Thursday, October 09, 2008
Jack's Dentist Visit is a Success!!! Way to go, Jack!
Today was Jack's official first dental appointment. Yes, he's 6 (and a half, he'll remind you) but this has been one of those forbidden tasks. We tried when he was 4 with our family dentist but it was a complete disaster, full of screaming, big eyes and clamped down jaw. A failure, to say the least. But we knew we couldn't avoid it forever, so we made an appointment with Dr. Tim McNutt, Pediatric and Special Needs Dentist. Mommy was very apprehensive as she broke the news to Jack in the car on Monday about his upcoming appointment. To my amazement, Jack said "Ok, but they can just count my teeth, ok? If they hurt my teeth, they will fall out and I will throw up." Alrighty then! So we planned a bit of a "look see", and prepared the staff accordingly. If we got through teeth counting, perhaps brushing, we'd call it a success and schedule a follow up. We considered sedation, but decided to just try it first to see where we stood with him and his dentist phobia.
All week he's reminded us that on Thursday he'd be going to school AFTER he met the dentist. Mommy and Grandpa drove Jack to the dentist and he seemed comfortable with the idea. He checked out the fish tank in the waiting room and talked calmly about other things. He was quickly called back and I went with him. I was expecting some panic, but he sat nicely in the chair (we never even got that far at 4!) and Miss Donna brought him a big stuffed alligator, complete with a set of human-like teeth, a giant alligator toothbrush and giant alligator mirror. Jack thought this was great! He showed Miss Donna how to brush and they counted the teeth. The rest of the appointment went just as smoothly! They eased him into the instruments, letting him hold them, use them on "Alli", and get comfortable before using them on his mouth. He was able to watch the Disney Channel above the chair, and the distraction was effective.
Dr. McNutt offered lots of praise to Jack from the sidelines. Miss Donna counted his teeth (20), checked for 6 yr molars (none), checked for loose teeth (none of those either), brushed and used a scaler. Then Dr. McNutt came over, "checked" Miss Donna's work, and used the scaler to further clean Jack's teeth til he had a beautiful pearly white smile!! The entire appointment was 30 minutes long, and Jack never got upset or anxious. They took a picture of Jack with Dr. McNutt and printed it so he could take it and show his class at school. He got to pick a few prizes from the treasure chest for his good behavior and Dr. McNutt told him to come back when he's 7 and to bring his little brother too. Jack said "ok!"
As we walked to the car, all 3 of us proudly grinning from ear to ear, Jack said "I wasn't scared at all!" No, he wasn't scared. He kept his emotions in check and found a way to rationalize what previously had been some irrational feelings about this experience. I am overcome with pride over such a seemingly average experience. But that's all we want...is to just allow him to be like everyone else. And he sure did that today! Yay, Jack!