Going to the dentist use to be a dreaded mission, however, this all changed when we finally found gifted doctors who practiced painless dentistry, for me and for Jess. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but they are out there. Of course, the day it snowed was the day Jess had her appointment She goes to a pediatric practice that also specializes with special needs. I’m sure Jess has aged out, but as long as they keep making appointments for her, I will not rock the boat and I will not complain about the hour drive either.
When Jess first went to this practice, she had eight cavities. The dentist was livid and asked if she ever had dental care before? When I told him who we had been seeing, his anger was no longer with me. Apparently, he had other patients from that same doctor. I’ve since been told that there was a time (not sure if this is still the case) dentists had a choice as to how invasive they wanted to be when treating special needs patients. It was acceptable to just clean the teeth and send them on their way. Of course, this is not acceptable.
What I appreciate about our current dentist is how they treat all of their patients. They are current in their methods and their focus is to have this be a pleasant and positive experience. When Jess was to have the cavities filled, she was given a cocktail to relax and they swaddled her while she was in the examination chair. As an adult, I didn’t know having a cocktail was an option!
For some parents, the thought of having their child strapped to a chair sounds horrific, but let me explain. This is not much different than swaddling a newborn baby. No, Jess is not a baby, but she does get comfort from the sensory feedback she gets when wrapped. I guess you could say this is the same premise as the Thundershirt (a velcro shirt made for dogs who have high anxiety). Even Temple Grandin has praised the use of weighted blankets or squeezebox. The wrap works much the same way. It gives Jess deep pressure which meets her sensory needs. It calms her down and as a side benefit, prevents her from flailing her arms, or exiting stage left (which had crossed my mind with less skilled dentists).
At this visit, Jess actually reached for the Velcro and attempted to put them on herself. As you can see from the photos, this is not a negative experience. This was not forced on her. This was her choice. All I know is that when something works, Jess is an eager participant, I follow her lead. This wrapping makes going to the dentist a pleasant experience. In my eyes, it is all part of painless dentistry. Now I need to ask my dentist about that cocktail, shaken not stirred, please.