Last time Small Boy was at the dentist there was concern raised about the way his teeth were fitting into his mouth i.e. at all the wrong angles. Knowing our family history, they recalled SB for a check up. He seemed fine about it at the time.
Last night I reminded him he was having a check-up today. This morning I reminded him.
An hour before the appointment time I gave him a five minute warning for brushing his teeth.
And then I tried to brush them. Oh. Dear. Lord. I was even happy for him to do them (he usually does pretty well) but he backed away from me, and the loaded toothbrush went flying. Nothing I could say or do would convince him to open his mouth.
Defeated, I put the brush away and thought, oh well, it won’t be the first time a dentist has been faced with a mouth that has remnants of bagel and hot chocolate in it; it could be worse. OK, take two – we’ll go as we are.
Or not! For some reason SB had decided that he was going to “have teeth ripped out of me” and that he would be in terrible pain. As a total dental wimp myself I could sympathise but we were running short of time, and I knew that it was a check up and no more. But SB was at the point where the terror was about to spill over into a meltdown, and then I knew it would mean a cancelled appointment. He was curled into a ball, rocking and sobbing, and not able to hear what I was saying. The fear had taken over.
So, I did what any parent who has a hidden store of presents would do. I offered him a new Skylander toy if he would get into the car and go into the dentist. Oh yes, I’m smart enough to know that I had to mention that second part. He’s more than sassy enough to call me out on it if I hadn’t and demand the gift as reward for getting into the car. I can hear him now, “you didn’t say anything about getting out of the car Mum.”
Thankfully, the Skylander word was enough to get him to look up. I pressed home my advantage and repeated my offer. He got up, I shoved a tissue at his snotty nose and we high-tailed it out of the house like our backsides were on fire.
Once in the car and moving, the doors lock automatically. If I’ve got that far, I can generally relax a bit.
The dentist is new since SB’s last appointment, and he was AMAZING. I’d managed to scribble a few notes on a scrap of paper and the receptionist took it straight to him. He then came out to speak quietly to me, and said if the surgery was too frightening he would look at SB’s teeth right there in the waiting room. Is it OK to fall a little in love with your dentist at this point? Anyway, SB was OK with going into the surgery, although he still looked haunted. They turned off the lights as he has bad light sensitivity, gave him the big specs to wear, and then the dentist took over, checking all his teeth and explaining as he went along, without ever being condescending. SB began to relax a little, and at the end the dentist patiently suffered a long spiel about Pokemon, which he bore with a smile.
SB will be referred to the orthodontist at the hospital as it’s very likely that he will need some teeth out, and train track braces (uh oh). All his notes including all the information about his autism and how it affects him will also be sent. He reassured SB that he is not allowed to be in pain at any time and that whatever treatment he has in the future they will all ensure to keep him pain free.
This dentist is never allowed to leave our practice!
We headed back home via the local town for a small bag of shopping. It was lunch time and I decided both children deserved a wee treat, so I gave them both chips for lunch.
And yes, the second we were in the door, I found the Skylander. It was worth every penny to keep him calm. Hopefully he won’t need one every visit, but if that is what it takes to have healthy teeth, then so be it.