Refusing to pay for preventative things.

Dun Haddit

Either condemn me or set me strait, but this has caused an enormous fight.

The children are all reminded to brush 2x per day, have several dozen tubes of paste to choose from, dental floss and flossing sticks, pre brushing rinses, after brushing rinses and the Sonicare that has quadrant timing. I even got them each a dental bag for their backpacks and they get more of everything at both their appointments each year.

Son has 4 cavities since the last dental check 6 months ago. I was furious the fillings were going to be almost $250, then went through the roof when the dentist said 2 of the cavities may be cause for a root canal.

My husband and I argued over the costs because they were preventable. How hard is it to brush? He was going to pay for the root canal just for the purpose of not having CPS get after us for having the teeth removed, instead! (We have problems with this particular child making false reports & and the bio mom making them as well.)

Am I off base? Since when are we expected to pay hundreds or upwards of thousands of dollars to save teeth they won't even brush?

I say pull. Period. I could be overreacting, I realize, I'm just so stressed with all the damage and destruction caused, and apparently, money does grow on trees, to pay, hand over fist for laziness.

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Active Member
It depends how old, you didn't say. My family didn't believe in dentist, isn't that great? My mom, dad or grandparents never once took me to a dentist. You would think they would since my grandmother and my dad lost all of their teeth at a very young age, but for whatever reason, they didn't. However, I was a rarity, most of my friends went to the dentist for their check ups and everything. You can still get cavities even if you take perfect care of your teeth at home. That's why you need them professional cleaned by a dentist, what is it, once a year? By the way, which teeth need to come out?

But trust me I hear you, root canals cost so much money. I had to have mine pulled in the back.

Dun Haddit

13. And we constantly remind, brush, brush, brush. He will go so far out of his way to not do what's expected. When he was raising turkey for the fair, he was required to work with each bird 15 minutes. I watched him set his watch timer, walk to the bird pen, the walk around it the while time.

He was given sentences for a behavior. Halfway through, he decided he shouldn't have to write them. He spent the time writing a completely different sentence.

When reading for school, he looks at the pages, then turns them. I think he has a certain time spends before page turning. Schools all read the same books so I ask him questions about it...he's already 'forgotten' what he has read.

It's not just the teeth, it's absolutely every waking moment. He refuses to put dirty clothes in the hamper, they don't get washed and he throws snot flying, high-pitched girl screams, etc. then it's my fault for not washing them. I refuse to enable him. I can't wash what's not out in the wash area.

So, I'm less than enthused with almost every behavior. Can't follow rules or directions, thinks he is impervious to consequences and expects everything he asks for, but won't do anything to deserve it.

He will even act like he deserves rewards for not stomping on his brother's head. Not attacking someone means he was 'good'.

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Well-Known Member
Cavitas are not simply caused by lack of brushing. Some do get them no matter how well they take care of their teeth, some do not get any even though they don't take care of their dental hygiene. 13 is very young and many are not capable to think long term consequences in that age. For me, in that age, health care is a responsibility of a parent and child having issues preventing them from making good health choices would not be a reason for not getting them best possible health care.

By the way, since consequences or reminders don't seem to work, have you tried other techniques like token economy? I do know the family where that worked better than anything else they tried with quite disturbed children.
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amelia d

Hope outweighs experience
Maybe I'm missing something ...but your profile indicates that your son has been diagnosed with multiple issues. You are also a board member for the Autism Society San Diego. Why does it surprise you that he has been having problems? Your expectation that he is just going to tow the line and follow direction seems unrealistic, given his diagnosis. As far as cavaties, there are multiple reasons; some kids have a genetic pre disposition to them, sometimes the water is not flourinated, and sometimes their diet increases the likely hood of dental problems etc. It's not always just poor brushing and flossing. It sounds like your frustration has increased to the point that you are personalizing everything he does as a direct attack on you. Maybe he is...but chances are, with his diagnosis, you are just seeing who your child is. My stepson has aspergers (and possibly ODD-though never concretely diagnosed) and we would (and still at 18) go round and round because he would not follow specific direction. From cleaning the bathroom to completing homework to washing his hands. I used to tell his therapist that I wasn't sure if he was aspergers or a**hole! I know it is a lesson in frustration and it feels like you're being disrespected. That is a hard thing to accept. I finally saw some improvement when I lowered my expectations, and stopped being so critical of everything he did, or did not do. That helped him relax a bit.
I think getting any teenager to correctly complete chores all the time is near impossible, unless you're living in a Brady Bunch sitcom...and even they had a full time maid! Obvioulsy, you've got lots of stuff happening, but maybe you need to start to change some of your reactions to his behavior, in an effort to get him to change . Just a thought. Good luck.


Well-Known Member
I totally agree with Amelia. For one thing, cavities are not always preventable. I adopted a kid who lived in an orhanage and never brushed his teeth in his life until coming here and I had a biological child who brushed. I was really afraid that the adopted child's dental appointment would be awful. It My biological son, who brushed, had six cavities (my family has notoriously bad teeth. I had...ready?...TWENTY THREE cavities the first time I went to the dentist. Now my mom let me drink a bottle with chocolate milk in it, sot hat's why so many, but some kids just don't get cavities). Which brings us to the adopted child who never brushed. He had no cavities.To this day, he has no cavities.

I personally don't think this is worth any punishment at all, especially with this child's disabilities. He can not be expected to see life the way you do and I'd relax the standards a bit. You can't make him not have disabilities by punishing him. You need to get him the proper supports and let some things go. My 21 year old son is on the autism spectrum and doing well. It took him almost until twenty to see the wisdom in hygiene. Autism is a developmental delay, even if the child is intellectually bright or average.

I agree that teens, even the best teens, are not always going to jump when you say they should jump. It's normal. You will feel better if you relax some of your standards. So I agree with your husband. Oh, yeah. I also think writing sentences is non-productive and a unhelpful punishment. Has it helped yet?..Are any of you in therapy?

Good luck :)

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I agree with the others. My son doesn't brush-nothing we can do to get him to brush. Interestingly, he has never had a cavity. During his last visit the dentist says he has very strong teeth. We still try to encourage hi to brush but even his yellowing teeth isn't motivation. It's a battle I choose not to fight.

I'm sorry about the costs of the root canals-no fun!