’m also vaccinated as is my dentist). I’d definitely go for emergencies.

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2 minutes ago, mommyoffive said:

At the office we go to the rooms are not fully walled.  No doors.  

Hmm.  I think it's totally reasonable to contact the office to ask how that's being handled.  Maybe they are only seeing one patient at a time?

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1 minute ago, happi duck said:

Hmm.  I think it's totally reasonable to contact the office to ask how that's being handled.  Maybe they are only seeing one patient at a time?

I asked.  They are seeing people in all the rooms. 

You can come in 5 mins before you apt.  They asking families to not come in and wait there.  Like I used to bring all my 5 kids at one time and we would just wait while they saw 2 people at a time.

Covid questions

Cleaning

2 Big air filtration systems

Temp check

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All of us have been to the dentist a few times and will be back again next week. For us- I had to check and see if they were doing that ridiculous mouth wash crap some dentists are doing ( I am highly allergic to some).  Fortunately, both the kids dentist and mine use science and don’t do this. Otherwise,  you call when you arrive and they call you when to come in.  Both offices were always extremely clean before Covid so I didn’t even need to worry about that.  Plus, the kids dentist had very nice air cleaning systems before Covid as he sees a lot of medically fragile kids. 
 

For those about to ask about the mouth wash.  It is nothing but a mouth wash you use right before they work on your teeth.  And it mandatory in those offices and is an extra 15 that insurance does not pay for.  So if you have any allergies/issues with mouthwashes ask the dentist before you go. 

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We didn't see any doctors either, except one specialist, but she saw one patient a day. 

Anyhow, we finally took one child to the dentist a couple of weeks ago. (Baby steps 🤣

I called and asked about their protocols.  

It's just a 2 person show. They have the adult sitting in the waiting room. They wear 2 masks, a shield, lab coat and hair net. 

They take this virus seriously, so I felt pretty good going in. Also, I try to get the first appointment of the day. The day after it's closed is ideal. 😄

Going back for the rest of the kids and myself soon. 

Oh, and in case you are wondering how I chose what kid went to the dentist. Well, she complained about a tooth hurting. 😉

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I would go.  The risk of complications from an untreated dental infection would outweigh the risk of COVID for me unless you are really high risk for some reason.  As far as other people go it’s not like you’re going out partying.  You’re doing something that’s necessary. 

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We didn't go to appointments when shutdown first began a year ago. We did do dental appointments over the summer--it felt relatively safe. I purposefully did no appointments during the big surge (Nov-Jan). I started up with appointments again in Feb after being vaccinated. And I had a cavity in a front tooth, 18yo had a cavity, disabled dd had a lot of tartar build-up (she hadn't been in a year and a half). It was good to go. In your shoes, I would go. Your first shot provides some protection and dental and doctors' offices have had very good procedures (at least here).

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Yes, 2 kids needed orthodontist right as Covid got bad, but the treatment really didn't need to be postponed.  They got expanders and braces last summer.   I just went to the dentist last week.  Everyone is careful, cases are low here, and I am not worried. 

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Sigh. I took the kids for cleanings in the fall, to the dentist we've gone to and loved for well over a decade...and two of the hygienists had their masks under their noses while working with patients. I was stunned. Then I went on their facebook page and saw multiple pictures of the whole staff out to eat together at indoor restaurants. So I guess we're not on the same page about either the pandemic or, you know, basic hygiene--since wearing a mask while you're inches away from someone's open, germy mouth for 20 minutes should pretty much be a no-brainer pandemic or not. So now I have to find a new dentist. Umm, so I did go and did not have a good experience. But I would absolutely go if I needed something other than routine cleaning; I just wouldn't take it for granted that they would be taking precautions and I'd make sure to ask (and likely ask around in facebook groups or whatever to make sure they weren't just saying all the right things).

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2 minutes ago, kokotg said:

Sigh. I took the kids for cleanings in the fall, to the dentist we've gone to and loved for well over a decade...and two of the hygienists had their masks under their noses while working with patients. I was stunned. Then I went on their facebook page and saw multiple pictures of the whole staff out to eat together at indoor restaurants. So I guess we're not on the same page about either the pandemic or, you know, basic hygiene--since wearing a mask while you're inches away from someone's open, germy mouth for 20 minutes should pretty much be a no-brainer pandemic or not. So now I have to find a new dentist. Umm, so I did go and did not have a good experience. But I would absolutely go if I needed something other than routine cleaning; I just wouldn't take it for granted that they would be taking precautions and I'd make sure to ask (and likely ask around in facebook groups or whatever to make sure they weren't just saying all the right things).

That is kind of what happened over the summer.  2 kids had to go to the dentist and oral surgeon.  They said things and when we got there it was not being enforced.  Lots of people in the waiting room and all the office staff had no masks.  

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10 minutes ago, SKL said:

IME dentists are being pretty careful.  And dental health is pretty important.  I would go.  I'd also make appointments for all the kids.

Yep I was going to, but since I have so many it is just easier to do when I go in vs over the phone.  Just to find spots for all of them since they can't see them all at the same time anymore.  

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We haven’t seen anyone but the cardiologist but I’d go without anxiety if I was having dental pain. Dental infection is more dangerous than Covid. Generally the closer to the brain an infection is located the faster I take it seriously. 

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I’ve gone about 4 times for major work (including pre-appointment and follow ups.) DD has gone 3 times and has another one to go due to itty bitty cavities in all 4 quadrants. We needed the work done. No one else has gone, but I’ve been on them about extra special care. I know I’m going to feel guilty if we missed something. 😕

Both our practices are taking precautions.

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We have not gone to the dentist since last March.  I am starting to make appointments for all of us (including my dad) for the next couple of months.

Both of my boys are in the middle of braces/Invisalign.  They went to appointments last summer through October and I chose not to send them from December until now.  I am going to be making appointments for both of them for May.  The one in Invisalign is almost done and has been able to do his adjustments by putting in a new retainer "thing."  His twin is in full braces and he cannot move forward to finish without going in for adjustments.  I just want him getting them done regularly now so we can be done with them.  

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DDs and I went to the dentist right before lockdown last March.  We haven't been back since then.  We do have appointments scheduled for May.  We will all be fully vaccinated by then.

DH did go to get his teeth cleaned once during this time.  He went last summer when our rates were much lower.  He went first thing on a Monday morning.  Our dentist's office is doing everything that they can to keep everyone safe.  The hygenists will wear N95s upon request, so he requested that his do so.  

Although we didn't get our teeth cleaned during that time, I absolutely would have gone if we had had any problem.  I likely would have made appointments for us anyway this summer, even if we hadn't been vaccinated.  I am so grateful that we won't have to worry about that issue though, especially since I just found out today that our county's risk level is on the warning list for moving into the highest level (it hasn't been there since December),

I would also think that your one Moderna shot will offer you significant protection.

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We've all been more than once to the dentist, and it's worked out that we've not been at surge times. The office setup is three walls, and the fourth, partial wall opens onto a common hallway, but it seems like they have patients spaced apart because I don't see or hear others. They are controlling when they do aerosolized procedures, have filters running, and use max PPE. 

We opted to delay orthodontic treatment (one great big room with barely six feet between chairs) until later. We'd already had a delay we couldn't help that narrowed options, and this is not narrowing them further. We're hoping that vaccines for that child's age start this summer so that we can get braces rolling.

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Yes, we have gone regularly to both. 

Dentist: small office, my family is the only family in the waiting room, temps taken before entering, everyone is masked, air filters running. 

Orthodontist: they went to an extreme on sanitizing. Early on they hired a person to wipe surfaces in the waiting room every time a person got up, wiped door handles every time they were touched, not to mention their usual cleanliness between patients in chairs, they run 3 hepa filters, everyone is masked, I believe their entire office is fully vaccinated. 

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We've gone.

The orthodontist is running surgical air scrubbers, and is doing high aerosol procedures in a separate room. I am COMPLETELY COMFORTABLE with the set up there.

My dentist is not as careful---running only regular HEPA filters, no high volume evacuators, and my hygienist at my last appointment had not been vaccinated. I only see him for his 7am and 8 am appointments. I won't go later in the day when lots of mouths have been through the building.

That said, I have had two kids in braces through covid, and all of us have had two rounds of cleanings.  I've had restorative work done.

A painful tooth needs to be dealt with. The infection can get to be severe.

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We have done the same.   No dental check ups for any of us since quarantine started.  However, I started having TMJ pain back in October, and I put off going in until February, when I couldn't stand the pain any more.  When I called my dentist, I specifically asked what precautions they were taking, and among other things, they had stand alone air filters/purifiers in each office.  That made me feel much better.  That trip prompted visits to the Oral Surgeon, a CT scan, and an MRI, all of which I had to undertake without a mask for a large chunk of time.  I did NOT take my kids with me, however.  Also, having had at least 1 vaccine, you're better protected than previously, so I say go for it.  

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4 hours ago, itsheresomewhere said:

For those about to ask about the mouth wash.  It is nothing but a mouth wash you use right before they work on your teeth.  And it mandatory in those offices and is an extra 15 that insurance does not pay for.  So if you have any allergies/issues with mouthwashes ask the dentist before you go. 

Your post reminded me that my dentist does this. It's this horrid peroxide wash that I have to swish for 1 minute. They time you and watch to make sure you are swishing.

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We didn’t go to the dentist for 14 months. My son went 2 weeks ago and I waited the car. They had 4 kids in the office at a time, normally they have 10 kids in the exam area. I went last week pre-vaccination and they only have 2 patients in at a time. It’s one way in and one way out of the office to minimize contact. I felt very safe. The staff and dentist had mask,  gloves, and shields. I rinsed with mouth wash before they started. 

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Ours has been super careful. No waiting in the waiting room - they now have restaurant style pagers that you pick up for while you wait in the car. They're to the nines in PPE in the back and they've added better dividers between all the spaces so you're never getting teeth cleaned in a shared space with someone else. There's always a good room divider.

But I've heard some wacko stories about people at dentist offices from people who live in other areas. Lack of PPE, lack of concern about having people unmasked in shared spaces. Someone I know suspected that they got Covid from the dentist office. I'm pretty dubious because I think the teen involved is a big liar and I wouldn't be surprised if he was taking risks and not being honest with the family about it or being supervised in a way that allowed them to get caught. But still.

So, I've felt totally safe about MY dentist. But I've heard some sketchy stories about dentists in general. You shouldn't feel guilty regardless. Just go now.

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We kept regular dental appointment s as much as possible.  Some were rescheduled due to shutdowns.  Oldest kept ortho retainer-check appointment because I was not about to let all that time and money go down the drain.  Everybody waits in car and then they bring you in straight to the chair.  My hygienist was double masked plus had face-shield and glasses.  They put disposable eye-guards/glasses on patients as well.  They had uv-c going, but I'm not really up on the research around that so idk how helpful if is.  I think at this point the employees should mostly be vaccinated, so I don't worry too much about that now, but we did quarantine for two weeks after going to the dentist last summer.  I feel like it's pretty safe at this point.

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5 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

Smart or not we didn't go to the dentist or the ortho in the last 13 months.  I don't know if that is smart or bad choice.  I will beat myself up either way, so please don't yell at me about that.

Ok so I am having some tooth pain and need to go to dentist.  I cancelled an apt for this week, but now I have one for Monday.  I am nervous.  Super nervous.   I have had my first Moderna shot 2 weeks ago.  I wanted to go after my second, but they are booked until June and that seems long to put up with the pain. 

 Are you going to the dentist?  Or the ortho?   Are you putting them off? 

Is this safe? 

What is your dentist doing that makes you feel safe?   Are you still going if there is a surge in your area?  

Are you taking your kids?  

 

It's great that you will be 2 weeks out from your shot. I think you'll have some decent protection. Likely your office will take precautions to try to limit your potential exposure. 

I did not go to the dentist during COVID. Neither did my kids. I canceled appts for myself and them. I'm not sure it was wise. I guess we will find out at our first appts (post vaccine). My husband did go, twice, in the midst of COVID surges and did fine. Our office had people wait in the car for texts to come in, limited number of people at one time, required masks, and had the patients swish with mothwash before cleanings/work (I think that's it). I think it's as safe as it can be. I did not want my husband to do it, but he felt it was worth the risk for himself. (I understand that....I had a mammogram during the height of COVID myself..it was worth the risk to me..of course I could remain masked throughout that!). 

I have a son in braces and another with a retainer. I did do orthodontist appts (they did wait in the car, one parent with patient, limited numbers, etc.). Orthodontics, for someone in braces, doesn't seem like something I could avoid. 

 

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We don’t go for about 13 months. I went in February, the dentist and staff all used PPE. There were less patients in the office and they added additional ventilation and Hepa filters. I felt safe with all the precautions they had in place. I went pre vaccination. 
June is a long time to wait in pain, I would call and ask about their safety protocols if you are concern. 

Edited by SDMomof3
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We’ve been going to both all along.  

Ortho- just the kids go in and temp check at door.  Parents wait in car.

Dentist- again, patients only inside.  They wear masks and plastic shields.  They’ve had no incidents of covid.

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We have not been to the dentist in about 18 months and all really need to go.  The day we got our first shots I made appointments for DH and myself for 5 weeks later.  I like my dentist but am not at all confident about their safety protocols.  A friend who uses the same dentist went during the pandemic and reported that none of the receptionists were wearing masks.  And when i asked on the phone whether the dentist and hygienists were vaccinated the receptionist seemed mystified by the question, "I don't know, I don't ask people that."  (I was subsequently able to verify that they are, in fact, vaccinated.)

I am going to bring the kids in over the summer.  DS15 will be vaccinated in May and DS13 hopefully not much later, but DS10 can't wait as long as it will take for him to get vaccinated.  I fear that DS15 is going to need some remedial orthodonture and DS13 will probably get braces.  The pediatric dentist has everyone in a big room and from what i understand they have not changed that practice, but we will make the first appointments of the day and hope for the best.   

 

Edited by JennyD
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Our dental office has been super careful.  They fully closed for 6 months, and then opened carefully, always spacing appointments so there are no crossovers.  People can't wait in their cars where ours is located, so I think that's why they're so careful about spacing them out.  You are in one room all alone with the hygienist and then the dentist.  They have on masks, goggles, the whole works.  I figure they're at much more risk than the patient.  I felt very safe.

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8 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

Smart or not we didn't go to the dentist or the ortho in the last 13 months.  I don't know if that is smart or bad choice.  I will beat myself up either way, so please don't yell at me about that.

Ok so I am having some tooth pain and need to go to dentist.  I cancelled an apt for this week, but now I have one for Monday.  I am nervous.  Super nervous.   I have had my first Moderna shot 2 weeks ago.  I wanted to go after my second, but they are booked until June and that seems long to put up with the pain. 

 Are you going to the dentist?  Or the ortho?   Are you putting them off? 

Is this safe? 

What is your dentist doing that makes you feel safe?   Are you still going if there is a surge in your area?  

Are you taking your kids?  

 


yes. I was concerned at first, but we have had multiple medical and dental visits now. And some more needed.  It has been fine.  Probably much safer than usual flu seasons of prior years because of so much precaution taken.  
 

 

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8 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

Well crap our state just spiked with new Covid cases.  My anxiety is through the roof. 

I had a root canal and they recommended gargling with salt water while waiting to be seen.  That did seem to help - I think it can reduce the infection.  They also recommended ibuprofen.  I haven’t tried it myself but some people say clove oil is good.  It might help you get by till you can get in.  

 

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My ds has been to both regularly since last summer bc he really, really, really needs to go.

 Dd and I had a regular dental checkup/cleaning appts last summer and will again this summer.

Dh only goes if there is a problem, so he hasn’t been in years.

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18 hours ago, itsheresomewhere said:

All of us have been to the dentist a few times and will be back again next week. For us- I had to check and see if they were doing that ridiculous mouth wash crap some dentists are doing ( I am highly allergic to some).  Fortunately, both the kids dentist and mine use science and don’t do this. Otherwise,  you call when you arrive and they call you when to come in.  Both offices were always extremely clean before Covid so I didn’t even need to worry about that.  Plus, the kids dentist had very nice air cleaning systems before Covid as he sees a lot of medically fragile kids. 
 

For those about to ask about the mouth wash.  It is nothing but a mouth wash you use right before they work on your teeth.  And it mandatory in those offices and is an extra 15 that insurance does not pay for.  So if you have any allergies/issues with mouthwashes ask the dentist before you go. 

Our dentist is doing the mouthwash. They are not charging extra for it (we don't use dental insurance).  My understanding is it was required of their licensing agency.

 

I'm comfortable with the precautions they are taking. Even with the rooms not totally enclosed. There aren't that many chairs and we are all widely separated. They make sure there are not two people in the hallways at once. They keep people in the room until the previous person has left, etc.  AS it was the months I delayed getting a cleaning they saw significant decay and it upgraded the needed work so yes I'm continuing with normal dental care for me and the kids.

 

 

 

Edited by vonfirmath
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