Thursday, April 7, 2016

Going to the Dentist

The search for the perfect paediatric dentist is about as challenging as finding the holy grail of hairdressers. I have yet to enounter the stylist who can turn my locks from drab to fab convincingly enough for me to follow him or her to the ends of the earth. Because I would, if I found that person.

Anyway, back to Little A's teeth. When he was a newly diagnosed toddler, we tried a dentist who claimed to specialise in special needs patients. After the initial examination, he handed me a sheaf of papers and asked me to have our paediatrician sign them to confirm that it was okay for Little A to be sedated every time he needed his teeth cleaned or a filling done.

I took the papers and put them in a drawer, and never returned to that dentist as I refuse to accept that the only way to clean the teeth of a special needs child is to put them under general anaesthesia. 

A few years later, Little A discovered a fantastic dollhouse at what turned out to be a dental clinic next to the centre where he had therapy thrice a week. This dentist said her strategy would be to get him used to sitting in the chair and opening his mouth for a dental exam by practicing a few minutes at a time until he could sit through an entire procedure. 

I liked both this strategy and the dentist, only the therapy centre moved locations soon afterwards and we have not been back since.

Fast forward another few years, and Little A's permanent teeth are coming in. A children's dental clinic had opened down the road from one of my shops, and I heard good things from several parents, so we decided to try it. For months now, he has been doing an oral therapy involving a vibrating brush similar to an electric toothbrush, so I figured he was ready for a proper dental cleaning.

At the clinic, we met the Ninja Dentist. She showed Little A all the tools and let him touch them, as well as introducing a restraining device some kids use, that works for him as he feels better being "squashed" with tight hugs and between heavy duvets. 

Her hands were light and lightning fast as she scraped, brushed and painted fluoride on Little A's teeth in less than 15 minutes, and he cried but did not resist.

Since he is a new dental patient and his teeth have a tendency to discolour, we need to come back quarterly for fluoride treatments. I don't mind this as more frequent visits will get Little A used to the procedure more quickly, and hopefully within a year it will be as routine as getting a haircut and cutting his nails, both of which started with screaming, resistance, and required multiple people restraining him, but are now tolerated with minimal fuss. 

Since then, I have visited the Ninja Dentist myself, as they also work on adult teeth. She is a gem, and we plan to stick with her for as long as we have teeth.

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