A real parenting issue

Instead of talking about how my husband flooded the kitchen filling his water bottle up the other night, or how Brandon slathered a freshly bathed Codi's head in rash cream we are going to talk about dentists instead.

Even though we brush Brandons teeth every morning and every night, he has still developed a cavity. It is right between his two front teeth. I guess the spot I'm most at fault was listening to my adult dentist when they said you didn't need to take kids to the dentist until they are three. After visiting the childrens dentist I've learned you in fact need to take them as soon as that first tooth comes out. You do this because they can seal each tooth as it erupts. The childrens dentist let me know that most adult dentists don't want to deal with small children so they tell parents to wait until they are 3 thinking the children will be easier to handle. I must say that my child isn't going to be easy to handle at any age.

I would like to talk about Brandon's first visit to the dentist and then discuss their plan of action and my response.

We arrived at the appointment 15 minutes early at 8:45. We went into the waiting room and Brandon played with all of the toys. Numerous children came in after us. All of them were seen before us. By 9:20 I started looking towards the reception desk. Finally at 9:25 she informed me that she went back and asked what was going on because she felt bad for me. It was clear Brandons attention was waining and she didn't like people being late. The receptionist let me know that the doctor had another new patient in front of me and the appointment ran long because they like to take time with new patients.

At about 9:28 we were taken back. We were met with two assistants. One to handle me and one to handle Brandon. We were taken into a private room with a door, they referred to it as, a "quiet room." One assistant took Brandon to her equipment and showed him each tool. She let him turn on the suction, and the other tools and touch everything. While she was doing this the other assistant was going over care, procedure and what would happen with me.

From there they walked us out to a little sink station. They had three different size sinks and he got to go to the shortest size. First "his" assistant painted some purple disclosing liquid on his teeth. We were given a bag with a toothbrush, some fluoride toothpaste, a disclosing tablet to try at home, some children's dental floss, a flossing toothpick, and a 3 minute timer.

The assistant had me remove the toothbrush and put some toothpaste on. She asked me to show her how we brushed at home. However at this exact moment Brandon happened to turn around and realize he was standing 5 feet away from the lady blowing up balloons. His attention was lost at that exact second. I was highly frustrated with the entire thing. I thought a childrens dentist would be slightly smarter then to place balloons in the line of site of a child who had yet to be examined. We rinsed him up and went back to the exam room. I was informed the dentist would be right in.

About 20 minutes later Brandon had completely lost all attention and patience and had become consumed with getting a balloon. The dentist still hadn't come in and I was getting phone calls that Codi was refusing a bottle and starving. At this point he had been with out food for probably 3 hours as he was asleep when I had dropped him off with my mom. I stepped out of the room to ask what the hold up was. They told me that they were trying to place a crown on a small child and would get in soon.

Another 10 minutes later the doctor came in. Brandon promptly asked for a balloon. She attempted to examine him but he was over it. So, because of their tardiness my child did not receive X-rays or a cleaning. The doctor opened his mouth, saw the cavity and informed me he needed to have both front teeth crowned and that he would have to be knocked out to do so. I was totally shocked. I had seen the cavity myself and assumed he would need a filling. But crowning two baby teeth seemed a bit much to me. I inquired about it and she told me that since he was so little he wouldn't be able to hold still long enough for a filling, and because of the location a crown would be better.

My next question was, "Excuse me by why in the fuck do you think you need to knock my child out?" I was told that he was too small and would be too wiggly to be consciously sedated. I asked about the laughing gas and why he couldn't sit in my lap. She simply replied, "no he needs to be knocked out." She had the assistant get him some balloons and told me I needed to go and schedule immediately for his crown. I walked towards scheduling in a daze. When I arrived in the private discussion room I informed the lady I had a nursing baby at home who needed food and I would come back. I scheduled an appointment for Tuesday and left.

After this I flew to Oregon cleared my mind and then came back to deal with the dentist. After doing a lot of thinking I went back to meet the scheduling lady. She went over the whole thing. Brandon would have to have the crown done at a hospital. He will be put under via IV. The risks and so on, and of course cost. Let me first say, that I don't give a shit about cost when it comes to my kid. If they had said we have to do something for him and it will cost you one arm, I would have gladly handed over my arm.

Finally the lady gave me a chance to speak and I presented my concerns. Here are the things I said:

I think he is to young to be put under period. This is my child, my entire life, my whole world and you want to knock him out over some teeth, I think not.

He will be 3 in about 3.5 months. Even at three he will be able to sit still longer, and at 3 and a half he would be able to sit still even longer. Why did no one discuss with me the possibility of sealing the teeth and seeing how long we could hold off, to possibly avoid knocking him out?

If we were able to hold out for longer then wouldn't laughing gas be a possibility if he simply sat in my lap and I restrained him if he began to wiggle?

Why are they trying to schedule to do a crown on two teeth with out doing an X-ray, and cleaning and full exam? When I asked this her reply was, "well they would just do all of that while he is under and if he needs more fillings they will accommodate." Umm, okay so now you want to put my child under for an extra extended period of time to do X-ray's because your office was too late to do them during his scheduled visit. Again, I think not.


Finally the lady asked me about scheduling. She remembered my last visit and asked if at anytime I was informed of how much time it would take. I replied no. Then I said, "you know even if you had told me, and I had brought my infant along to nurse, you were still about 45 minutes late total and that still was a burden in my day, also because of this my son got less care and treatment." She apologized and said she would talk to everyone involved because she really could relate to my frustration.

The final verdict was this. I set a follow up appointment for Brandon in three months. He will be 3 at his next visit. They will check the status of the cavity. As of now it is not bothering him, should he start complaining it hurts before then I will take him in and re-evaluate. She will present my questions to the doctor and they will call me to follow up about prolonging the crowns until he is possibly old enough to have it done while awake.

Now I would like to ask all of you, what would you do in my place? Would you allow your child to be knocked out? Would you wait like I am? What would you do. I plan to contact his pediatrician and another children's dentist for some second and third opinions.

Emery, I remember you dealt with something similar with Ezra, how did you handle it and how did it work out in the end?

I'm asking for assvice here so let me have it people!


Anonymous said...

We have done it both ways before she was capped due to her need to break teeth (somehow hitting the floor with your face at your birthday party is bound to break a couple teeth) with a lot of talking through from me and disccusion she sat through the first procedure no problem (at 3) then when she managed to break yet another tooth she was a bit more umm herslef (she has ASD high functioning) and we got it capped but her moving around made it impossiblke to ensure a dry tooth prior to the cap and it fell off tried again same thing fell off then planned to put her under for it but we combined it with another procedure already booked so she wouldn't go under twice.
Now onto my non Autistic child my normal middle child she has been seeing the dentist since 1 1/2 (teeth came in late) in October of 2006 they found 2 dreaded cavities, she was just turning 4 then after much discusion from the dentist up here (we dont have a ped specialist)very small town we opted to travel south we discussed options and I was adament (AKA refused anesthetic) before the dentist even mentioned it) he opted for us to come back for a sedation (consious sedation so she wasnt totally out) spelling sucks here sorry. In the end her sedation was with fentanyl, she recieved a dose in my arms and then when loopy (and man was it HILLARIOUS her talking) she was carried back into the room and the procedure was performed it went off without a hitch (and did I mention my normal middle kid have an oral aversion for being in the NICU) this in my opinion was the best way to go non traumatizing recovery was quick and she was driving her sister crazy once we got home.
I wish you luck on this adventure with Brandon! Sorry for the novel of assvice though hope it helps

saly said...

um, for a baby tooth, that is going to fall out anyway?? No way in hell, unless it is turning black or causing him pain....or if they tell you he will have problems with his permanent teeth...I don't see the point.

Dianne said...

I agree 100% with Saly.

Cristina Mathers said...

yeah, it's a baby tooth-it will fall out soon anyway. look at josiah cheatwood, he's missing a front tooth and looks as cute as can be!

Jeninacide said...

I say take him to a different dentist and get a second opinion. These people sound unreasonable- I have dealt with things like this before with my OWN dentists. Gob.

Definitely get another professional opinion- I didn't go to the dentist for the first time until I was like 5 or 6. I then found out that I had 10 cavities. Yes TEN! But I probably had them for a WHILE and never even knew- they were in my baby teeth and even though I had them filled (and some of them capped) they ended up falling out not too long afterwards. So if you decide to wait on it I highly doubt it will effect Brandon in any kind of permanent way.

Amanda said...

My son had to get his front tooth removed when he was 3 because he fell and there was a small crack. The dentist tried to seal it, but it was useless, the inside of the tooth started coming out of that crack.Yuk!
He went under to get the tooth out which i was happy about because i wouldn't want him to become frightened of the dentist if she had taken it out awake.
I'm from Scotland and children here start going to the dentist when they are babies before they get their 1st tooth. It gets them used to it. Result, my 4 like going there!
When Andrew had to get a filling i beat myself up for days about it, even though he brushes twice a day.

Whatever you decide, it will be right for you and the wee one.
love, Amanda x

angie said...

First of all can I just say what a big boy he looks like standing at that sink!!! Oh my gosh he seriously looks like he's 5...so stinking cute!

Now for some assvice...I agree with the checking out a second opinion. I also agree that if it isn't going to affect his adult teeth and it isn't bothering him to just leave it be. I think it's pretty silly when you know that tooth is going to fall out for them to do all that work to him. If it is going to affect his adult teeth, then I would definitely look into other dentists that maybe have other alternatives to offer. That would be my first question. You definitely don't want his first experience at the dentist to set him up to hate going for the rest of his life!!

Steph said...

I wouldn't put my kid under either, totally with you on that one. Plus, if it isn't bothering him, I would leave it alone. The front teeth are one of the first to be lost anyhow. I would ask your dr though too.

LauraMae said...

I know one pediatric dentist in Reno who has been there for ages. Assuming I remember correctly, the office rarely, if ever, puts kids completely under. That said, I would def. get a second opinion--even if you just call a few offices and ask if they put children under. I think it's worth the peace of mind.

Heidi said...

Get a second opinion. Seriously. Sounds fishy to me and if you are questioning it - that is a key point. Also, customer service is EVERYTHING, if they don't have it try someone else.

Not So Perfect said...

Oh Shannon I am so sorry you guys are going through this. We have had a few run ins with the dentist ourselves and it hasn't been exactly a pleasant experience. From the pictures it looks like Brandon and you handled it much better then we did.

I would defo get a 2nd opinion and do some research before putting my child under general anest. too.

I have heard of this before my friend's daughter had a genetic condition where her teeth lacked dentin or something like that and she kept getting cavities so they capped all of her teeth at about 3 years old. If you want I could call her and get more info.

I am sorry I know this has to be worrisome

Anonymous said...

Honestly I think it is better to take care of it now, rather than wait. You have to realize he is only 2 and has at least another 4 to 5 years before that tooth even thinks about falling out. Look at how bad it already is and he has only had the tooth a year and a half. You add another 4 to 5 years on top of that and its bound to only get worse. Putting your child under is not the easiest thing in the world, but I think it is worth it rather than deal with the problems that can occur later. I had knock Jaida out twice before she was a year old. Not easy, but was what had to be done. He has the cavity so you know it has to be fixed, the only thing about calling other doctors is to see whether or not they too would sedate him.

Emery Jo said...

I say get a second opinion. (This is the only regret I have from our experience. I didn't get a second opinion.)

If the second doctor recommends the same procedure, I would heavily consider it. If you wait until his tooth is hurting, the whole experience could be scary/painful/traumatizing for Brandon, and then he will hate going to the dentist.

We were able to have Ezra's procedure done in the actual dentist's office- we didn't have to go to the hospital- which made it a little less freaky I think.

On the whole, Ezra did great and they fixed his tooth (although now I think he's got issues with others- AGG!) and he wasn't traumatized by the experience. The hardest part was making sure he had an empty stomach before the appt. HE WAS HUNGRY. That was awful.

Ezra will have these teeth for years- and they said if I had just pulled it, it could have affected the way his adult teeth grew in later.

(Who knows if this is true?)

Anywho- keep asking around and doing your own research. I think it's great that you are being so cautious and looking into all your options. Good job!!

Ginger said...

I would never go back to that dentist. 'Nuff said. Find a new dentist. They sound like crapbags!

Melissa said...

I dont get this. I DO understand why they cant have a rotting tooth because it could possibly rot the adult tooth before it comes in, but I agree with everyone else. Why not just remove the tooth? It is going to be replaced in a few years naturally anyway and its not like you are showing your kid in a pageant. (or ARE you??) lol.

Missing teeth in little kids is perfectly acceptable and will cause no social problems.

Not quite getting your quacky dentist.

As for the out thing, I do happen to agree TO a degree, even if you go for extraction. Could YOU sit through a crowning or extraction without squirming? I know as an adult its possible with the gas, but thats kinda because we like being high and can actually not focus on the horrible things going on. The squirm factor could actually be an issue.

KJ said...

Please, please, please get a second opinion ... and if you don't like it then get a third.

We had this done to my first child when she was your son's age and I regret it. I would never do it again and since then have learned from other dentists that they don't recommend it. It is a HUGE money maker for the dentist. There is no reason to file down good teeth just because of one cavity. The risks aren't worth it ... and the front teeth will be falling out before you know it. See another dentist and have them do xrays to see how damaged the teeth really are and what other options you have.

best of luck to you!


moo said...

well, we just put our son under for surgery (that had NOTHING to do with teeth) and he isn't even 2 yet. So I COMPLETELY understand your concerns.

Having announced that ... I would DEF get a second opinion on this procedure. I don't like how the dentist treated you and I don't like how they didn't listen to your concerns.

Listen to yourself!! You know something isn't right about this; take that into consideration!

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