Monday, August 29, 2011

ACK! The Dentist!!

At least we don't have THIS dentist!
Few things evoke such powerful fear in me like the dentist. I don't really know why-  I can't recall a particular horrifying dental appointment for myself- unless they were all horrible and I have done my best to block each and every one of them!

Then I became a mother and my fears were multiplied by like a million by those of my kids.  The oldest had AWFUL teeth- and his first real dental appointment had him strapped down and screaming the whole time as they attempted to get an abscessed tooth out of his head. If that doesn't scar you for life- I really don't know what will.  Every  single dentist appointment after that- including 18 months in braces- was sheer torture, for him and for me. Now that he is 20 - he has bad teeth again and is begging to get in to see a dentist. Is it totally wrong of me to say "Na nana na na na- I told ya so?"

The boy has been my most challenging-Autism and dentistry- mutually exclusive terms to be sure. So I started with him by reading books, social stories and taking him when Teenzilla went to the dentist. So I killed 2 birds with one stone- I got the social story done- and made his first visits exploratory in nature. Then I had to seek out a pediatric dentist- preferably one who had experience working with special needs kids.  When I found her- I was beyond relieved.

So today's excursion to the dentist office was one for *GULP* extractions. My boy had developed a very snaggle tooth smile- with 3 baby teeth not coming out and the permanent teeth coming in right on top of them. This was a problem in many ways- one being his inability to wear his mouth guard at football...

Goofy Juice
Now the boy has to be sedated for dental work of almost any kind. He has the most sensitive gag reflex and sitting in the big chair with the lights etc etc well- let's just say as a non autistic adult- that gives me the creeps. So he takes what I lovingly call "goofy juice"- and not willingly either. It is called Atarax- which calms him and reduces his anxiety enough they can get the mask on him for the happy gas. Which was ANOTHER near disaster when i told him about it- he said "NO NO NO! I don't want any of that!"  So the "goofy juice" works it's magic- turning him into a slack jawed, glassy eyed  stoned version of himself- and then he is ready for "The Chair".

Did I mention the dentist doesn't allow parents to go back with the kids....ONLY if it is absolutely necessary- and we have yet to have an absolutely necessary instance. So- I sit in the waiting room, nervous and worried awaiting the hygienist to come and get me, or to bring the boy out in a meltdown. Luckily- this doesn't happen. From start to finish the tooth extractions took a half hour. 30 MINUTES PEOPLE!!! Now of course these are baby teeth and have little root and were already loose but that even impressed me. He walked out a little unsteady on his feet, but all in all no worse for wear!

Poor kiddo
I got the after care instructions and we left. I told him he could not drink through a straw today and through a mouthful of gauze he asked "Why?"  I explained it would make his gums bleed...he shuddered but seemed happy with that answer. About halfway home  he asked in that slurry, numb after the dentist way  for McDonalds. Yup- he is gonna be just fine.