Mark it! You had a big week sweet girl....you had your very first dentist appointment. It was a long time coming (a few years now) and was in no way "easy peasy", but you did it & dad and I are super proud!
Let me back up a bit to better explain this amazing accomplishment.
We realized long ago that you had "sensory" challenges. Doctors call it "Sensory Processing Disorder" which basically means that certain sounds, tastes, and feelings (like "touching" feelings, not the kind in your tummy :)!) can cause you to have intense reactions.
One in particular was an exceptional distain for having your teeth brushed. I mean - you wouldn't let a tooth brush in the same room as you, much less anywhere near your mouth! As a result, your dental hygiene was a serious concern of mine.
Under normal circumstances it is recommended that a child be seen by a dentist by the age of 1 or within 6 months after his or her first tooth comes in. So, as you will note, I was a little off in following this "conventional guidance" since I finally got you to your first dentist appointment at the age of 5 1/2!
We thought that because of the emotional trauma a trip to the dentist would cause, it was better to avoid what would have sure been a horrible scene. Please know it wasn't because we didn't care about your health, it was just more complicated than taking most children to the dentist.
Children that have sensory processing challenges can find the dentist office a complete nightmare!
***Important intra-letter side note: Witnessing your child's anxiety at the dentist office is quite traumatic for the parents as well. I don't think there is a parent out there that wakes up and says "you know what would be fun...completely terrifying my child today!" Think about it....not only are there the usual fears about strangers, but now they are trying to put their hands in your mouth! There's bright lights, strange sounds, unusual taste and weird sensations! We love you very much and made what we thought was the best decision for you. Okay, back to your regularly schedule Dear Addie letter...
So... we waited, and waited, and waited. I know. Risky move. Especially because you have an amazingly beautiful smile, but - nonetheless, we thought it best. Believe it or not, the first 3 years of your life you never even used a tooth brush. Crazy, right???
How did we keep your pearly whites from turning black and just falling out!?!?
Truth be told, we didn't disregard your teeth altogether, we just decided to use what's referred to as "mother natures tooth brush."
Big, juicy, red apples.....lots and lots of apples. Some people may not know this, but chewing fresh apples helps stimulate the gums, reduces cavity causing bacteria and increases saliva flow.
In turn, saliva decreases acidity in your mouth, washes away particles of food and prevents decay-causing dry mouth.
Please understand, I'm not one of those crazy, neo-cavewoman anti modern life back to nature kind of gals...and as such, I'm not advocating that apples should replace a tooth brush, but under the circumstances it was our best bet - so we took a chance.
After your 3rd birthday, you were enrolled in Occupational Therapy (our home away from home) 3-4 times a week where you worked on many things, but desensitizing the toothbrush was high on the list. After about 4 months we finally had success! Whoop whoop!
I'm happy to report that today you tolerate me brushing your teeth once a day or at least every other day. I know, it still doesn't seem like enough, but it's huge around here! Combining that with the apples, I felt like we were on the right dental hygiene path.
That all said, things changed a few weeks ago when I noticed that you had not only had a few little, wiggly teeth, but actually had "big girl" teeth poking through behind them! I knew we had to bite the bullet and start the search for a pediatric dentist.
After a lot of research on special needs dentistry, phone calls and friends suggestions, luck would have it and we found a fantastic place!
Heading into the appointment, I was preparing myself to hear the absolute worst about the health of your teeth and acknowledge it was all my doing!
In the office, your resistance started immediately. But we were in this together! One Team, One Dream -mom, dad, brother, sister, we all walked back together. It was a tight fit in the room (probably not designed to hold our party of 5) but we were determined to show you that you were not alone!
We did have to use restraints on you, but we NEVER left your side, were stroking your face, smiling and daddy softly sang songs to you the whole time!
You did great Addie! I know you disliked every second, but you were amazing my dear.
So, the doctor starts looking at your teeth. Remember I was mentally preparing for what she had to say. Then she starts to tell us what she sees....
"Mom, dad, I don't know what you're doing at home, but keep it up! Her teeth look great! No cavities, no plaque, no tarter, nothing! AND they are beautifully white!"
So yes, we waited. We put our faith in a chance that Mother Nature would help us out! And sure enough, like everything in our lives, it was predictably unpredictable - but in a good way.
Great job Addie!