Autism Watch: 2007

Posts Tagged ‘dental

I just realized I didn’t share this with you, this gem, this dentastic visit to the dentist for a filling. It’s an epic story, from start to finish.

Start: I pick him up from school, he’s on a tear and starts to cry within seconds because the teacher reprimanded for something that she’d seen while outside of school on a weekend. (I am biting my tongue from sharing my feelings on that, it would take a whole new blog entry.) I promise him we’ll handle it, put on a calm face and secretly think that this may have seriously messed up our dental appointment.

We make the 25-minute drive in pouring rain, with BB talking to Dad on the phone about the injustices of his day. Dad agrees with me that we need to fix it, but top priority was relaxing him to get through the dentist appointment. Ha. I’ll get right on that.

He gets in the chair. Whew, we’re psyched up and ready to go. Oops, 9-year-old girl across the hallway had a meltdown and had to leave — now she’s back and they are going to finish her work. Dentist leaves our room, chair comes back up straight and out comes the DSi XL to keep him busy. Ten minutes later, dentist is back. BB is nervous. I’ll spare the details, but the dentist’s hand got novocained. It was bitten. The mechanical tray over BB’s lap went flying. BB had to be caught before he fell out of the chair onto the floor. Five of us were in the room. Door was shut. Door was opened. Dentist tried three times before he admitted defeat. I was sent on my merry way with a puffy-faced, red-eyed child apologizing profusely for not being able to stay still in the chair due to having a bad day at school. I did the same, while wondering if indeed we could return. Would their patience be any better next time? Did they really want him to return? Would the dentist wear leather gloves??

Finish: It.was.a.disaster. Dad seems to think he can get him to go back to the same dentist and try once again. Hmmph. I’m not going again. I think we need to try a special needs dentist about an hour away. We’re undecided right now, but we will be making a decision by Monday — the filling has to be done soon, but we have a few days to be sure we don’t put him through anything else unnecessarily.

Special needs dentists are a rare breed, and if you are one, kudos. I’ll try to warn you if my son bites, but I imagine it won’t be your first time. Or at least I hope. I’ve had enough of being the unique situation.

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Today little dude had what is hopefully his last ‘work’ appointment…you know, where work outside of the normal cleaning and checkup gets done. I had to do this one on my own, since I “HAD THE DAY OFF.” Notice those words in caps –  apparently they mean that today is just a fun day, you know, where you have fun all day long and nothing makes you tired or keeps you busy. But anyway, dh didn’t have the day off and we figured since this wasn’t a root canal, I was good to go handling it on my own. Sounds good in theory, right?

Happily, this is a situation where the theory was in keeping with the reality. Barnacle Boy laid down, let the nitrous do its thing, and cracked us all up, even throughout the novocaine shots around the two teeth that were being filled. He even told the dental assistant she was sort of pretty, then said “I can’t believe I just said that.” His speech went really quick, he was thinking fast and the filter was entirely 100% off. SO cute.

(If you don’t believe in using nitrous on your autistic child, I respect that decision but understand that we chose to use the nitrous for our own reasons, so please respect your decision as well, without the assumption that we aren’t educated or didn’t research. Thank you. And if you don’t care what I do, kudos, and I apologize for the off-topic interruption!)

Once we got home, BB laid around for all of an hour, devoured a big bowl of vanilla ice cream, then literally ran off to make animated cartoons on his computer. He just finished dinner with us, where he ate an entire turkey bratwurst and a handful of tater tots. Now he’s back upstairs animating. A new hobby!

In a few months, when we move, we’ll have to choose a new dentist. Not necessarily looking forward to it, though our current dentist has offered to refer us to dentists in our new area and fwd on records. We’ve learned that when you choose a dentist, ask a lot of questions. Decide what you’re comfortable with and what you can’t live with. Check out not only if they accept your insurance, but try to gauge how willing they are to work with them on your behalf. Add in autism and you have to find out what accommodations they’ll make, how quiet/loud the office is, how trained the staff is to work with us, and even things like wait time. I’m tired just thinking about it..and I have to do this with a pediatrician, a neurologist, a family practitioner and the dentist.

 

A few days ago, while we were camping, ds lost the first of three currently loose teeth. He was really anxious about it, asking us daily if today was the day, is it loose enough, and other similar worries. In the end, we found out he was very worried about it coming out while he was asleep, where he would either swallow it or choke on it. We assured him this was unlikely, but were relieved when it came out while playing cards with dad in the RV. One tooth down.

Tonight, his second loose tooth came out. He was eating pizza, a favorite, and the tooth started to bleed. While rinsing his mouth out in the sink, with the drain plug in, the tooth fell out into the water. I rescued the tooth, so he could let the reddish water drain, and he continued to rinse. Trauma over, right?

He disappeared right after. I found him curled up on his bed, in a little ball way in the back. No whimpers, nothing. A little prodding later, he tells me that his smile is broken. <Insert appropriate mom “awwwwww” here. Now you know what I did.> I thought I had him calmed and realizing that his beautiful, unique smile was perfectly as it should be…and that the bottom and top matched because the two missing teeth were in the same spot on each. Turns out, I didn’t quite alleviate all his concerns, but it got better. I caught him staring at his teeth in the mirror frequently the duration of the evening, but no more tears and hiding. Let’s hope tomorrow morning is as successful. He already has a dentist appointment next week because the upper adult teeth appear to be coming in in very weird places, but I’m no dentist.

Phew. Done. Started at 8am, and by 8:40, dh was on the phone, updating me as he headed home. And this is big, as dh hates to talk on the phone as he’s driving. (Why aren’t there more people like that? My drive-time home could be cut in half if I didn’t have to sit behind 10-20 people a day who don’t want their call interrupted by measly green lights and turn signals.) Ds was unhappy, he’d been crying, but he was talking. Another phew. He had a roll of gauze in his mouth, preventing him from speaking too clearly and racking up drool points, but he was talking. We’d chosen to use nitrous, despite the concerns with problems with it, because the problems with general anesthesia really aren’t necessarily better. And no medication isn’t an option. He arrived home shortly afterwards, red-faced and pale at the same time, unhappy yet happy that it was over with. Bag of prizes/rewards from the dentist balled up in his hand, along with the purple nitrous nose-piece.

Apparently he had cried some during the visit, and dh spent the time trying to calm him. The dentist was wonderful as always, very attentive to ds’s needs and fears, yet hurrying through the work to get it done as fast as safely possible. Thank God for that. Not all dentists have the patience she does, and I’d recommend her in a heartbeat. (And her experience with a son on the spectrum really helps, too.) He had to deal with the nose-piece, the brace to hold his mouth open, and two strangers in his face. Bravery. He can be so easily overstimulated, yet despite it all, he gets through it.

A few hours later, hours where we’d cuddled, he’d played Wii, and we didn’t get more than three feet away from him, he decided that the ice cream we’d mentioned the day before sounded good. Off we go, the three of us, into the car. I sat in the backseat next to him, leaning into him, arm around his little neck. He cried on the way there, pain from his tooth as the numbness wore off. He cried as we ordered, as I held him up to see the ice cream choices, and he cried as we walked to the car, carrying our cups of root beer float ice cream, while daddy paid the nice man who really didn’t know ice cream from the scoop from the register, though he at least smiled throughout the cluelessness that made it take twice as long as it should have. He cried the ride home, in between bites of his ice cream, because the tooth pain increased. We gave him Tylenol meltaways, and he seemed to feel better as time went on. Today, you wouldn’t know it had happened — regression? Not like the last times! There’s more stimming going on — his left hand is flapping and sitting oddly, and he’s grabbing himself and his hair way more than usual, but he’s talking more than he’s yelling, and he isn’t obsessing with talking about the horrible visit. Many, many reasons to be thankful as we go into the New Year.


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