Friday, December 14, 2012

Happy gas

So, the day after Thanksgiving, I lost a crown.  Of course, the dentist office was closed and I had to wait until the following Tuesday to get a temporary put in.

I can put up with a lot of pain in some ways, but not so much when it comes to the dentist.  I always ask for nitrous oxide.  It has an anti-anxiety effect and it lets me feel dissociated with what's happening in my mouth.

As I laid there in the chair, with my jaw completely numb, unable to speak as the dentist chatted with his assistant and ground away at the stump of my tooth, it occurred to me that this might be the way Ben feels some times.  The dentist would occasionally use some jargon with his co-worker that made absolutely no sense to me.  I was pretty uncomfortable, trying to keep from gagging, and I'm pretty sure my tongue was wriggling around in my mouth like half an earthworm.  Also, I had a strong urge to bite the bejesus out of somebody.

Yesterday, I got the finished crown put in (and got some small cavities filled).  Again with the nitrous...I had lots of deep thoughts about Ben and his "trajectory". 

Got him to wear a hat!
Recently, Ben had his own dental work done.  Up until last year, it was extremely difficult to brush his teeth.  We'd do it, but it was like washing a cat, or maybe trying to brush a cat's teeth while it was on fire.   This would also be happening at the end of the day where we're all pretty exhausted (Ben has sleep issues).  Between treats used as reinforcers at school and the bribes he get at various points in the day, it was leading to a bad situation in his mouth.

I found a dentist who works with special needs kids and although he could only get a quick look in Ben's mouth, he could tell there was work to be done.  There was really no way to do it without sedation.  Fortunately, on the first Thursday of every month, he works with an anesthesiologist at the hospital to do special needs dental work.  After one rescheduling (croup!), Ben got his teeth fixed...and sealed.  There were no problems other than a middle-of-the-night wakening (tube down nose -> irritated esophagus), but it was kind of a multi-day event.

I read somewhere that kids with sensory integration issues experience things differently than we do, such as walking barefoot on carpet could feel as bad as walking on broken glass or the opposite, that everything is kind of muted.  I understand why he has to be knocked out for dental work, and I can totally empathize with the desire to bite.  Hmm, maybe this was a deeper thought when I was on happy gas.

Special note:  Yes, Mom, I will take better care of my teeth, and my kids' teeth.  There is no need to send dental hygiene supplies.