I am happy (and relieved) to report that after having given up for quite a while, we finally found a dentist who is AWESOME with our boys and they had a great visit last month.
Our last trip to the dentist did NOT go well. In fact, it went so not well, that we decided it wasn't worth bothering to go because they were not able to clean the boys' teeth, they were just baby teeth anyway, and we were afraid any more traumatic dentist visits would just make it that much harder to get them to go when they got "big" teeth and needed to start going.
I was dreading it, but Cuddlebug and Bearhug have several of their permanent teeth by this point and we really needed to go. And Bitty needed a dental form to complete his kindergarten registration.
So I started a search for a dentist who would be patient and work well with kids with sensory issues and communication challenges.
I have learned though, that everyone SAYS they can handle such situations ("oh sure, it'll be fine" they tell me... uh-huh), but the reality is many can't and it is usually painfully obvious within the first few minutes.
So I checked our local autism parents group for recommendations, did some research on the ones that got the most mentions, and then started calling.
The one I ended up calling was highly recommended by several parents, and after I talked with someone at his office I felt pretty good about taking the boys there. He's a pediatric dentist, and they have a designated day where they see only children with special needs. They limit the number of appointments on that day (and it's only one day a month) so it takes a while to get in (I made our appt about 2 months in advance) but it is SO worth it, because the trade-off is that with few appts that day, both the staff and the dentist have the flexibility to spend as much time with your child as needed without being rushed, and the office is calmer and less overstimulating for the kids.
We walked in and Cuddlebug and Bearhug immediately found the little alcove with video games in the waiting room, while Bitty went straight for the aquarium. He kept looking for piranhas and eels, lol, but obviously there were none in there. He was excited about the clown fish though :).
Cuddlebug did an *awesome* job letting them clean his teeth.
Bearhug did really well (better than expected) but finally had enough at the end, jumped up and ran back out to the waiting room shrieking. When he gets upset like that he just can't talk, so he couldn't really tell us what it was that set him off, but later that night he told me one of the tubes was blocking his nose, and when they wanted him to close his mouth over the suction thing he couldn't breathe. I can relate, I had a dentist appt not long ago and somehow between the squirting and the suction I was starting to feel like I couldn't breathe too. I didn't jump up and run out screaming, but I kind of felt like it.
At least now we know what was wrong so I can mention it next time as something to watch for. I know if they'd known they would have fixed it for him, but he was already at his limit from tolerating the cleaning and that was enough to push him over the edge. He did a good job calming himself back down once he was back out in the waiting room though.
This was Bitty's first dentist visit, and he did amazingly well too. As the hygienist was cleaning his teeth, she started counting and told him she'd be done when she got to ten (that actually worked pretty well). The *second* she said "ten" he jumped up, pushed her hand away, and said, "gway, job!!" lol :).
They tried doing an x-ray but Bitty wasn't having it. He tried, but since she said something about taking a "picture" of his teeth, all he wanted to do was his "say cheese" face and he was confused by the little cardboard thing they kept asking him to bite down on. He didn't quite seem to get that he was supposed to stay biting down for a second and hold still. But it was his first visit, so we'll just try again next time :).
We didn't try to do Bearhug's (it took effort just to get him back in to actually see the dentist), so Cuddlebug was the only one who actually did x-rays.
After the hygienists were done, the dentist came in to take a look at each of the boys' teeth. Bearhug was still in the waiting room at that point, but when the dentist found out he and Cuddlebug were id twins, he joked about just looking at Cuddlebug's teeth twice, which Cuddlebug thought was pretty funny :).
We did manage to get Bearhug back in to see the dentist, and he did great. Turns out both he and Cuddlebug have deep grooves in their molars (so do I, guess it is genetic) so he suggested having their molars sealed at their next visit to help prevent getting cavities in those teeth. He said it should only take a few minutes so hopefully won't be a big deal.
All in all it turned out to be a really good visit, much better than expected (given our track record). And no cavities, yay! I look forward to going back to this particular dentist for a long time.
Since it was Bitty's first visit, they gave him a little card with his picture on it. So cute!
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