Today was a day I have been dreading for a while. J’s first dentist visit! A) I REALLY don’t like going to the dentists B) I didn’t know how J would take to it all. So, I started to talking to J about his teeth and how we would be seeing a dentist who will want to have a look at them. I asked him where his teeth were and he showed me.
When we got the dentist, I made sure we were early enough for J to explore the waiting room, get used to the noise and smells. He was exploring the toys and books quite happily (I packed some toys and sensory resources from home for if needed).
I had shown J his ‘now and next’ cards (improvising with the teeth/dentist picture) so he knew it was time to look at his teeth then to go in the car. I am lucky that J’s dentist specialises in children with additional need so they were patient, showed interest in his symbols and went at J’s pace (even giving him his own mirror to explore with). We found ours through Community Dental Services so ask your specialist team for recommendations fo services in your area.
J didn’t want to sit in the chair so he sat on my knee meaning I could give him pressure hugs as well as help him keep still. J then noticed the little sink so was happy to sit and fiddle whilst I talked to the dentist.
The dentist looked in J’s mouth with his mirror and encouraged J to look at his own mirror too. J happily obliged…and he didn’t bite the dentist or his tools so that’s a bonus! The plan is that the dentist will do ‘little and often’ so introduce something different each time rather than do everything at once which may be overloading (and put him off repeat visits). We’ll visit every 3 months to get J familiar with the surroundings and people, as well as procedures.
J’s teeth are perfect. We discussed his inhaler usage (things like inhalers, steroids, antibiotics etc can affect your teeth), diet and toothbrushing habits. I’m really pleased that J’s teeth are doing great as we have really been developing his tooth brushing routine (click here to read more about it). Diet is something I talked about in depth as the sensory aversions that restrict his diet can affect his teeth. The dentist gave great advice and is happy that J is taking vitamins with calcium in.
UPDATE: we are now at 6 monthly visits and J is a pro at visiting the dentist now. He knows the routine, the staff are friendly, he races into the chair, asks for the same things every time (and gets them) and has a designated dentist so same face each visit. I think it helps that they let him have two stickers.