Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Nearing the end of our dentist debacle

Yesterday we took Suzi to the dentist--the third one we've seen--to get a couple of cavities filled.  It's been a complicated journey.  After going for a second opinion, we'd decided to wait just a little while to get the work done while we tried to stop the decay with natural measures.  While some people have even reported success in reversing decay and have seen teeth heal and harden, the dentist told us, after a panoramic x-ray, that her cavities weren't getting worse but that they would definitely need to be filled.  If she were older we might have put it off indefinitely and just kept an eye on it; however, it will be at least five or six years before she starts losing these molars and we didn't want to end up with an abscess, or a tooth that needed more extensive work than just a filling.

We tried to get them filled earlier in the month at the family dentist, but she started to scream as soon as they brought out the water squirter, and refused the "elephant nose" with the nitrous oxide in it.  They somehow got her numbed without too much fuss, but the noisy drill upset her enough that we had to give up and take her to another dentist, a pediatric one who could offer her a little something extra in the way of relaxation/sedation.  Our first filling appointment was yesterday.  While she wasn't knocked completely out, she did accept the nitrous and allowed them to do the work.  Once she realized it was noisy but not painful, she seemed somewhat comfortable.  Then she picked out a prize from the toy chest and we went home to enjoy movies and milkshakes.  The worst part is the lingering numbness, which she hates.  I don't blame her one bit--I hate it too!

We have three more similar appointments ahead of us that will hopefully go as well as this first one.  We could have gotten it over with months ago at the first dentist we saw, but I'm glad we didn't.  They wanted to jump right into much more extensive work.  Several pulpotomies instead of fillings.  The dentist rushed through our appointment and barely spoke to us, letting a hygienist break the horrible news to us on our way out of the office.  It did not feel right at all, and it wasn't as if we didn't pay a fortune for his consult!  Now, after seeing two more dentists we trust, there is a good chance we will have to do one pulpotomy on the worst spot, but they are going to try for a filling first.  I also appreciated that the dentist we are seeing now sat down with me and Suzi and explained everything in a way that informed her as the person having the work done, but also put her at ease rather than scaring her.  It's a fine line to walk, and it's a line that the first pediatric dentist, despite his fancy, entertaining office, failed to even approach.

I can't wait to have it all over with in a month or two.  However, after this little ordeal, even considering the aggravation and extra money it cost, I can definitely say I believe strongly in a second opinion if the first one doesn't feel right.  Money, time, energy well spent to get what is best for our child.