Looking back on my life through the lens of Sensory Processing Disorder makes sense of a lot of odd behaviors and incidents. I can’t remember how old I was when this happened, it must have been late elementary school or early jr. high, because my adult set of teeth were still growing in, and all my teeth came in early. One of my baby teeth had refused to fall out, and was just shoved forward by the permanent one growing in behind. The baby tooth was dead and hollow, and when my mouth had bled, the tooth was stained translucent pink. It had to come out.
I don’t know why I went to the dentist by myself, maybe I insisted, or something came up, or my parents didn’t think they needed to be there. None of us knew what oral defensiveness was, or that it was the reason I was such a picky eater, or what it would do to me at the dentist that morning.
I had done fine at the dentist previously, gagging on x-ray tabs and grimacing, clutching, and bracing for the cleanings, but I’d been lucky, and had never needed anything except a cleaning until then. It never occurred to me that they might need to numb my mouth, and I may not have even known how it is they do it.
I checked myself in, calmly walked to the room, and melted in to the chair. The strange dentist smell sort of pleasant, the gentle hum of equipment motors soothing, and shutting my eyes against the overhead lights, I was sleepy and content. I don’t remember what exactly happened next, but I know the dentist never got that needle anywhere near the inside of my mouth, I was sobbing, he was exasperated and probably confused, and I walked home, tooth intact, sniffling and shaking.
The tooth crumbled away, one little piece at a time, over the next few months. Years later, when I had to get my wisdom teeth pulled, I was given a sedative and managed to get it done. I was sobbing then, but at least I cried with my mouth open.There are a lot of things we could have done to make the procedure happen if we had known, and while I can’t go back and help little me, I can help little Simon. We haven’t been to the dentist yet, but now that he’s four, we really need to make the effort. Financially, we’re stuck going to a managed care sort of dentist not known for gentle or accommodating staff. It’s unfortunate, but I’ll do everything I can to make arrangements that will make it easier for him. Being a sensory kid without having a clue what it means was difficult, and makes the understanding we have now that much better. We know how to help Simon, and that makes all the difference.