I took Jude to the dentist a couple of weeks ago and as usual, it was quite the experience.
Jude had struggled in the morning at school, had a full on meltdown before I arrived but typical for him, flew out of it in a positive fashion. Ever the extreme…
We’ve been through a few dentists in our time. Mostly bad experiences but this last one was absolutely the polar opposite. Perhaps because it was set in an NHS clinic and not a private surgery, they maybe have a wider variety (shall we say) of clientele. Arriving at reception, the ladies at the desk were really lovely, chatted to Jude and answered all of his food based questions…what’s your favourite dinner? What’s your favourite snack…etc :/
We waited for a few minutes before being called. I’d collected Jude a little earlier than necessary in case of any incidents, delays, Jude moments, but thankfully it was all going incredibly smoothly so far.
In the dentists room, we were greeted by a really friendly two woman team. Jude wandered in with a big smile on his face but then reality hit and he suddenly stopped marching, the smile faded and he froze to the spot. We kept it light hearted and carried on as if everything was normal – I sat down and Jude slumped to the floor by the door but it didn’t bother the dentist. She was amazing, even came and sat with Jude for a chat about food (of course), gaining his trust and bringing back that infamous grin and accompanying laughter.
It’s amazing how quick you can evaluate a situation when you have a child like Jude. Safe/not safe, friend/foe is all decided in a matter of seconds. Naturally, I only felt positive emotions even as soon as we stepped into this room but that hasn’t always been the case.
There’s the dentist who made me cry. Jude was only about five at the time and he refused to open his mouth or even sit on the dentists chair. But rather than encourage Jude and talk to him, he turned to me and rather aggressively questioned “why won’t he even open his mouth?” The despair, the annoyance that he showed at Jude not performing as he should was too much. Jude was upset and I was caught in the middle trying to get Jude to sit down whilst negotiating this brute of a man. In the end, I said to him “you do know he has learning disabilities, right?” Quickly, the guys face changed and he said, “Oh I hadn’t realised.” But the damage was done, Jude had been treated like dirt yet again and I wasn’t staying a minute longer.
On flouncing out the door, I reminded the dentist that perhaps he should read his notes before berating vulnerable patients. I put a complaint in about his behaviour but heard nothing further.
The second crap experience wasn’t so upsetting but rather exasperating. We were recommended someone in London as being super brilliant with children like Jude. Emmeline was tiny still but I was willing to brave the train with all three if it meant seeing a genius dentist. Anyway, we got there and it became apparent very quickly that actually, this guy didn’t have a clue. He spoke to me the whole time and not Jude. He looked uneasy around Jude and basically after a few minutes of not really trying, the dentist suggested we come back another time to get Jude used to visits. No chance dude!
Anyway, we seem to have hit gold this time so I’m hopeful she will make some headway with Jude’s teeth. They aren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination and I don’t doubt he’ll one day need a brace. That could be interesting…
I was so proud of Jude though and quite clearly he was pretty pleased with himself too. His smile and laughter is absolutely hilarious and he happily told everyone about his morning out of school. However, the highlight for him was most definitely the carpark lift.
Have you had much success with dentists? I know it’s a rather fraught area with children anyway, let alone those with additional needs.