Sunday, March 28, 2010

Projection and prevention at the Dentist

I've never had a cavity in my life. I've always been proud of that and mostly, because I hate the thought of being drilled in the teeth. Every trip to the dentist was fun because they'd poke around clean a bit and send me off on my way, reminding me to floss more often.

Then when I was pregnant with Logan, I developed some serious tooth pain. I went in to get checked out, sure that I had a cavity from being sick all day long for months on end, wearing the enamel on my teeth. Without taking x-rays because of the growing baby Logan, I was told I had six cavities. SIX. Scared to death, I never went back to have them filled after Logan was born.

Then, before getting pregnant with Carter, I thought it would be wise to get my teeth checked out again and take care of any problems before going into pregnancy again. At a new dentist, they took x-rays and said that I did not, in fact, have six cavities, but only two. I needed to schedule an appointment to come back. I got the bill and almost fell over. I never went back because I'd have to take out a loan if I had to pay that much.

Years went by, kids grew and my teeth were pain-free. Although I had that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that the longer I let these cavities sit, the more likely I'd need a root canal. Yikes. So, taking the recommendation of a friend, I called her dentist to get checked out.

The office was great, the staff was friendly. And you know what? I DON'T HAVE A SINGLE CAVITY. Right. I went from six, to two, to ZERO. I think tears welled up in my eyes when my hygienist said I was cavity-free.

Those years of living in dental fear prevented me from taking my own kids to the dentist. Afraid that we'd be lied to or trapped in some kind of dental con, I procrastinated on making Logan an appointment. It only exacerbated the already existing Mother Guilt that comes with the job.

After my wonderful appointment where my teeth were taken care of rather than my wallet, I felt that fear subside and made Logan his first dental appointment. He went to one of the big pediatric practices here in town and felt safe having a back-up plan. If they said he had any cavities, then I'd take him to my dentist for a second opinion.

The pediatric practice is huge and so much fun for the kids. There are video games and climbing structures. It's like a McDonald's play land inside a dental office. They are very efficient and you often times don't have a moment to sit before they are ready for your appointment. Almost to a fault.

Logan checked out great. No cavities and very healthy teeth. Although he needs better brushing on his upper front teeth. The dentist also said that Logan will probably need braces in the future and advised me to start saving now. They run about $5,000 (holy crap). Then? He dropped a bomb. Logan has a special dental case....

He has an extra permanent tooth.

Called a 'Supernumerary' tooth, it's growing on the top front (proximal #G). He's going to have to have it removed when he's about six years old. Poor kid. Apparently they don't see too many of these and it made for an interesting clinical day for the dentist.

Other than that little discovery, our visit was fun and stress-free. I hate that I've run into some shady dentists that have tried to drill unnecessarily, risking my health for their padded bank accounts and that creating that fear jeopardized the dental health of my kids. But, all is good now. No cavities, just an extra tooth.

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