Mother of autistic child shares dental experience at HKL

I was contemplating whether or not I should write something about my son, Harvind Singh’s experience recently. I just hope that our experience can be helpful to other parents out there who face a similar situation.

The main reason I’m sharing this is to create awareness. Not every child has the same level of autism. Harvind is one of them.

He has always had sensory issues since young. It’s not easy to get him to brush his teeth all these years. But thankfully, these last few years, he has allowed us to help him brush his teeth and even learned how to do it himself. Bravo Harvind!

Unfortunately, seeing a dentist wasn’t in the books for him. So, at age 21, he recently went for his first dental check-up – under general anaesthesia (GA)!

He had to be put under GA in order for the orthodontist to check his teeth.

Harvind’s check-up was actually scheduled last year but due to the Covid-19 pandemic that resulted in a lockdown, it was postponed. We finally got him an appointment at Hospital Kuala Lumpur two months ago.

The first visit was on March 15. It was to assess his teeth, which was a struggle. Harvind refused to open his mouth. However, the dentist got a glimpse of his teeth after giving Harvind a toothbrush to play with. I also got him to eat some cookies that I brought from home so that he would open his mouth. The dentist noticed there was some plaque and said Harvind required dental scaling.

We finally got a date – April 27 – the day the operation theatre (OT) was available.

Harvind and my husband, Darshan Singh Sandhu, had to undergo a Covid-19 swab test on April 24. Special needs dental specialist Dr Norjehan Yahaya, who was scheduled to fix Harvind’s teeth, swung by to oversee the process. She was a gem of a person.

The swab test itself was another struggle. Four male nurses held Harvind down. When he finally calmed down, Darshan wrapped a blanket around him to comfort him as the nurses held Harvind’s hands firmly for the doctor to quickly swab his nose. Mission accomplished!

The day finally arrived. On April 27, at 6.30am, we got Harvind to the hospital. We did all the necessary paperwork and waited for his turn.

We felt so blessed as we were given a single-bedded room. The folks at WAD14 HKL were very accommodating.

Darshan accompanied Harvind in the OT, thus the Covid-19 swab test. Harvind needed to hear and see a familiar face. I must credit and pay tribute to the OT staff and those attached to Hospital Kuala Lumpur’s Oral Surgery Department (Special Needs Dentistry). They were very helpful and understood Harvind’s situation. They had to lock the OT door to ensure Harvind did not run out. It took six male nurses to hold him down on the bed.

They patiently allowed Harvind to settle down and waited for the right moment to administer the GA on him.

Darshan waited in the OT until the procedure was finally done. Two hours later, Harvind was wheeled back to the ward where I was waiting. It was heartbreaking to see him like that.

Dr Norjehan was kind enough to give Darshan and I a complete breakdown of what she found and did. Harvind had three of his wisdom teeth extracted and one filling done. His teeth were also polished and scaled.

It was an experience I hope Harvind need not go through again. At the same time, I am thankful that we found the right doctor and hospital that specialises in dealing with special needs individuals, especially autism.

A big thank you to all the Hospital Kuala Lumpur staff and doctors who helped us. Harvind is fine now. We make sure he brushes his teeth properly.

To all parents out there, especially those with special children, I suggest that you visit Hospital Kuala Lumpur for your children’s dental check-up.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.