Tomorrow I take Shea for his first dentist appointment ever. And, none of us are looking forward to it.
Nothing against Dr. Tweedy who is, in my honest opinion, the most wonderful Pediatric Dentist in the Seattle area...hands down. In fact, a visit to her office is more a kin to a visit to Chuck E Cheese than any memories that I have of dental visits when I was a kid. This gal and all her wonderful staff have got it down to a fine art.
But, this is Shea we are talking about. He is extremely reluctant and protective of his mouth. After all, this is the kid with low tone in his lower face. This is the kid who can't quite make his tongue and mouth work. Needless to say, teeth brushing is tough. Jake has established the routine and Shea will actually brush with him successfully, but not with me. He farts around, he tastes the toothpaste, he brushes his tongue, etc. But, Jakes manages with a mix of strong direction and praise and gets him to actually do it. Then, afterward, Shea scuttles to me and proudly shows off his clean teeth. Amazing.
"Shea, we get to go on the ferry boat tomorrow and see Dr. Tweedy, the really, really, really fun lady tooth doctor!" I enthuse with all my might.
"No. No. No." Pleadingly without missing a beat.
"But, she has fun toys and she is really nice and funny and we then can go to Petco and look at the fishies and the kitty cats afterward." I say, hoping it will blunt the reality.
"No, no, no..."
Getting a good look at his teeth has always been challenging and will test Tweedy's staff tomorrow. I remember at Children's Hospital at the Cranial Facial Clinic they couldn't even get a good look at his pallet when we visited. He has always been very protective of his mouth.
When he was a little, little baby, he did one of his stupendous falls down the stairs and bonked his front teeth. I remember seeing blood seeping around the tooth and it still hurts to think about it. A while after that we noticed the tooth becoming discolored. I thought it was damaged and becoming a "dead" tooth but since then the tooth seems normal and white near the gum although still discolored. My hope is that Dr. Tweedy can give us an opinion on that.
Vashon, who's water supply comes from an aquifer, has no fluoride added to the the water. It is normal practice for the children on the island to take fluoride drops during the early years through 12. Maybe the discoloration has something to do with that? Maybe I didn't give him enough? Or gave him too much?
Hopefully, Dr. Tweedy will be able to give us some information with the brief glimps that Shea will allow her. Wish us luck. We will need it.
It went as well as could be expected. The hygienist was very understanding and pretty informed real about Shea's issues and worked hard to get him to warm up but he wasn't going for it. He got to see the tools, ride the chair, get bribed with various tooth related tid-bits but he wouldn't show his teeth.
They asked if I would like to have a private exam room where I could hold him down so the doctor could look at his teeth. Yes, I would, thank you very much. So, that is exactly what we did. Dr. Tweedy is a very mild, gentle person, she visited with him for a while but then he climbed on my lap and I just held his arms down and tried to keep his head still. He was annoyed then pissed off and then screamed his head off. But, that is one way to get him to show his teeth. The Dr. was able to examine the discolored tooth and said that it was just fine, not a dead tooth and the gums looked healthy. She counted his teeth and even managed to floss them all in a very short time.
Whew. Shea recovered well, in fact went right back to his normal chirpy as soon as he got his bright blue balloon. They assured me that he handled it very well and that I should be very proud of him. And, he even gave the hygenist a hug good-bye!
Would I do it again? Yes, absolutely. I already arranged the next appointment in July. But, it was pretty stressful. Something about hearing your kids scream his head off maybe. My hope is that it will go a little better next time. But, all in all it sure could've been worse. The wonderful folks at Dr. Tweedy's came through again.