In my 17 years on-the-mom training, I have noted that there are ZERO upsides to taking any child to the dentist. Perhaps your own double-blind, peer-reviewed research has led you to the same conclusion?
But you’re digging well below zero when that kiddo has a natural fear of sharp instruments, dislikes loud, buzzing noises, has personal space issues, can hardly sit still, and - by the way - has autism.
And so, when Roman was still a wee kiddo, he was referred from our family dentist (where he steadfastly resolved to never, ever open his mouth. ever.) to an autism-friendly clinic in South Portland. And every six months, Jeff or I would alternate pulling the short straw, steel ourselves, and take him there.
The only really good cleaning that Roman was able to tolerate was when he was completely knocked out- sedation dentistry. Then for years, Christine - the dental hygienist with the patience of a Buddhist monk - would try to introduce Roman to Mr. Shiny (the mirror), Mr. Scrapey (the scaler), Mr. Thirsty (the vacuum tube), Mr. Rinsey (the water jet), Mr. Tickle (the tooth buffer), and Mr. Flossy (yes, that’s him) so they could get rid of all the nasty “sugar bugs” on his teeth – with little success. Poor Mr. Brushy was the only one who ever got any play.
Our visits would result in Roman sitting straight up in the parent chair over in the farthest corner, while Christine good-naturedly rolled her gear over as far as it would stretch to try to do what she could for the dental cause.
So last Tuesday, it was my turn to take the Romanator to the dentist. And I was not psyched. Roman brought in his Playmobil forklift, pallet, and operator, and played quietly while I checked him in and updated his forms. (By the way, if the word forms gives you the involuntary body shudders, you must read this last post!)
After a few minutes, they called us in. And Roman? Walked straight in and laid down in the dental chair. Whatttttt? I tried not to break the spell by noticing – this was first-ever voodoo! And Christine gave him the sunglasses. He put them on. And when she asked him to open his mouth? You guessed it- he opened it. And proceeded to have his teeth cleaned, thank*you*very*much. I don't think he enjoyed it, but Roman finally met Mr. Quantum Leap!
PS I installed Disqus to have better conversations in the comments (no big deal- just 4 woman hours, a multitude of web how-to pages, and final abdication with a call to the Shopify help line...). So needless to say, I want to hear from you! Any good dental stories out there? Lay it on me in the comments below! :)