My eight year old son went to the dentist for the very first time this week. That is definitely something to add to the “Reasons why I am a bad mommy” column. Judge me. Go ahead. I can take it. I’m even okay with it.
Taking my son to the dentist seven years after the recommended age by the American Dental Association perhaps seems like a major mommy fail moment. One thing I have learned as Daniel’s mother, as a mother of a child with special medical and developmental needs, is to pick my battles and only put my energy into the battles that are necessary and a sure win. His dental health was very important but even more so was getting the boy to learn how to put food and drink into his mouth; how to chew and swallow and to finally get rid of his gastrostomy tube. It was long, hard-fought battle and I don’t regret making that a priority.
Right around the time when I began to think that my boy was ready for the dentist’s chair, I had a minor skirmish with a pediatric dentist who used to care for my children. Okay, maybe this wasn’t the right time or right dentist. It’s a long story and surprisingly I haven’t blogged about it…yet.
I know! It’s absolutely shocking because, well, it’s a doozy. Maybe someday I will share.
So began my journey to find the right dentist for my son (and his sisters). My expectations were high so it took a while… a long while. Finally, right here in my own town, I found the dentist that I do believe is the right one for my (not so) little man and his sisters. I let his sister Jodie, who was the reason for the verbal battle with the pediatric dentist, take him for a test drive and he proved to be, quite possibly, the one…
OMG! This sounds like an episode from The Bachelor, doesn’t it…not that I would ever watch that show!
Nevertheless, Hometown Dentist seemed like the one who could appreciate and respect just how special our boy is so I made an appointment. Hometown Dentist and I agreed that this would be a test drive for Daniel. I did my part by filling out the necessary paperwork and prepping Daniel for the big day in the dentist chair. I was nervous but Daniel…
…Daniel told me as he settled into the dentist chair that he was so excited! And why not? That chair was amazing! It moved up and down and back and forth like some way-cool amusement park ride. When you are an 8 year old boy, what’s not to love about that?
He settled back into the chair ready for his first dental x-rays. I half expected him to say, “I’m ready for my close-up!” He didn’t. But he did get to see his x-rays right away on the computer monitor by his chair where he could review them and pronounce his satisfaction like he does with the photos I take of him. “Keep it!”, he declared to the dental technician.
The dentist came in, introduced himself to Daniel, talked a little about life in first grade, bakugans and tae kwon do and got down to the exam. Together Daniel and he took a look at his x-rays and saw…
They then counted his teeth…all twenty-two of them. Hometown Dentist pointed out the obvious that extensive orthodonture is in Daniel’s future but for now, he has a healthy smile and the plan should be to keep on working on maintaining that healthy smile.
So it was time for a teeth cleaning…
…and a little fluoride treatment and sealant applied to his molars. The suction was a little hard for him to handle as he would tense up just a little. Who could blame him when for 132 days in the NICU the suction catheter was an instrument of torture? Still he would reassure mom and the pretty dental hygienist that he was okay. When it was all done he received his “1st dentist visit goodie bag” and, with gratitude and pride, he hugged everyone in Hometown Dentist’s office. He is well on his way to being their favorite patient I am sure.
The visit went well. Hometown Dentist is my hero. Daniel is so thrilled with his first visit and is looking forward to his next visit in six months. And I am so happy to finally cross this off the “bad mommy” column.