It really is my own fault, on some level.
The Monster, like so many other kids and especially ones with Autism, is on something of a routine when it comes to many things. When it comes to bedtime, he hits the bathroom, gets changed, and goes straight to bed. It’s hard to get the routine to change, and he’s not… quite the most open to the nightly ritual of tooth brushing. To date, this hasn’t been a big problem, and he’s not had any tooth issues.
So this evening, the wife asked me to make sure he did tooth brushing before bed. He was… already in a mood (because I made him do some of his homework) and then we got him changed and I managed to steer him into the bathroom for brushing his teeth.
And that’s when I noticed that his lower front two adult teeth have apparently broken through his gums, behind his baby teeth.
Aside from the obvious “What the hell is that?!” moment that ensued while I noticed and my having to work to get him to open his mouth and retract his tongue so I could verify that they’ve broken through, it just illustrates a few things that are complications with children with Autism:
- It’s far too easy to just “go with it” when your child is actually doing something well. He’s been doing great with asking to go to bed, and with actually going through the motions that we’ve been too content to not mess with it.
- The Monster never mentioned any kind of discomfort to us about it, and while I don’t remember what it felt like to have teeth come in, I can’t imagine it was comfortable.
- The Monster also didn’t show any sign that they’d come in at all, even if it had been painless. For all we know, he could have had a whole slew of the teeth come in without us noticing, and the damage it could have done long-term. (Well, meaning more that I don’t want to try to imagine taking him to an orthodontist…)
Obviously, it’s time for another trip to the dentist, and what a treat that’s going to be. We have no idea if his baby teeth are loose or not, since he’s not letting us at the moment get into his mouth to check. We’re already figuring that we’re going to have to go the sedation route if he’s going to have to have an extraction (yet another treat!), and don’t know if his dentist handles that or not. Plus, his dentist’s office is closed until Monday, so we can’t get in touch with them until then to see when they can see him…
Fun and games, this Autism parenting thing…