Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sensory Processing Disorder and Brushing Teeth

My daughter has always been difficult brushing her teeth. It was always a big ordeal around my home. This has been from the day I started brushing her teeth and I mean very young. It was also before I even heard of Sensory Processing Disorder. Or if you prefer the older terms of Sensory Integration Disorder or Sensory Integration Dysfunction.

She would be in tears. Followed by choking, gagging on the toothpaste. I tried many different brands of toothpaste. Not a lot of choices in kid’s toothpaste either. It is always worst when I brushed the back teeth or just going behind. The longer I brushed the worst she got. As she got older and could flee it turned into a chasing and screaming game to her. When I finally got a hold of her she would protest in many forms all the while I carried her to the bathroom. I found that the faster I brushed and if I didn’t go behind the teeth with the tooth brush it would be a little less traumatic to both of us. I would do the front and back in the morning and before bed just the front. Now keep in mind this could be a 30 minute ordeal or more, so understand why I choose not to do as much at bedtime. She would bite down as hard as she could on the tooth brush and wouldn‘t let go. I keep my finger far away I learned the hard way. The thought of brushing her teeth would make me want to cry at times.

Going to the dentist was just as horrible for her. The hygienists ended up just counting her teeth. Getting them brush and having the dental floss touch one tooth was considered a success if they got a couple of teeth brushed. They thought that each time she came back it would get a little better. I knew it wouldn’t get better.

It was always in the back of my mind about the severity of cavities. As you can imagine that day came. They tired after many attempts. Then they referred me to a pediatric dentist who works with children with special needs and who could do it at the hospital under general anesthesia! Even the anesthesia experiences was horrible!

My daughter really liked the new dentist (I think it was because she was very pregnant) The whole staff was very friendly and patient. Bug actually let her count and poke all her teeth. Which took a very long time. She would count and poke a few. Then talk to her all the while she was watching a cartoon overhead.

The dentist needed to take X-rays something we have never succeeded in the past. We started out with two hygienist, ended up with four plus me and an office worker holding her down. I think every child who was there that day became afraid of the dentist after all the screaming. It took a lot of time and a few wounded fingers. I was embarrassed and felt horrible. The staff reassured me that they deal with many kids like this and not to worry. A few months before this appointment she was diagnosed with SPD.

They also gave me a different type of a tooth brush. It is called a Surround toothbrush. This toothbrush allows you to brush the front, top and back all at the same time.
This is the companies description from there web page.

The unique Surround® Toothbrush has 3 rows of bristles that surround the teeth to clean front, back and biting surfaces all at the same time. This means that more tooth surface can be cleaned in the time that a caregiver allotted, especially when the degree of cooperation is limited. The soft, end-rounded bristles and smooth, heart-shaped, compact head make brushing safe and comfortable. The improved Surround Toothbrush is easier to grip, and helps protect the oral environment if the person moves unexpectedly during brushing. The brush head and neck have been re-designed to make brushing safer, even for those who have a tendency to bite down on the toothbrush.

We now have less drama because, I can brush quickly. She still gags on the toothpaste. I no longer chase her and she can brush them herself. I always assumed the main problem was the toothpaste.

I am sold after almost 2 years of using it. The only bad part is the dentist only gives me one every visit. I clean this toothbrush to no end. A few months ago the toothbrush fell in the toilet. This happened the first week we had a brand new toothbrush. I was mortified. We went back to all the drama. Bug’s dentist or no other local place that had them would not sell me one. I was in tears, the dentist office’s must of thought I was a nut case. I found them online after dealing with it for a few months. I even had one dentist tell me that they sell toothbrushes like that for dogs at the pet store. I looked but the very thought of putting something in my child’s mouth made by a dog food company was not appealing to me. I just couldn’t image how different it would be in cleanliness standards.

I almost feel like I am doing a commercial but in no way am I receiving any payment or products from this company. I am just a mom who found a product that worked well with my situation. I have told many other moms about the Surround toothbrush and they have all been just a happy and relieved as I was. I hope and pray that this may help others who are dealing with this issue. I would of loved to have had someone tell me about it years ago. Many Blessings

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I just stumbled onto your blog today and thought I would say hi.

    I am thrilled that you found a good dentist for your daughter -- SPD kiddos can have such a hard time (trust me, my son has SPD and I can relate!). I have never seen that toothbrush before, so I'll have to check it out.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Hartley Steiner
    Author of This is Gabriel Making Sense of School
    SPD Blogger Network


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