Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Getting a Cavity Filled

Asperger's, autism, dentist, planning, preparation, summer, tips
If you recall about a month ago, I posted about Gus's trip to a new dentist. I was less than thrilled, but I decided to keep his appointment to get his 3 cavities taken care of. Instead of worrying about the dentist's behavior, I decided to focus on him and preparing him for today's visit. I'll also focus this post of that aspect to spare you a venomous tirade about the dental industry.

I knew a couple of things going in: that they'd probably use nitrous, and that he'd likely be very grabby with the instruments once she started working on him. I wasn't so sure the nitrous would even work - he had a difficult time having anything over his nose when he had his ear tubes put in years ago. At least I had a starting point.

MM had been given one of the 'piggy noses' or nose masks that the nitrous is delivered through. So I made sure we practiced having the nose on and breathing with it. That way Gus wouldn't be too freaked out by it. He was only a little freaked out by it and eventually relaxed - there were other more pressing things to freak out about anyway.

Last night, we also had a talk about grabbing the dentists instruments and how it is dangerous to do that. So we discussed options if he needed her to stop for any reason. I gave him a hand signal, which he modified to his own taste, and we also discussed how he could use his words or sounds if he couldn't speak. This worked well for him despite the dentist telling him not to yell. It was either that or let him grab her hands, so I let him yell. There was a wedge in his mouth to keep it open, so it wasn't like he could move his jaw much.

He was in a rare belligerent mood and wasn't being all that polite to Dr. P. at a few points, but all things considered, he did rather well. I knew the vibration from the drill would be a problem for him and I explained that to her. She respected his wishes for breaks, to her credit, and once the drilling was finished he calmed down considerably. He didn't appreciate the taste of the amalgam, but once he learned that it was "Pokemon paint" he was mollified. Of course he had to demand that it was Sceptile Pokemon paint, but no one really felt the need to contradict him.

All in all, it could have been a million times worse than it was. I will probably still look for another dentist, but at least I know that Gus will be able to handle it.

*image of MM's practice bubble-gum-flavored "piggy nose."


  1. It must be so difficult as a parent when you know there is so few people who understand what your up against before your journey even begins and how terrifying it is for your son. Because my step daughter is multiple handicapped (85% hearing impaired) any place where there is a lot of noise or confusion is very hard for Tracy and so few people understand what it's like for her. Lately we decided to keep her out of the confusion and attempt to find a place where she can watch the goings on it never gets easier and you feel so badly for your child.

    I'm so glad you did so well and it's over and you now have time to attempt to find another dentist.


    Dorothy from grammology

  2. I hate the dentist and since I hate brushing teeth, I've had a little too many visits to the dentist. >_<


Welcome - thanks for sharing your insights!