Over the past few weeks my husband and I have been fretting over my son’s dental appointment. How do you prepare a child with speech and language delays for a root canal and a crown? He was so excited about going swimming after the dentist that he couldn’t focus on anything we were trying to say.
It may be kind of scary today, but you are going to need to be very brave.
Very brave at the dentist, then we go swimming!
Your cheek might be a little puffy, but then it is going to go away.
Puffy. Going to the dentist and then come home and go swimming!
Sunday before the appointment I couldn’t sleep. I have had so much major dental work that I knew exactly what he’d have to go through and that stress was physically bothering me. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like for him to get those numbing shots, or hear a drill next to his face when he’s scared of the buzzers at the hair salon. How could I stay completely calm and smiling for his bravery while feeling like I was going to have a heart attack?
Monday came though and try as we might, he wasn’t going to care for much more than going to the dentist, getting his prize and then going swimming. We do our best to prep him for situations he may get nervous or scared in, but this wasn’t something he could imagine as there was nothing to relate it to. We were just going to have to do our best, all of us.
It was scary walking in and seeing him get positioned with the nurses holding him, getting nitrous oxide to make sure she remained calm and watching him whimper when he got his initial numbing shots. Though, truth be told, he was very still and very brave just as we told him he was going to need to be. He didn’t say no about anything other than the water and didn’t complain when they put the “rain coat” over his mouth so the water wouldn’t go down. He was patient and quite frankly, blew us all away. Although the nitrous in its small amount helped calm the nerves, it wasn’t enough to disorient him, this was all our son – our brave and remarkable little boy who always is full of surprises.
For a moment, let me just praise our dental office. I have NEVER, ever, in my entire life been in a dental facility as phenomenal as this. I have been to two dozen dentists since I was a child and Dentistry for Children and Adolescents (SmileKidz) is the best I have ever seen. Andrew J. Dill, DMD took the time to sit with us and go over our concerns when we first went in, he was so kind to Judah (as were all the assistants) and it made a huge impression on all of us.
Also, the entire procedure, the mini root canal and the crown, took less than 30 minutes! I know, it blew me away too! Afterward the dentist didn’t just up and leave, he took the time to go and talk to my husband to calm his nerves. My poor husband was all in knots and as I was helping my little tot pick a prize, Dr. Dill was explaining to my husband about why they use nitrous oxide. Later my husband would tell me that the nitrous oxide is included with the procedure at no cost because they don’t want families to have to make the choice of their child’s comfort based on finances. At that moment I could have cried. They cared so much for our kids and their comfort!
If you were wondering, the first thing my tot said when everything was over was, “And now we get a prize and go swimming!” In the car on the way home my husband and I were talking about how brave Judah was and how amazing the dentist was and from the backseat, with his puffy little face, we heard: “I like the dentist!”
That told us right there that Dr. Dill was going to be our dentist forever and my tot was always going to be a SmileKid.
Tot has been obviously sore, but he thinks it is kind of special to have his own little silver tooth. Although we thought initially that all our little talks about what was going to go on went right past him, he actually understood the most important parts: to be brave, patient and that it was going to be okay. So if you are ever in our shoes, know that our children hear more than they let on.
We still have one more appointment with Dr. Dill, but this time I’m not nervous at all. I know that the dentist really cares about the kids he works on and that my tot will come out of it beaming and looking forward to whatever comes next.
How did you deal with taking your child to the dentist for the first time?