Friday, August 7, 2009
Ashley had a visit with her new dentist yesterday. It went much better than the previous dentist visits. The new dentist is associated with our local Children’s Hospital, and as such, is more comfortable treating children with significant disabilities.
The dentist let Ashley remain in her wheelchair rather than asking her to move to the examination chair. The chair move had always been problematic in the past. Ashley feels comfortable in her own chair, and the sensory impact of moving to a strange chair would be the first step in making the visit difficult.
The dentist and helper also understood that Ashley was deaf and that I needed to interpret what they were saying to her. Because Ashley doesn’t wear hearing aides, people often assume she can hear (even if I am signing). Her previous dentist, for example, would continue to talk to her in a low, soothing voice that I’m sure worked for most of his patients, but not for Ashley. Ashley would soon get frustrated because she knew he was trying to communicate but she couldn’t understand.
Previously, to even clean Ashley’s teeth, she had to be restrained. But with the new dentist, she just sat there and opened her mouth. Her teeth were cleaned, a little bit of tartar was scraped off, and she got a fluoride treatment. And afterwards, she was still happy!
The only negative of the visit was that the dentist was unable to recommend an orthodontist. According to the dentist, most orthodontists are not familiar with or comfortable with sedating patients. And Ashley would more than likely have to be sedated for orthodontist visits. The dentist suggested I try the dental clinic at our local teaching hospital, but she wasn’t hopeful that even they would be in the position to sedate. The dentist did agree that Ashley could greatly benefit from orthodontic treatment, but like me, doesn’t know how to make that happen.
So, readers, I need your help. Do you know of an orthodontist that might be willing to work with a child with significant special needs and who would be willing to use sedation if necessary? I would be willing to travel to the Tidewater area, the DC Metro area, Charlottesville VA, or Raleigh NC.