Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tooth Tale Number One

At one of Sam's well check-ups when he was a toddler, the pediatrician noticed some white lines at the base of a few of his teeth.  Not sure what they were, he recommended we take him to a pediatric dentist to get them checked out.  He gave us the name of one and sent us on our way.

Being a good and obedient parent, I made the appointment and we met with the dentist.  Thankfully, there were no dental chairs or x-rays involved.  Sam got to sit on my lap while the dentist peered into his mouth.  We were assured that the markings were harmless.  They were caused by breast milk sitting in the gums along the teeth back when he nursed during the night.  These white lines were more visible now that his teeth were growing out, but would disappear over time.  They did disappear and overall, we were very happy with our visit.

But, you know how it goes.  Once you go to a dentist, they have this uncanny way of making you come back every six months.  Sam was our first child and, to be honest, we were a bit over zealous like most new parents are.  We wanted to do everything right. So, I took him back again and again.  Problem was, Sam hated going to the dentist.  It was a miracle if we could get him to sit in the chair and open his mouth at all.  All more the reason to keep taking him back, I thought.  We'll let him get used to it over time.

One visit, he allowed them to clean two teeth.  The next visit, only the top ones.  I must say this dental group was very patient with us.  Fast forward to his visit when he had just turned 5 years old.  Sam conceded to let them take x rays this visit and with a worried and serious expression, the dentist told me that he had six (6!) cavities that needed immediate attention and that he would have to be anesthetized for the procedure since he exhibited so much anxiety during exams.

I could not believe my ears.  Being a good and obedient parent, I scheduled the procedure for a week and a half later and left that office in a daze.  I cried on the way home.  Not so much because of the cavities- I knew we had been doing a very good job of keeping his teeth clean- but because of this idea that he would have to be put under.  I did not like the thought of that one bit.

Jamey and I talked it over and decided it all seemed over the top, so we took Sam to our dentist to get a second opinion.  Our dentist got the records from the pediatric dentist and took his own x-rays.  His diagnosis was a bit different.  He said, "I see nothing wrong.  There is no need to do anything.  Bring him back in a year, I'll take new x-rays and we'll go from there."

Is your jaw on the floor like mine was?

Needless to say, we canceled our appointment with the other dentist and told them why.  A year later, we brought Sam back to our dentist who confirmed that everything still looked fine.  Sam is almost 8 years old and has had no cavities to speak of and has no problem going to the dentist.

Lesson Learned: If you tend toward the good/obedient spectrum of parenting, remember to trust your gut.  Oh, and it never hurts to get a second opinion.

Next week, I'll share tooth tale number two.  Yes, our home has been blessed with two tooth tales.  So far. Pin It


  1. I have a similar story - only one cavity though but it still miraculously disappeared when I got a 2nd opinion! Now, we did have a tooth fall out a little early at the age of 4 b/c of a run-in with the window molding the year before... =(.

  2. Oh. My. Gosh. Yes, my jaw did hit the floor. I'm still spluttering, bug-eyed, and appalled! Good grief. What does one say? Thank the stars above you and your hubby have good, common sense, intelligent heads on your shoulders!

    Makes me think of my brother. SIL wrote last week that he fell and injured his ankle/foot five weeks ago. (This is a 63 year old man.) Had it x-rayed but no broken bones. He's been in a lot of pain and I urged him to go get a second opinion. SIL agreed with me so he finally did so yesterday. Yup, broken bone in his ankle. Splutter-splut!

  3. Some dentists (as with people in pert near any profession) are in it for the money; others because they love the work and the people they take care of. My parents used to visit a dentist like this one, who would also say "xzy needs to be done, immediately" and you only got one choice, and of course, it was the most expensive one. Now we see a dentist who is a wonderful, kind, caring Christian man. He always gives 3 choices if he finds something wrong: 1) el cheapo route - do nothing or pull it, depending on current level of pain, 2) some mid-ground route, which will hold you for 6 mos -1 yr, but then you're gonna have to either have it pulled or go for #3) the expensive option, but your best choice IF you've got the $$$.

    Good job for trusting your gut, though - don't you love how God gives us instincts, and rewards us when we follow through :-)

  4. Omigosh, that is an awful tooth tale about the other dentist! Did they have anything to say for themselves when you told them why you wouldn't be coming back? I'm so glad you trusted your gut and got a second opinion on those supposed cavities!

  5. Sadly...I CAN believe it. Although I'm surprised the dentist was going to do that to a little child!! I went to a dentist years ago that told me I needed TWO root canals and 4 cavities filled...and he wanted to do them ALL in one day. I made the appt. too...but got SO terrified that I didn't go back to a dentist for almost EIGHT YEARS. When I finally did go I was so terrified about all of this stuff I'd let go so long but the new dentist siad, "What root canal and cavities? Your teeth are in pretty good shape considering how long since you've been to the dentist!"

    Jaw dropped.

    My conclusion? The dentist had a big bill to pay...a vacation to go on...or wanted a deposit for a new boat.

    Yes. Trust your gut...always.

  6. Wow, what a story. We had a somewhat similar experience with a new Peditrician, was an alarmist and had me thinking the worst about my youngest. He's fine, and we're back with our old Peditrician, we should have never left!

  7. They are running these ads on the radio in our area, that you should get your children in to the dentist before age one! What a crock! There is also a big dental college in our area, we've been told that they actually teach dental students how to generate more money. It took us a long time to find a good pediatric dentist, our children have only been going reguarly to the dentist for 3 years they are 9, 11 and twins 14 and they have had no problems and very little "extra's". Good going using your gut.

  8. There was an article about dentists in Readers Digest years back. They had the same person go to multiple dentists across the country and get diagnosed. The results were shocking. So I'm not surprised to hear your story, but it's a wonderful cautionary tale for the rest of us. Glad you followed your gut.

  9. What???!!! What DID the pediatric dentist's office say when you told them why you were canceling the appt? Did they offer any explanations or apologies?


    I tend to be the obedient patient myself - never really questioning things that seem 'off'. I will say that I've learned to speak up for myself and my children a little more. But, it's hard.

  10. Kelley and Karen, When I called to cancel the procedure, the woman asked why I was canceling. I told her we got a second opinion and the other dentist found nothing wrong. The woman only said, "Oh," in a I-would-cancel-too-if-I-were-you voice:-).

  11. good grief! Thanks for the wise warning! I have found a dentist through friends that I really trust, but through an insurance rigamarole, we had to take our daughter to another dentist for a bit. And the new dentist wanted me to take G to a specialist because she was worried about her secondary teeth (G is 4). I did cancel the next appointment, but I didn't have enough guts to say why. Wish I would have.

  12. I had a similar experience as a child, and it has set the tone for my confidence in dentistry for life. Unfortunately my parents didn't realize what was going on until *after* I had quite a few teeth drilled and filled. Such a shame, thank-goodness you followed your intuition on this one!

  13. Holy crap! So SO true! First time parenting we so much want to get it all right. I think that is why God blesses us with two or maybe three, and in some cases more, just so we know how much we need him, because we can't get it all right.

    Love how you end it with listening to your gut!

    Yeah for Sam for no cavities!

  14. Dear me! Yup, I can believe it...there are some interesting dentists out there. Always a good thing to get a second opinion...I used to work as a CDA (certified dental assistant) and some ARE in it for the $$$ and count on ignorance in their patients. Well done for not caving in to the "professionals". :)


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

Please choose the Anonymous option if you prefer not to sign in to comment.

Related Posts with Thumbnails