Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I was hesitant to post today because few things put me in a worse mood than the dentist. I was hopeful about taking Gus to see this new dentist because she'd seen MM recently and all went well. Unfortunately, I think I need to head back to square one again. It wasn't an earth-shatteringly bad visit, I was just not feeling the warm fuzzies when Gus got out of the chair. Here's why:
Dear New Dentist:
First, just because you have had one or two patients on the autism spectrum, that does not make you an expert on autism. Every kid is different. My son does not need to be restrained because he is anxious - that will just make him fight you. Second, when a child is freaking out about a sharp, pointy object near his mouth, shouting at him isn't helpful. Perhaps putting down said sharp, pointy object would be a good idea, especially if you are just counting his teeth. How would you feel if I started absentmindedly jabbing a foreign pointy object near your face? Also, are you aware that the electric toothbrush can send a very irritating tickle straight through a person's skull, especially when that person has hypersensitivity in their mouth? Ease up and let the kid scratch his nose - what's the big deal? If you didn't insist on holding onto your security-sharp-pointy-object, maybe it wouldn't have been such a danger?
Nitrous gas is not the answer to every kid's anxiety. Some kids are made more uneasy by the sensation of losing control. You'd get a lot further with my son if you would just listen to what I'm telling you works; after all, I live with him and get in there to brush his teeth every day. He doesn't like it, but he tolerates it. Is it possible I know something you don't, even if I don't have the framed degree on the wall?
Another thing: I'm trying to teach my son basic dental hygiene - straight teeth are really not a concern at the moment! I am well aware that he has shark teeth. I'm not interested in discussing his need for braces. I heard you the first time you said it - no need to repeat yourself. Crooked teeth are not the end of the world. We've got more pressing issues - like finding a dentist who doesn't make me want to rip their teeth out.
Clearly, you are not really interested in working with my child the way he needs, so maybe just say so and don't waste my time? Is it so difficult to put on a DVD of something soothing instead of Disney channel? I'll even bring the DVD! My child responds to a slow, patient approach with minimal sensory stimulation. If that other mom is okay with you restraining her child or being 'stern' with him, that's her business. That doesn't fly with my guy.
Maybe I was spoiled by our last dentist who, by the way, managed to extract two of Gus's teeth without the slightest agitation and without using gas. He was awesome, although he's on my black list too for just walking out of the practice and abandoning his little patients. But he kept the lights in the room low, had very little noise (no raucous kid shows) and showed an underwater aquarium. He spoke softly and moved slowly, letting Gus know each step of the way what was coming. Nothing state-of-the-art or revolutionary. Imagine that. As a matter of fact, I have half a mind to track that guy down even if we do have to travel two hours to see him. I see disaster ahead if I let you take care of my son's cavity.
Not really trusting you with my son,
Do you have a dentist who can treat your autistic child without a lot of grief? What do they do that you appreciate? What do you wish they'd do differently?