Max is 5 and a half. Two weeks ago he went to the dentist for the first time in his life. Since moving here back in August, none of us had been to see anyone for teeth. SOOO of course when choosing someone for your very special people you are really just praying that they will be kind enough and patient enough to get a look… That’s how I thought it would go. Get in..maybe sit in the chair…possibly cry…Max too, quick look, and then leave without much knowledge of the inside of his mouth. I mean it’s taken us a LONG time to get a solid brushing routine down with our little guy. The thought of a stranger digging around with hard tools just didn’t seem possible!
Enter Dr. J. OMG is he for real???? Did we dream him up and wish on a star and POOF he appeared??? Of course I googled first. Read reviews then hit the Facebook moms page for the true grit. So many highly recommended him I thought we must choose him.
I think every parent fears what seeing the dentist will be like for their child. Especially a sensitive one with mouth issues or trouble brushing. So with my precious son we have the sensitivities and add in a very unclear picture of what he is imagining and taking in. He isn’t to the point with his Proloquo app to type how he feels or to ask a random question to have his fears calmed. I try to predict anything whack and put it out there before we ever get INTO the whack. I close my eyes and hope for the best….then I open them and watch as he blows me away.
There’s something very special about a professional who can meet a child and INSTANTLY make them laugh and smile and breathe. Ok wait….children and me cuz inside my guts spin at about 300,000 miles per second in the face of uncertainty and new places and people. Then I try SO hard to look calm while sounding super soothing and loving and then my laugh will come out to signal I’m a wound up nut. Oh well. 5 min in we were all laughing and my daughter was up in the chair like a champ showing Max how it all works. Thank God for my babies having each other in this big wild world. Dr. J. chose not to pull my daughters front sideways tooth that day so Max wouldn’t be traumatized by needles and blood. 🙂
Max was next. Got to ride in the chair. Got his fingers and ears counted with the dental mirror. Seemed almost into the whole thing. I got a video and used it to capture enough pictures to do up some cards for his iPad.
This helps SO MUCH as videos and pictures really connect with him. He can play them over and over and over and get used to an idea without having to relive it until comfortable. He is able to share his experience with his friends at school. When the time comes to go back, we can go through them and prepare ourselves for it all.
Today was his second appointment and just like the first Dr. J. took patient, caring, time with our son. He let him enjoy the chair which he sat on all by himself. He let him suck water out of a lil cup with the sucker. He counted my teeth while I crossed my eyes and made silly sounds. He went “up, up, up” and “D, D down” and “ba ba back”. And then, he got Max to open his mouth while putting the dental mirror IN…..yup last time I caught a quick moment where it came near but nothing like today. 3 times. Even blew air on his front teeth quickly…big jump from his hair 2 weeks ago 🙂
I’m pretty sure Max will run in next week, looking forward to seeing his dentist and riding in the chair. He told him next time he could wear some sunglasses and we shall see how far it goes. Knowing he’s allowing these little 10-15 minute visits to get to know Max and let him get comfortable with these new surroundings and strange things changes everything. The idea of taking my little boy who has Autism and Aarskog Syndrome, who has no words, to the dentist has gone from likely not going to work out…could very possibly be a horrible nightmare for my sweet Max ….to YAY it’s dentist day and we are ever so lucky to have found someone willing to take his busy day and slow it down super super slow, break it into tiny steps, find the fun, connect, and encourage. Something assumed scary has found it’s way into Maxim’s world and become something he can handle and not only that, thrive through.
Today I saw him being brave. I saw his sweet round face knowing where we were and what we would be doing. I saw my sweet, smart boy leave behind his toy and march into the dentist office to try new things with no tears. All because of this extra time and patience and care that our new dentist takes with him.
When we got home today he raced up to his room. I followed not long after to find him cuddled under his blanket, laying on his side, smiling looking out his window. His look said “holy crap I did it! I did it!” Then he aimed his lil fist towards his space ship wall decal and we did a “5!…4!…3!….2!…1!….BLASTOFF” celebratory cheer…sweet day…super sweet day.