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Dentist makes teen's struggles a little easier

Letter to the editor

My daughter has Down syndrome. At age four, an influential, local dentist restrained/strapped her into a chair for a cleaning because she did not understand what was happening and started to resist. Her face and arms were bruised, and when her 5-year-old brother attempted to help, he was told to “sit down” and “stay out of it.” I was not alerted to this happening, nor was I asked for permission. My daughter is 13 now and finding the right dentist has been a struggle for my family. All attempts at finding a dentist willing to extend a greater concern for her comfort and well-being were met with disappointment and the sad reality that restraint is a common practice within the dental professional community.

However, things changed for us today. My son had recently seen Dr. Annie Edwards-Howard for a cleaning and to have a tooth repaired. He told me that he felt his sister might do well there because everyone was so nice and the procedures were not too painful. Anticipating a visit, I spoke directly to Dr. Annie about my concerns for my daughter. She advised that if she felt she could not do the necessary procedures with my daughter fully at ease, she would refer me to someone who could.

I am very happy to say there was no need for a referral. The staff, especially the receptionist Brittany, the wonderful hygienist Lovaline and, of course, Dr. Annie, treated my daughter with love and compassion. This little girl, who’s every day struggles cannot be understood by most of humanity, no longer fears she will be strapped down and bruised by those in the business of helping others. Thank you, Dr. Annie, for keeping your promise, and for doing it with a most necessary compassion.

SHERRY BRANCH

Albany