My husband and I have sat in many waiting rooms over the past few years, anxiously awaiting news. It’s scary, and nerve wracking, and lonely—your basic trifecta of darkness.
But thankfully and luckily and gratefully (your basic trifecta of good fortune) our children’s surgeries have gone well.
Yes, I said children.
I rarely write about our developmentally typical boy child. He’s a full-on teen now and his stories are his stories to tell. But recently he had to have surgery. He’s the kid we don’t have to worry about or fill out complicated medical waivers for. I actually said something to that effect not long ago so apparently I jinxed it. Anyway, it was fine. He is fine.
I asked him if I can share a bit about it at some point because we learned some things from this experience that I know other parents can benefit from. He said, “Sure,” with a shrug. So I’ll get to it one of these days.
But back to the undisputed star of this blog—our developmentally atypical girl child.
She has several surgeries under her belt—none as serious as some of the ones friends’ children have gone through. But, there have been risks and complications and anesthesia and touch-and-go moments. Handing your child over to a scalpel wielding surgeon is not for the faint of heart under any circumstance.
So today’s minor dental filling, in comparison, should have been no biggie. But the thing is, it was.
Avery’s teeth are a challenge. They’re porous and jammed together. Flossing is brutal and due to oral sensory issues, brushing effectively has been difficult. When she was little we needed to supplement her diet with sugary drinks like Ensure. Calories trumped all and tooth rot was collateral damage. I feel like I should hang my head in shame when I say that because good parents don’t let their kids get cavities. But whatever. It happens.
Unfortunately when it happens for us, it means a trip to Sick Kids Hospital where Avery is put under general anesthesia for dental surgery effectively turning a little cavity a big deal.
Going to the dentist has never been scary for Avery. The kid feels no pain or no fear. For real.
She loves the treasure box and the attention. Well, she did until one dentist nearly destroyed that forever. This pediatric dentist came highly recommended. At first we were impressed and Avery trusted and adored her.
Then, when there were some personal challenges (yes, I heard all about her nasty divorce through the grapevine) it changed.This dentist become impatient and cold. At one appointment she grabbed my daughter’s head roughly and barked, “Stay still!” The look of hurt and fear in my daughter’s eyes was crushing. At the next appointment the second we pulled into the parking lot Avery cried and begged for me not to make her go in. And that was it. We didn’t go in and we never went back.
Instead I took her to MY dentist—the one I’d been going to since I was seventeen years old. Dr. Fielding isn’t a pediatric dentist nor does he specialize in kids with special needs. He’s just kind and wonderful with children. His office is kid friendly and his staff are warm and caring. That’s all we needed. Avery’s love of a trip to the dentist was restored.
Today for the first time ever, Avery had a filling in a regular dentist. With the freezing and drilling.
I have to admit, this was the most nervous I have EVER been in a waiting room.
Obviously, this procedure wasn’t at all life threatening. I know that. But the way my girl skipped into the office, so trusting and truly excited to be there, I couldn’t bear the thought of her suddenly fearing the dentist again.
Dr. Fielding agreed to try this procedure on a child who has difficulty staying still. He agreed to try so he could help her avoid yet another operating room.
And after 40 minutes, he did it. And SHE did it. She stayed still. Well, still enough.
She wasn’t afraid of the needle—she took the freezing like a champ. Because she’s a serial mouth breather, she couldn’t have “the gas” so she faced it all head on, like the little trooper she is.
And she got her tooth drilled and filled just like the other kids do.
She chose a most deserved prize from the treasure bin. And she said afterwards that she loves Dr. Fielding and she can’t wait to go back.
This fills me with gratitude and relief.
My daughter can get filling at a dental office, not a hospital. What a wonderful milestone.