So tomorrow, Miss Hallee is having her wisdom teeth out. Or rather they’re going to TRY to get her wisdom teeth out and hope for the best. I’ve been dreading this since she was tiny and now it’s here and I’m not exactly comfortable with it. I know it’s practically a teenaged ritual, but it’s one I know nothing about. I had 4 teeth pulled when I was ten when I had my braces put on, and as a result, not only do I have an outstanding smile (Thank you, Dr. Gilley), but when my wisdom teeth came thru, they had plenty of room and have never needed to be taken out. My sister was the same. Maddy, my little one is only 12, so I’m definitely in uncharted territory here.
And while yes, there is a plethora of information available on the internet regarding wisdom teeth, none of it tells me how to do this with an autistic 17 year old who has never had so much as a cavity in her life. Hallee does well with cleanings, only because she knows they don’t hurt and since she’s never had a cavity or an extraction, she has no fear of a painful or scary dentist visit. But even cleanings take a good bit of patience and skill on her hygienist’s part because OMG THE TALKING, the hand waving and the moving around.
The oral surgeon that’s doing this tomorrow is supposedly very good. People seem to love him. I wouldn’t know, since we’ve never met him. When Hallee went in for her eval, a resident (who was lovely) said that the doctor looked at the x-rays and yes, she needed them out. They wanted to try her under nitrous oxide (laughing gas) first, since it will be less stressful than full sedation in the hospital. My first reaction was, “WHAT? REALLY?”. I get that anything to avoid a hospital trip is good, but I’m really concerned about several things.
1. She’s never had nitrous before, how do they know that she’ll react well? Drugs with kids like mine have a funny way of having the opposite effect or no effect at all.
2. At what point will they say, “Screw it, this isn’t working”.
3. Will they allow me to stay with until she’s well and truly zonked?
4. Use of restraints.
5. She will never allow stitches to remain in her mouth. She’ll rip them out immediately.
6. If prescription pain meds are necessary, are they available in liquid since she can’t swallow a pill.
7. What do I look out for by way of red flags after the procedure, since she can’t tell me the difference between normal discomfort and infection/dry socket pain?
Do they need to come out? Yes. She’s always had a perfect smile and now there’s some crowding and she shows me that her eye teeth hurt top and bottom, they’re being pushed on as the wisdom teeth shove for room. Does that make me feel any better? Hell no. I’ve put in a call to the resident who knows Hallee requesting a call back today so I can go over my laundry list of questions and make sure this goes as smoothly for everyone as possible tomorrow. I went out today and stocked up on chewable ibuprofen and Tylenol and cold gel packs. I’ve shown her videos of kids getting nitrous at the dentist and explained as much as I think she’ll understand about what will happen tomorrow. I’m praying. I’m considering a sacrifice to the gods.
For all of you that have been on this journey with your teens already…what am I missing? What else can I do to make sure she’s comfortable and that this goes well for her?