Today was Alice’s first time at the human dentist. I was unsure if I should take her, because I didn’t know if it’d be too much for her. But Brad was going with me, and his appointment was before mine. So if she was uncomfortable in the waiting room, I could wait outside. If she was uncomfortable in the exam room, Brad could take her. With these safeguards in place, and knowing how incredibly supportive Dr. Park and his team are about my service dog usage, I decided to take her.
Throughout this blog entry I will be using percent relaxed to judge how well Alice was handling things. 100% relaxed to me is as relaxed as she is hanging out on the couch with me at home.
When we got to the office, the staff were all very happy to see cute little Alice! We sat in the waiting room with Brad and she was a little uncomfortable. She started out at probably 87% relaxed, and gradually over time worked herself to about 93% relaxed while we were waiting our turn. So I waited in the waiting room, as I thought she was relaxed enough to handle it.
Then it was our turn! Our technician is FANTASTIC and was so respectful of Alice’s needs and comfort level. She did everything that might be scary very slowly and quietly so that she didn’t startle Alice. Alice was fine with putting the chair back to recline. When the technician started to scrape my teeth with the tool, Alice was a little uncomfortable. I’d say she was 85% relaxed.
Next it was time to clean my teeth with the polishing machine. I was worried this would be the time when Alice would have to go out to Brad, but I wanted to try it to see how she did. She actually was more relaxed during this part of the exam! She was about 90%! Instead of spraying my teeth with water to get the toothpaste off, since she was worried it might rebound and hit Alice, my technician dripped water into my mouth and let me swish to rinse. I really appreciated her thoughtfulness!
Then it was flossing time. This part, for some reason, Alice disliked the most. She was at the limit of what I was willing to tolerate for discomfort. I’d say she was 80% relaxed. If it was going to take a while, I would have stopped and had Brad take her. But I know that the flossing goes really fast, just a few minutes. So we powered through.
While we waited for the dentist to come in to examine me himself and talk with me, Alice relaxed in my arms a lot and got about 95% relaxed. I was very happy to see how comfortable she was!
Then the dentist came in, and he, too, loved Alice! He uses an air blower thing to clean spit bubbles off of my teeth in order to examine them. This Alice did not like as much as she did not like flossing. She was again only 80% relaxed. But it was over in just a couple of minutes. I have 100% perfect teeth according to my dentist!
As soon as I got up out of the chair and put her into her normal carried position, she was almost completely relaxed. Like at 98%.
When we got out to our car, we found another van with a ramp had parked for some reason over into the access aisle that is needed to use the ramp of the van! It was parked so far over that there was absolutely no way Brad could get into the van. So we left them a card in their window about not blocking access aisles, and I pulled the van out for Brad. I don’t know what he would have done if I hadn’t been there!
Finally on our way home we stopped at Comporium, our internet company. We wanted to get the new $30 credit for internet for low-income families. I was worried about doing another outing right after the dentist, but figured I’d try it and see how it went. I pouched Alice (she was just carried in the dentist’s office) and she was 100% relaxed the entire time we were in Comporium! And we got our $30 discount, yay!
I got a couple of selfies of me with Alice in the waiting room, and a shot of Alice on my stomach while I’m getting my teeth cleaned! They are below, enjoy! In them, Alice is a tiny sable and white Japanese Chin. I have on my blue cornflower dress.