Dentist is Ready for Patient with Autism

DoctorIsReady“Madison,” the nurse called. “Dr. Bowden is ready for you.”

And Madison, my 14-year-old bundle of unexpected joys and challenges, bounced up and galloped through the door. I followed her back to see her plop down in the dental chair, ease back to recline and smile at Dr. Bowden.

“This is a miracle, you know,” I said to Dr. Bowden as he raised his mask up and his eyeglasses down. He nodded and admitted it took a little time and patience. But the results were worth it.

As he opened my daughter’s mouth and began cleaning her teeth, I marveled at his calm and confident approach. Madison, diagnosed with autism before she was three, had always resisted anyone touching her mouth. Tooth brushing was a chore, a daily hand-over-hand battle of the wills. Yet now, she opened wide for a mirror and sharp-pointed instrument as if it were her favorite snack.

“You have a gift, you know,” I said to Dr. Bowden. “And I am grateful for it.” Our regular dentist had recommended Dr. Bowden several years ago when we learned that Madison needed six teeth removed.

In his same quiet and gentle manner, Dr. Bowden described the plan to me, complete with an early morning appointment and his personal cell phone number if we had any questions. The extractions went perfectly and we’ve been a faithful patient ever since.

With autism, the challenges often outweigh the joys. So when a professional rises above the rest to connect with my child to make their life better, my heart sings and I just have to share it. If you have a child with autism who has difficulty going to the dentist, from my experience I am betting that, “Dr. Bowden is ready for you.”

Reprinted with permission from the Fall 2006 • Vol 5, No. 2 of The Pathfinder.