Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dentalphobia

Yesterday was very traumatic for me; and; no, it wasn't because of the Idol results show. LOL
At 8 a.m. my 5 year old daughter had an appointment at the Pediatric dentist. She had gone for her first dental check up in December; and we were almost out the door with a clean bill of health, when the dentist said "bad news, the x-ray's just came back and she has several cavities." I asked if there was any way to fill the cavities without needing a shot and he said "no." I explained that this would be a big problem because she has a terrible fear of shots; she cries at the mere mention of the word - so he referred me to a pediatric dentist who would have other options available, such as nitrous or sedation.
OK, so being the Queen of Dentalphobics (I don't know if that's a real word or not, but I have an awful fear/anxiety about going to the dentist; so it sounds real to me.) Anyway being the Queen of Dentalphobics, I did what any mom (who's not in their right mind;) would do and totally projected my fear by procrastinating to call and make her appointment. I finally forced myself to call on Tuesday and I asked the woman how much it would cost and she said that they couldn't know that until they examined her. I explained that she'd already been examined and that my insurance wouldn't cover a second "initial" exam and that we were on a tight budget. The woman told me that she had a coupon for a free exam and she would let me use that and then we could see what the cost would be from there.

Wow! How nice I thought; and then get this - she fit us in at 8am the very next day.
I tried to prepare my daughter and told her that we were going to a very special dentist for kids; in fact, his office was called Kidz R Kool- and she liked that.
We walked in and his office was unbelievable, there was an arcade with video games (are they still called video games??) and the place looked like something from out of the Incredible's. It was VERY well thought out.
So first came the x-rays - that went alright, then the cleaning; which she didn't really enjoy (but who likes brushing their teeth with bubblegum flavored sand...) and then while we were waiting for the interpretation of the x-rays; all of a sudden it hit me. I had always thought that my dental phobia stemmed from the fact that I have a very ( physically ) small mouth, I am a mouth breather, and an asthmatic; not to mention the fact that I too have a terrible fear of needles; (so much so that I gave birth to all 3 of my children with no epidurals or drugs whatsoever. This choice wasn't made solely because of my needlephobia, "is that a real word?" but it did play a big part in my decision.) Anyway, I thought that I had fully justified my dentalphobia until I realized that one of the big reasons that I hate to go to the dentist is because when they tell you something is wrong, you feel like a failure. Well, at least I do; and being the overachiever that I am, failure is not a comfortable feeling for me!! I mean really, how can you not feel like a failure? Who else can you blame for poor or insufficient brushing or flossing. Yes, periodontal disease can be hereditary (I know all too well about that too - unfortunately) but these other things are all up to you and if you have some cavities or plaque, guess who's to blame? And if your 5 or 3 year old has some cavities or plaque, guess who's to blame? AND it doesn't feel so good, taking all this blame. Hence another reason to AVOID the dentist.

So now they read the x-rays, and suffice it to say that we went from her needing a few cavities filled to her needing 7 cavities filled, her bottom 4 teeth extracted AND the possibility of a "baby root canal." Oh my god; how did this happen? Now I know to read it this must sound pretty extreme, and I bet some of you are thinking that you have a bridge in Brooklyn you could sell me; but I did see the x-rays for myself and her 2 "HUGE" grown up teeth were in her gum line and one of them was growing into one of the baby teeth in a really unhealthy way and would have ultimately come in twisted because there wasn't going to be room for it. Blah, blah, blah.

We all agreed that if I was going to have them do the extractions, everything should just be done at once and they would sedate her. Sedate her, sedate MY BABY. Oy! I thought they were going to need to sedate me as well. All of these ideas were just so overwhelming and as if I wasn't worried enough, now it was time to bring in the big guns - the receptionist with the estimate.
Hold onto your hats... How bout $897.00 plus tax after what my insurance will pay. I tried my best to hold it together, but I AM NOT the QUEEN of Hiding my Feelings. I have no poker face, and I just about lost it. I started to cry because I felt trapped and like a complete failure (there's that word again.) I knew that my daughter needed to have this work done, but the cost was going to be excruciating for us. The receptionist asked if it would help if they waived the $175 sedation fee because "we can do that," she said. I thanked her and told her that anything would help.

Oh, I forgot to mention that before we went over the x-rays, they asked me if I wanted them to examine my 3 year old daughter. I said "I don't know if she'll cooperate," and they said "She's 3 - we expect that." SO I started to ask my daughter "DO you want to have your teeth checked today?" AND at the same time both the dentist and his assistant barked at me "YOU are the parent, you tell her what to do, no 3 year old is going to agree to having their teeth examined." Whew - so now I'm a bad parent for talking it over with my 3 year old. Trust me when I tell you that my children DO NOT run me (well may be this one does;) but I make the decisions, yet I did want to see if she was comfortable with this. What else could these people possibly do to me to make me feel worse?? My daughter did agree so I felt good about having her examined and thank god she was UNBELIEVABLY well behaved and cooperative, (which is SO unlike her;) and luck of luck, no cavities. I actually did something right - I'm still in shock over that one.

While my little one was being examined my 5 year old had drank her sedative and it kicked in pretty quickly. They moved us to the "quiet room," which had a lot of comfy pillows and blankets and stuffed animals and movies - and she slept. They had told me that in 45-60 minutes they would take her in and swaddle her in a papoose and put her on a board and secure her head still and that I was to accompany them for the set up; and then leave the room. I thought this would just about kill me. Luckily, since she was fully asleep when they were to bring her in the room, they seemed to think they could handle it without me, and I did not have to witness this preparation. I think they could also tell that I just wasn't up for it. I was VERY emotional about the whole thing.
Once she was secure they assured me that she was still asleep and the procedure would take about 45 minutes. I think they were the longest 45 minutes of my life; though the 2 Xanax that I took made them seem just like an hour.
When she was done they told me she did beautifully and that she slept the whole time. They told me that she could have some ice cream and then some Motrin or Advil. Then I paid my $840 (She didn't need the "baby root canal" for the additional $250 - hallelujah!) and we left.

We went to get some ice cream and while she was eating she told me that she was afraid she was going to look silly; and she started to cry. I promised her that she was going to look as gorgeous as ever and reminded her that her brother had been without many teeth for a very long time. We went to buy some ibuprofen even though she was reluctant to take it. I let her pick the flavor just in case she did need to take some; but I tell you what - this girl must have some tolerance for pain (she must also get that from me; ) because to this point she still hasn't taken any medicine.

We had told her that if she didn't feel up to it she wouldn't have to go to preschool today and when my husband tried to wake her up to see if she wanted to go she told him that she was going to stay home because she needed to relax. LOL
She had a very good day and when I came home and saw her; I asked how she was and she told me that she liked having her teeth out because it made her "different than other kids." Is my girl exceptional or what?

In a lot of ways I think this whole experience may have been harder on me than it was on her; I mean she slept through the whole thing and I was the one agonizing over what was happening to her. Maybe they should include some sedation for the parent too; because there is NO fear like being scared for your child. I'll have to think of a good expression for that kind of phobia. Fear of your child hurting or being scared. What shall we call that? Oh , I know - Motherhood...
Till next time...
Queen of EVERYTHING

1 comment:

tealeblue said...

I thought I hated the dentist, after reading that and talking you through some of it yesterday, I needed 3 xanax to cope with it too, but I think the 3 xanax was just for the fun of it. Yeah, definetly, for the fun of it. Just kidding to all those you don't know me and now think I'm a drug poppin fool, your right I am. Thank god for xanax, etc.