Menopausal mom to 2 young adult sons (one with ASD, ADHD, tic/seizure disorders and the other with attitude).

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Going to the Dentist

Over the last two weeks or so I’ve made 3 trips to the dentist with still more to come. Oh yay. Yesterday was particularly fun…a root canal.  :(  Now I know you hear horror stories about having a root canal. Well if it wasn’t for the fact that I am a total white knuckle scaredy cat…things actually went OK. I must confess that it has been over ten years since I have been to the dentist and while I could justify it, it really is irrelevant to my story.  I will, however, add some visuals for effect.  (Note:  All images are from Google Images)

How I most definitely did NOT feel!

How I actually DID feel!

How I probably looked...a not-so-young, 
scaredy-cat with a double chinAlthough you can't see
the white knuckles...note the closed eyes.  Oish!

So as I sat there gripping the arms of the chair until I had no feeling in my fingers, eyes closed, holding my breath…I pictured Riley in the dentist chair, arms crossed across his chest sitting “calmly” (ie. NOT screaming at the top of his lungs while scrambling to get out of the chair) getting his teeth cleaned.  I.KNOW!  Well…not so fast people. It’s taken two times of having to be put under…knocked out…we’re talking general anesthesia here; multiple trips to the dentist just to visit; still more trips just to sit in the chair; progressing to counting his teeth before finally being able to gain access to his mouth to actually “clean” his teeth. Thankfully that's all that's been required so far. I don't mean to sound discouraging for anybody just starting out yet to be realistic, this process has taken many, MANY years! 

Yes this felt like torture (for both R and me), was exhausting, and stressful. I also remember having coffee with another mom whose son also has autism and had to be put under for some dental work at the same hospital that Riley was going to go to. I’ll never forget her telling me how she had met some parents whose children were there for various health issues and how she felt, sheepishly saying her child was there to “get his teeth cleaned”. It was a reality check for the both of us.  Our boys were and still are, for the most part, happy and healthy. Yes we have our challenges yet somehow our challenges seemed pretty insignificant compared to those parents whose children had life-threatening illnesses. As one of my favourite quotes by T.H. Thompson and John Watson goes; "Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

It really is a matter of perspective isn’t it?  I guess I'm gonna just have to suck it up for my upcoming visits to the dentist. I think I will use Riley as my role model for this one.  :)

Think about it...D


  1. Thanks for the reminder of the importance of perspective.

    1. No...thank YOU! Means a lot coming from a person who is going through so much more than most of us.

      Reality can suck sometimes can't it. *heavy sigh*

      Hang in there. Things WILL get better for your family very soon!

  2. I was gifted with teeth from.. well, they were pretty gnarly! lol many dental surgeries, root canals, 4 years of braces and more root canals, I still have all my teeth. And they're pretty darn PRETTY! OMG Tommy. He hasn't been to a dentist in 6 years (before we left NY.. where we had found a dentist that used general anesthesia JUST for the cleaning and xrays) I can't imagine the THOUGHT of taking him now. ugh. Hopefully the follow ups are easy. I always tell them DOUBLE NOVOCAINE! lol

    1. I've seen your pics and you have a million dollar smile my friend! :)

      We try and take Riley every 3 months as he gets a LOT of build-up on his teeth. After my last few visits...I honestly don't know how he manages!?! Both times R was put under it was just to get his teeth cleaned too! Eeeep!

      Thankfully we have an AMAZING pediatric dentist who has such a wonderful "chair side" manner and is so patient. NO WAY we could have done it without him. He is also willing to keep seeing R even though he will be an "adult" very soon. Phew!

  3. I agree with you! And I believe it’s so important to whom we entrust our kids. Like you say, finding the right dentist that would know how to manage and get along well with children that have special needs is essential. Now that I have read your blog, Riley definitely is a role model, even for me. ^___^***Avis Charland***