Charlie's 8am dentist appointment on Monday probably clocked in as one of the speediest ever. He got his teeth checked (no cavities and minimal plaque build-up), brushed (with his own toothbrush and preferred toothpaste) and fluoride applied in under ten minutes.
We all decided (quickly) that there was no need to scrape Charlie's teeth---the dentist has been able to do this at previous appointments but it seems best now to have that sort of thing done when Charlie does not have to be coaxed to 'say ah' and sit for one minute longer in the dentist chair. Twice yearly appointments for check-ups (just to make sure there are no major teeth issues like an abscessed tooth or a bunch of cavities) and dental surgery for big cleanings and fillings and such: At this time in Charlie's life these seem the best options. Enough plus that Charlie did well in the brief time he was at the dentist's office Monday and that he got a fluoride treatment; that he brushes his teeth though rather too hastily---certainly better than nothing.
Sure I was hoping Charlie would so learn to tolerate dentist visits that he might one day be able to have braces put on. It's been a long time since we entertained such thoughts, our focus now on 'good dental health' and keeping dentist visits as peaceable as possible. Charlie does not, indeed, need them, except for cosmetic reasons---reasons which, in the grand scheme of autismland things, matter pretty minimally.
What does matter was that Charlie, thanks to one viewing of a a Stories2Learn social story, fully understood where he was going Monday morning. In fact, he got up before 7am (it did help that we set the clocks back here in the US on Sunday morning to regular time so Charlie's body clock was an hour ahead of the clock time) and was dressed and saying 'doctor' while Jim and I were still scurrying around to get out the door. When you factor in all of his sensory sensitivities, a dentist office must seem like an amusement park of sounds, colors, smells, sensations. Charlie was smiling away when we entered the dentist's office and, while not going to sit in the chair one second longer than he did, did well.
Charlie was fine going to school afterwards and, while we did note him tapping on his mouth more than usual, he was ok. He did his usual afternoon bike ride with Jim and had a good time hanging out with my parents. He did have trouble going to sleep and wanted a second bike ride but of course it was too late and, while Charlie clearly had a lot of energy in him, he managed ok staying in the house, and running up and down the stairs quite a bit.
Eventually we (well, some of us, Charlie included) donned sweatshirts and gloves and went out walking. The air was warmer than it had been earlier. By the time we got back home, a whole panoply of stars was out.
You get what needs to get done, no more and no less, and then you carry on with the next thing, and the next.
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