Mubin’s Visit To The Dentist : Dr Dini
Mubin is a 16 year old boy who is very afraid of dentists. You see…Mubin is autistic.
He first came to visit us a month ago, and that was his first ever experience seeing a dentist. Being in a new environment may cause anxiety to autistic children, let alone seeing a dentist … someone who was going to look into his mouth!!
He was accompanied by his parents and his teacher. He didn’t even want to enter the procedure room, despite much persuasion from his teacher. I finally managed to do the examination at the reception area.
Though I couldn’t see much, but it was a victory for that day since Mubin did after all open his mouth long enough to do the examination.
I explained to his parents that they needed to bring Mubin few more times until he was familiar with this environment. The sounds, the smell, the people were all still new to him. He needed time to get accustomed to all of it before we could actually treat him
They understood. So, we scheduled the next appointment in a month’s time.
This was last month …
When Mubin came in yesterday, he still did not want to enter the procedure room. After much persuasion from his teacher and playing a ‘chair game’ with us….”Mubin sits on this chair, doctor sits on this chair, Sufrina (his teacher) sits on this chair”
….finally, we managed to seat Mubin on the dental chair.
To calm him down and get Mubin relaxed, Sufrina, his teacher, did ‘skull tapping’ and ‘shampooing’ excercises on Mubin’s hair.
When he was relaxed Mubin let me examine him! This time, I managed to see what the problem was with his teeth. I did a clean up and polishing while singing a song to him.
We clapped our hands happily once we were finished and Mubin smiled. The look on his face is pure joy and pride! He had done it!!!
….his mother and teacher were also very proud of Mubin. It was a great achievement indeed!
I explained to his mother that during the next visit, we will introduce the scaling machine and begin to do a simple scaling procedure as he has gingivitis. Mother agreed, thanking me.
With autistic children, each dental procedure needs to introduced … the instruments and machines we use are shown to them …. especially important are the sounds the machines make! These are gradually introduced to them.
It’s a slow, slow process and it sometimes takes many visits of just letting these children ‘practice/rehearse’ doing dental treatment before we actually get to do something … but it’s worth it!
These children react strongly to sounds and strange sensations. Taking the time and having the patience to gradually begin to do any dental procedures are all it takes really …. we only need to be patient and have them know they are safe and loved.
I, too, am very proud of Mubin.
I realised the experience of treating him made me love my job more.