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.


  1. You had me at 'trajectory' and 'but it was like washing a cat, or maybe trying to brush a cat's teeth while it was on fire'. Can't wait to see you all in a short few days!

  2. Oh, the trials and tribulations of finding a dentist willing to work with our son's sensory issues, and then getting him comfortable enough with the dentist to allow him to work! But it has paid off, and he now loves going for a checkup, and was even reasonably patient when he had to have 2 fillings last year. Brushing is still an issue. He bites down on the brush, refuses, to let it move, sucks the toothpaste off, and swallows. We have to hide the dental floss because he will break off an entire roll in 12" pieces, taste them, and throw them away.

    1. Hi Papa Bear,

      Hehe, that's pretty much what brushing is like here, but still an improvement.

      Kudos to y'all for getting to the "loves going for a checkup" place!



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