How do you make going to the dentist easier

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by hersheyb79, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. hersheyb79

    hersheyb79 New Member

    My DS is turning 6 today. He has been to several different dentists in our area, but never actually been examined. I am SURE you all can relate!

    Well, even though I brush his teeth 2x/day I am convinced he has something going on (possibly a cavity?). He really needs to see a dentist...

    The problem is 2 fold, he throws a fit, the staff freaks out. I am told "we'll try again next time" only when I call back they tell me they aren't equipped to deal with children who are special needs. So he has actually only made it though a dental trip once, and that was because he fell and broke a tooth so I physically restrained him for the xrays and exam. He was 3, so much smaller than he is now.

    Any advice would be appreciated. Also, do you think it would be reasonable to request his P-DR prescribe a couple of tranquilizers for situations like this or is he too young (this comes up every few months with blood draws too...)?
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Ah yes, Dentists!

    The first secret is... you MUST get the RIGHT dentist.
    Look for a pediatric dental specialist - yes, expensive, but there are several advantages...
    1) everything is CHILD sized, which makes it much more comfortable for the child
    2) they are used to fears, phobias, gag reflex and everything else
    3) they are also aware of options for sedation
  3. keista

    keista New Member

    Ditto Insane. I found a good one for DD2. somehow they managed to coax her into complying for the xrays without sedation, and used laughing gas for her treatment. Each successive visit her fears got less. It also didn't hurt that we "negotiated" a reward for her. As long as she eventually complied with the doctor. IOW any 'hiccups' of compliance did NOT count against her. The good ones ALL have TV screens above the chairs so the kids get distracted by a movie or something. the even better ones let the kids choose what they are going to watch.

    If any dentist mentions a papoose board RUN as fast and as far as you can! I had such a dentist for DD1 when she was 2. I had no other choices at the time. Fortunately, DD1 does NOT remember the incident, but I do. It is especially horrifying when they don't let parents back in the treatment area to help calm an excessively anxious child.
  4. hersheyb79

    hersheyb79 New Member

    I wish this was an option...there are no pediatric dentists on our plan. If I go to one I'd have to self pay and we just cannot possibly afford that :(
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    You can get one of the dentist that refuse to work with your son to write a referral for an out of network dentist. I did this for DD1 because the dentist on the plan did not see kids under the age of 6. There was no provider within a 60 mile radius that saw kids under six.

    Your situation is slightly different, but if the dentist cannot manage your child, then you need a "specialist"
  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    First choice: Pediatric Dentist qualified to help special needs kids

    If one is not available - find a dentist that is good with kids. Check the office. Some dentists have colorful offices and "prize machines" plus a great, friendly staff. That's the second choice.

    If neither of those options are available - build youself a kit to take to the dentist. Put in the kit headphones and music (Mp3 player or what-have-you). The headphones should be large and comfy. Let your child control the volume. Put in the kit a "stuffie" of some kind to hug. Put in the kit a heavy blanket. Let the child feel "tucked in" in the dentist chair. Definitely allow laughing gas for the exam. And have a prize to give to your child at the end. (And if you are going to do the kit - let the dentist know before hand so there is no "Hey! We don't allow that!"....and if they don't? Find one that does...

    Good luck!
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    Anything that calms him like a blankie, stuffed animal...?

    His only experience with a dentist is having a tooth fixed. Not fun.

    How about... You take him with you to have YOUR teeth cleaned? So he can see it doesn't really hurt - and it's YOU, not him?

    I hate having to go to the dentist, but at least I have a great one.
  8. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I agree with- pediatric dentist - but one who is comfortable/experienced with- special needs. Just because they're a pediatrician dentist doesn't mean they have experience with- special needs. Since ins. won't cover pediatrician dentist, I'd call them and ask if you can get a waiver for an out-of-network dentist since your son does have special needs. If they don't cooperate (and assuming insurance is through company), try calling HR at company to see if they can have any pull with- getting waiver for pediatrician dentist. The old ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure argument is a very valid one.

    Also, when calling to make an appointment with- a dentist, be blunt about degree of special needs. There's absolutely no point in going in to see someone who is not prepared to deal with- the behaviors. My oldest still sees a pediatrician dentist (ripe old age of 22, LOL) who has been a real blessing for us. In my experience, when I explain the situation (no oral motor control, needs debridement every 6 months, oral blocks, etc., etc.), most the time I've been told they don't "see patients like that." Our dentist is getting ready to retire and I'm just dreading trying to find a new one who will work with- Boo, rather than just sedate him into oblivion.

    And re: sedation - I'm a mega worrier, so I'd be very leery of doing that in an outpatient setting. You'd have a sedated kid with a mouth wide open, possibly impaired swallow/gag reflex, and the potential for a compromised airway (just in my glass-half-empty, Murphy's-Law-rules-my-world opinion ;) ).

    Would desensitization work, d'ya think? One visit to look around office, one visit just to sit in chair, one visit to maybe brush teeth by himself (or you do it) there in the chair, one visit to have dentist just look at front teeth, etc. Would be time consuming and expensive, but again - prevention vs. cure.
  9. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    We have a children's dentist is town who I would NEVER refer a child to. He has NO skills with kids and when I overheard him telling another patient "If you don't behave mom will have to leave the room.", well, let's say that that sealed the deal for me and my search was renewed for a dentist for my kids.

    I would suggest a "dry run" first. Find a dentist who is child friendly and willing to go through the motions without the intrusive work - a "pretend" check up. Spends time letting the kid swish water and spit out, counts the teeth using a tool to tap or just a finger to tap each tooth while counting out loud, trying on the funny gas mask even if you never go that route, reviewing the music selections available for headsets, trying on the glasses used when the light is too bright, explaining how they go above and beyond to make their patient's comfortable, practicing opening wide and turning slightly, explaining the variety of tools, giving a tour of the office, suggesting that if he will let them take an x-ray or two that they will let him watch how it is developed........

    Check around to see if there is a college/university that offers dental courses. Sometimes they are looking for people to practice on and I would think the students would love to show your son around their lab.

    The blood draws are harder - I don't have any ideas past squeezing mom's hand or the promise of an ice cream cone following it.
  10. hersheyb79

    hersheyb79 New Member

    Thanks everyone for the great advice. After googling the 900 general dentists on my list, I found one that the bio says they have an autistic child. So I called and we have a time set up for DS to come in. We're going to go slow. And she gave me some names of videos to have him watch. He has been with all of us to see us get our teeth cleaned, etc...but once he's in the chair he flips out. So I'm hoping this dentist is a keeper, because I'm getting tired of looking.

    FWIW...I'm pretty ticked that he has a cavity...I have brushed his teeth 2x/day since his 1st one erupted 6 years ago. There is really no reason for him to have's just another one of life's little Ha Ha moments (Ha Ha, your kid has horrible sensory problems...he's going to get a cavity; but your child with no issues who likes the dentist will always have perfect teeth!).
  11. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

  12. buddy

    buddy New Member

    The last time my son had to go to the ER and get an IV they used that instant numbing thing they have (any medication. people??? I forgot the name) it is a blunt thing that they put on the area and it makes a pop sound like opening a soda needle, no pain and then there is no feeling. The lidocain cream we used too in the past problem is (my sister was an IV specialist for a long time) is that it can make the veins harder to get to for some people and it only goes down so far...they can still feel it compared to the new stuff.

    For dentists, I called around until I could find an "old fashioned" office in that each room is separate. So many of ours now are just open rooms with at most a dividing half-wall between the kids. We tried that but the crying from other kids made my son go nuts. I talk to the dentist (interview) before I let kiddo meet them. I am not going to waste my time with someone who doesn't get it. I interview every doctor (except emergency specialists) too.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  13. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I agree, in this instance I would talk to a patient advocate or similar person thru insurance....appeal any rejection. I just found out recently that Gillette Childrens specialty hospital has their own dentistry and orthodontia. when I looked for braces ONE office...the university would take him. It worked out okay but really would have been so much better to be at a hospital. that deals with ONLY special needs kids. even insurance didn't tell me about them. Now I know!
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  14. rimpley

    rimpley Guest

    We don't have a pediatric dentist...the nearest would be 4 hours away. We did a program at the local health unit called Tiny Teeth that really helped as she got used to the chair and the feeling of the tools in her mouth. We changed dentists to one that was recommended for kids and she did well with her first real cleaning and filling...then that dentist started making some very out there claims (I had 12 fillings that needed to be done and husband's jaw was falling apart). We went back to our regular dentist. She had one filling remaining. Was OK with the needle but then freaked when her mouth started to become frozen. Screaming, crying...meltdown. We were trying to leave because she wouldn't calm down and then the freakout was renewed because she then realized her tooth wasn't fixed. We've had a couple of appts for cleaning and checkups since and she's been fine. My advice would be to get someone who is comfortable with kids, but also do it before they've had a chance to become overstimulated. This was late afternoon for us and I don't know what the heck I was thinking. It was after kindergarten and daycare. Hope you end up with a positive experience!
  15. buddy

    buddy New Member

    sorry, I missed that you already replied that you found someone.... but I thought this was funny, and true!
  16. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    The combination of a pediatric dentist and bribery usually worked for me.
  17. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Now that you found someone... I always bring an Ipod and game boy to dentist appointments.
  18. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I never could find I gave up. When Miss KT finally realized her teeth were crooked and her breath was awful, I managed to get her into the orthodontist, and he scolded her for not taking proper care of her teeth. I also told her I wasn't going to pay for braces if she wasn't going to take care of them properly. That was about the time her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) kicked in, and now she brushes and flosses who knows how many times a day.

    And even after all those years of fighting me about brushing properly? She has NO cavities.
  19. hersheyb79

    hersheyb79 New Member

    I wanted to update you all...

    We went to the dentist today. He did really well. They switched things around, did his cleaning and stuff first...then the x-rays. That seemed to help things a lot. The bad news...he has 7 cavities. He also has a tooth that is coming in with no enamel at all. So once that tooth completely erupts he will need a crown on that tooth. Poor little dude has my husband's bad teeth.

    So next week he has to have dental surgery. They are concerned that fixing things the traditional way will cause too much trauma and won't be able to handle everything. So in the long run, the outpatient surgery is the easier of the 2 options. So I'm not really looking forward to that, but we gotta do what we gotta do.
  20. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    It was good that you went when you did. Poor kid. Glad the appointment went well.