Dentist visit

I think this week, we and most people I know, took our children to the dentist. Is this because our state is reaching 65% of adults having at least their first vaccine dose? Is this because really 15 months is as long as anyone should go without going to the dentist? (I know many of us have gone much longer, especially as adults.) LSS kids tend to have some dental weirdness going on - in Lila’s case, she has a fused tooth, and we weren’t sure if she might also be missing some teeth. Neither of these things is actually particularly uncommon.

The last time Mark took Molly to our regular dentist, she slammed her jaws shut and refused to open them. I’m not sure if this is related to Mark’s parenting style, in that he does not value bribery as an effective method for getting kids to do something. I bribe myself to go to the dentist so why would I do anything differently for the kids? (I also don’t think that promising that my kid gets to watch TV all afternoon when its already a half-day and I then don’t have to come up with something for her to do is really a bribe so much as a total win for all parties. ) But I was also wondering if maybe taking her to our family dentist was part of the problem, because they aren’t one of those fun pediatric practices.

I knew that we couldn’t reasonably take Lila to our regular family dentist for her dental care. We needed a place that could sedate her as needed, and I wanted a dentist who had a lot of experience with special needs kids. We got a recommendation from our pediatrician and after a few failed attempts, I finally got through to them to make an appointment, insurance card in hand. Then it turns out they don’t take our insurance. At this point, Lila’s plaque buildup situation was starting to look pretty scary, so I just called the first pediatric practice that was within easy driving distance, said they took our insurance, and sedates kids. I made appointments for both kids and told Mark that we would go together and then he could go back to taking the kids to the dentist in the future.

We got there and found out only one parent per family could go back. So Mark went to wait in the car. What we should have done was all waited in the waiting room together, and then Mark should have waited in the waiting room until Lila was done so I could easily hand her off. Next time, if they are still restricted, we will schedule two separate appointments for the kids. But I went back with both kids and Lila was screaming so hard already I could barely give them her medical history and poor Molly was alone in her little chair getting her teeth cleaned being super brave all by herself. (It was one of those places where all the chairs are lined up in a row in one big room, but we were separated by plastic barriers, so she could see me but I couldn’t easily hold her hand.)

When it was the dentist’s turn to see Lila, she screamed and was extremely upset, but the dentist was completely unphased, had me sit down and lie her back so that her legs were around my waist and her head was in the dentist’s lap. Then she proceeded to do a complete dental exam and cleaning in less than 5 minutes, including getting all of the gross plaque and tartar build up off of her teeth, checked her fused tooth, asked if I had any questions, and then I was able to frantically text Mark to come get our screaming toddler out of this office so she stopped scaring the other kids. The dentist isn’t concerned about Lila’s missing teeth/fused teeth situation yet and said that her plaque buildup was likely from having…higher mineral content in her saliva? I had never heard of this. It’s a thing.

We don’t know if it’s related to her deletions. Everyone in my family who subscribes to this newsletter is just shaking their head and saying, “nope, it’s just terrible genes.” Which is probably unfortunately true. Did you know that as much as Big Floss pushes the narrative that you can prevent cavities, most of your dental outcomes are heavily dependent on your genes and not your oral hygiene habits? Regardless, Mark is an excellent flosser and stickler for oral hygiene and I use prescription strength toothpaste. I really hoped the kids would have his teeth but I’m not feeling optimistic about that. Molly brushes religiously, although probably somewhat imperfectly, for 2 minutes a day, with an electric toothbrush, and the dentist still thinks she might have a cavity. We weren’t able to find out for sure because she couldn’t get x-rays because Molly kept gagging when they tried to put the film in her mouth. Hopefully next time will go a little smoother for everyone.

Hope you all had a good week, and that if it included a dentist visit, it had minimal trauma.