Our first trip to the dentist with our child with Autism

Our first trip to the dentist with our child with Autism

Many of you who have a child with autism or other special needs already realize that new places and even transitions from one activity to another can be very challenging. One of those great challenges is getting them to visit the doctor or dentist, especially for the first time. Truthfully, the first time for anything has been a challenge.

But for our first trip to the dentist we were ready for great resistance. We had prepared him days before we told him about a person that would look at his teeth; we showed him pictures of a dentist and used my daughter’s little pretend medical kit to look at this teeth. His school also helped prepare him; they even had a book called my first trip to the dentist.

We had also chosen our dentist office well, while not specifically a pediatric dentist, the office contained a lot of toys, games and a good overall child friendly environment. Our Son gave us surprisingly little resistance going in to the office, although he was carried. Once inside he made a beeline for the marble run and started happily playing. His younger sister was there to help make him more comfortable.

Our dentist introduces herself and was very non-threatening and patient, the entire staff was excellent really. Our son was lead then kind of carried to the 2nd floor. But even with the door open in the examination room panic soon set in. We needed to close the door and stand in front of it. While my wife, daughter and I took turns going into the dental chair to show how easy it was, the dentist asked us to open wide while she looked in our months with a little flashlight. No Big Deal right?

Well to him it was, despite numerous attempts we are unable to have any further progress in regards to getting our obliging dentist to see his teeth. There was no happy ending to the story here although we hope to get him back again with a little better result the second time when the office is at the very least more familiar.

So here’s the issue in the case where your child for whatever reason will absolutely refuse to go to the dentist voluntarily. You as a parent are in a difficult situation if your child needs a cleaning or has a cavity. You need to go to a specific pediatric dentist, in our area there are few, dentists that can deal with autism are even fewer. If your child needs to be “medicated to sleep” in order to work on their teeth, you need to go to an actual hospital with an anesthesiologist present.

The few dentists that offer this service only book appointments to a hospital a few days a month or at most one day a week. In our case there was a six month wait for an appointment in our area. We were very lucky to be on a waiting list and have an appointment in three weeks only due to a cancellation. Will let you know who it goes.

Malcolm Willins

Kaydan Sensory Solutions

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