Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Who's Afraid of the "Big Bad Dentist"?

Well, I AM for one. You're reading the writings of someone who has had 3 root canals in a single tooth this summer, is about to have more work done on that tooth at the end of the week and will need a crown put on once everything is fully resolved. I HATE going to the dentist. So, I don't expect my children to like it either.

That is especially true for Simon. Simon doesn't like anything new. His fight or flight response is strong and so is he. He doesn't like people to come near him with any instruments, including a toothbrush. But he has started losing his baby teeth. We need to have his remaining 19 teeth checked. And we need to get him used to it, even if it takes a while.

So, last week, Daniel went to see a local pediatric dentist, "Dr. Bob". Dr. Bob (in general) has a great reputation among many local families for all children, including children with special needs. When we were in the office for Daniel's appointment, I took several pictures and made a social story for the twins. I also spoke with Dr. Bob explaining Simon's issues and my concerns. I made sure that HE was prepared, even if I couldn't successfully prepare Simon.

But I worked on preparing Simon. I made that social story using a phone app called "Stories2Learn". And Simon LOVES that story. We read it over and over and over and ..... again. When I picked him up from school yesterday, we went into the school library and read it again. He thinks it's a great story. And it worked. From the moment we pulled into the parking lot, he knew we were there to see "Dr. Bob". Then we got out of the car. That's when reality set in.

He seemed to instinctively know that we were going to have to go to the second floor. He kept screaming "No elevator!!!!", with his hand covering his ears. I kept reassuring him that we didn't have to take the elevator if he didn't want to -- we could walk up the stairs. Unfortunately, the stairs are right near the elevator. But no body drops -- just loud insistence that we not get on the elevator. But we went up the stairs and walked around to the dentist's office. It was still closed for lunch.

We took advantage of the extra time and walked around. We looked down at an exercise room and saw the people on the treadmills, exercise bikes, stair machines, and all sorts of exercise equipment (most of the building is a health club). Then when the office opened, we went into the waiting room and he was face-to-face with the pictures he saw in the book. He saw the books. He saw the fish. He saw Mr. Potato Head. And he got to meet Dr. Bob. Things are going well!

We walk down the hall so Dr. Bob can look at his teeth. This is what I'm afraid of. This is where Simon typically falls apart when we visit the pediatrician. But he seems to be doing well. Until we get to the end of the hall. He drops to the floor and starts to cry (note, I say cry, not scream). He has no intention of getting into the examination chair or letting Dr. Bob come near him with those instruments. But while talking to him, he is willing to come sit on my lap, facing me. We play a short tipping game and before he knows it, his head is in Dr. Bob's lap. Simon is not happy about this, and is squirming as much as he can. But Dr. Bob is able to count his teeth, check the general condition, and confirm that he does have a few more teeth that are starting to get loose. And he confirmed that there are no cavities.

No cleaning. No x-rays. After a VERY brief attempt to scrape the tarter off with a pick (unsuccessfully), that task was done.

This was most definitely a first visit. We are going back in a couple of months and will probably continue to do so for a while so that Simon can become more comfortable with the idea. And hopefully he will allow Dr. Bob to do a little bit more. But given the nightmare I was expecting, this was simply an unpleasant experience. A success.

Baby steps......

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, I enjoyed your blog, you explained every detailed experience of rendezvousing Dr Bob. It happens in every family actually. Everyone gets afraid of visiting a dentist at first.

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