Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Dentist

When I was growing up, we never went to the dentist. We just couldn't afford it. And my guess is we didn't even have dental insurance half the time. When I was about 12 ish, my dad got into the motivational speaking industry and we had money. And that's around the time I first went to the dentist. And I had zero cavities. None. Perfect teeth. A mild overbite. But practically perfect teeth. And since then I've had one cavity my entire life. I'm sure this is 1 part because CA puts fluoride in the water, 1 part good dental genetics, and 1 part good dental hygiene.

Anyway, even after I finally went to the dentist for the first time I probably really only went a handful of times before I moved out of the house. Which meant my mom wasn't making my appointments for me anymore and I wasn't making them for myself. The only time I voluntarily went to the dentist was when I was hit in the face with a rock and my front tooth broke to pieces.

So all that back story is to just explain that I've never been big on the dentist. And I've been AWFUL about taking my own children. At first because we were also poor. But now, that's not an excuse and I have just been lazy about taking them. In fact, Payson went once a year or two ago. And Jack had never been before.

Lately, Payson has been complaining about pain in her mouth. But her 6 year molars are coming in, so I thought that's what it was. Until a little while ago. She showed me a spot on her gums that was hurting and I saw an abscess. Yikes!! I told her I would get her in right away. And then I kept forgetting and forgetting and forgetting to call. Ugh! I'd remember when we were out and about and tell myself to look up a dentist and call as soon as we got home, but by the time we got home I'd forget.

Well, Monday morning, I finally remembered! I dropped Payson off at school, passed a pediatric dentist on the way home and immediately looked up who was in network and called. The receptionist told me she had had some cancellations and she could get both kids in in about an hour. Great! I took the appointments, printed their new patient paperwork off of the Internet, filled it out, and then checked Payson out of school.

Payson loved the dentist the first time, so she was excited to go. Jack was a little nervous for his first time, but big sister helped put his mind at ease. They both did great and loved it! This pediatric dentist had a great office. Ocean murals on the walls, a playroom with a submarine to play in, fish tanks everywhere. Very Nemo-esque. They had movies playing on the ceiling during the cleaning, flavored toothpaste, and a good bag with a new tooth brush when it was over. The goody bag even included a coin for those quarter machines where the kids got to pick out a little 25 cent toy. Awesome!

Playing at the train table.

Checking out the BIG fish tank (there were 3 other smaller ones around the office).

Playing in the submarine. (Why is this underlined? I can't make it go away!)

The playroom.

Jack getting his "pictures taken".

Payson watching a movie on the ceiling and waiting for the dentist.

Shiny, clean teeth!

The dentist had these cool shades in case the kids were sensitive to the bright light above their faces. Jack thought they were pretty cool.

But the dentist didn't have good news. :( Jack needed eight cavities filled. EIGHT! Yikes! And Payson was worse. She needed two teeth pulled, two root canals, a couple of crowns, and four fillings. Holy crap. I felt so awful!!! I'd only had one filling and remember that being miserable. I couldn't imagine having ALL that work done!

The dentist recommended putting both kids under. Mostly just to avoid traumatizing them and making them scared of the dentist from now on. But especially Payson because of everything she needed done. He said they were usually really busy, but actually had time the next day to get them both in. He said they could do it in multiple visits, but I agreed that getting it done and over with was probably best.

So we were sent home with several prescriptions. We picked them up and were supposed to just bring them with us to their appointment first thing in the morning.

We got there and Lucas immediately pooped all over me. Huge blow out. I had gotten up late and not really packed the diaper bag. Luckily I found one diaper and three wet wipes. Also, a clean onesie. Phew! And then while I was cleaning him up in the bathroom he shot pee everywhere. Luckily it didn't get on the clean diaper or onesie and I was able to clean it up quickly.

When I got done cleaning him up, they had just given Jack his meds and put us in a little room with a bean bag chair, couch, a few toys and books, a tv, blankets, etc. They dimmed the lights and let us just hang out while the meds took effect. They said it would take about an hour and that Jack would get a little loopy before he fell asleep. After a little while, he got REALLY loopy and I was struggling to keep my drunk son from falling over and hitting his head while also taking care of the baby. So I called my mom, who was thankfully not busy and came down to help. I don't know what I would have done without her!

So after getting a few HILARIOUS videos of Jack, he finally fell asleep. (By the way, I keep trying to load the videos, because they're really so funny, but they're too big. If anyone knows how to resize a video somehow let me know!!) They took him back to do his work and then gave Payson her meds so they would kick in by the time it was her turn. She didn't get nearly as funny as Jack. Mostly just a little buzzed. Once she was asleep and Jack was still being worked on, I left Lucas with my mom and ran home for more diapers and wipes, just in case. When I got back, Jack was with my mom and Lucas in the little room and starting to come out of it. He was pretty loopy again, so we had to keep an eye on him to keep him from hurting himself. Then Payson went in for her work.

For the most part we just watched some kid movies and kept Jack from getting hurt and relaxed. And then when they were about done, I could hear Payson and my heart dropped. They had found an extra spot that needed a root canal which took a tiny bit of extra time. Just enough that she started waking up as they were pulling the last tooth. I could hear her crying and screaming, so I ran to her and left the boys with my mom. They were trying to keep her calm, and she was holding still and being brave, but she was so scared and I can only imagine in pain. I just let her squeeze my hands and I held her and tried to help her calm down while they finished. It was one of the worst things I've experienced as a mother. I just held her and cried with her while they finished, which took a good ten or fifteen minutes (but felt like an hour). I felt like I was just letting them torture my baby. It was such a nightmare! There was so much blood in her mouth and she was just stuck there with her mouth open crying. I wanted to just scoop her up and get her away where she felt safe, but I had to let them finish putting the spacers in (which wasn't painful at all, she told me, she was just terrified). Can you imagine being six years old and waking up to a strange doctor hovering over you in a dark room yanking your tooth out??? Forget the pain, the fear alone made me feel awful for her!!

Finally it was over and they gave her a popsicle and she calmed down. We were given discharge instructions and my mom helped me load everyone up and take them home. We had to help the kids walk, since they were still a little drugged. I got the kids comfortable in jammies with blankets and a movie on the couch, fed Lucas, and then my mom sat with the kids while I picked up pain meds for Payson. She did fine the rest of the day. They both did. And by the end of the day she was just sick of eating jello, yogurt, soup, and ice cream. She wanted real food and was so sad that she couldn't have anything chewy. :( Poor girl.

Both kids are totally fine and Payson is fine with going back to the dentist for cleanings and check ups. But it was not a fun day. I think I may have been more traumatized than Payson. I can't remember ever feeling so helpless. Except maybe when she was a newborn preemie in the NICU attached to all those machines. Ugh.

Anyway, we will be brushing and flossing like crazy, just as we always have, and including regular trips to the dentist from now on. Even if they have cavities again, at least we can make sure it's just one or two little fillings here and there instead of this situation.

So as soon as your dentist wants you to bring your kids in (usually between 2-3) take them! And keep your appointments every 6 months! Otherwise you end up putting your babies through Hell. :(

Seriously, that was one long post. But I'm glad I wrote it all down.


Anonymous said...

I seriously started bawling when I read about Payson waking up and screaming. I can't even imagine.

Sadie had a few fillings a few months ago and that was her first ever appt. We've been slacking a bit taking Aiden back because his procedures are going to cost us upwards of $1000 out of pocket :(

I'm so glad that Payson isn't traumatized. She's a rockstar :)

r said...

YIKES!! Poor Payson! I guess I should make some appointments myself... :/