Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bad Dentistry

Middle had been complaining of a toothache for a few days, constantly putting his fingers in his mouth and picking at a molar on the right side.

I knew it was something I couldn't just ignore.

And so yesterday, on our day off, I took a chance and called our (new) dentist's office.  They could get him in at 2:00.

We had to switch dentists this year due to a change in our insurance.  We had all visited this "family dentist's" office a few times.  The boys had gotten cavities filled and loved that there were tvs in each room.  I certainly wasn't crazy about the main dentist there, but figured most of the time we spend with the hygenists anyway, so who really cared about the dentist, right?


Turns out, Middle's tooth needed to be "extracted", meaning PULLED.  Oh hi, thinking I would be in and out of that office in a few minutes, able to spend the rest of my day enjoying the unseasonably warm weather with my family.  (That's foreshadowing right there, folks.)

Anyway, the tooth had to be pulled because a new tooth was pushing down (like 3 years too early, mind you) and one of the roots was already gone so food was getting stuck blahblahblah... (This dentist is sooo hard to understand--he's a mumbler.)

So novacaine was administered.  And the tooth was pulled.

All very quickly and painlessly.

But then...all the remaining roots from that pulled tooth also needed to come out.

This was where it pretty much turned BARBARIC.  Seriously, that's the only word I can think of to describe it.

First of all, I doubt the dentist even knew Middle's name.  He was too busy barking orders at the hygenist about where to swab, where to blow air, where to spray, where to hold Middle's tongue.  I could tell when Middle was fine (and numb and in no pain) and when the dentist would hurt him, because he would instantly cry out.  I was the ONLY ONE reassuring him, trying to get as close to him as I possibly could, rubbing his legs, holding his hands, comforting him.  The dentist was actually sweating.  Scraping at the now-bloody hole in Middle's mouth with pointy instruments.  Barking orders at the hygenist.  He all but had his knee on Middle's chest, trying to get those roots.  I felt nausous and weak-kneed and frustrated, wondering when it was going to end.

Finally the troublesome root came out.  The dentist threw off his mask and walked out of the room without saying a word.

I got Middle up out of the chair to comfort him.  He was sobbing and hysterical.  The hygenist was still in the room, busily attending to the instruments and not saying a word to me.  I got the feeling she was embarrassed.

The dentist re-entered and in his mumbly voice said that there was one more root to get out.

I requested that Middle be given some more novacaine to numb him for this last go-round.  (Why did I even have to ASK for this??)

Thankfully, this last root was easier.  Middle seemed unaffected.

When it was all said and done though, Middle had been in that chair for well over an hour.  The back of his shirt was damp with sweat and his eyes were puffy from crying.  I was pretty much a limp noodle.

The dentist gave me a prescription for Tylenol with codeine for him and said that I should give him some before the numbing wore off.

We were SO out of there.  His appointment had been at 2:00.  It was now going on 4:00.

I drove right to our local CVS to fill the prescription.  They didn't have it on hand.  Meaning, they didn't even carry it because it was so rare.  They didn't think either of the 2 neighboring CVS pharmacies would have it either.  They advised that they would call the dentist back and ask him to change the prescription.

Middle and I went next door to the grocery store to grab him some popsicles.

When I got back to CVS, no lie, there were 3 people waiting for me at the pharmacy counter with sympathetic looks on their faces.

"We called the dentist.  He outright refused to change the prescription.  He said that you would just have to find a place to fill it."

I'm so not even kidding.

(Thankfully, my CVS called around and another local CVS DID have that prescription.)

(So from the time we left the house, 1:45, to the time I actually was home with the prescription in hand, it was 4:30, almost 3 hours later.  For a tooth-pulling.)

You guys, the whole experience was awful.  I felt so bad afterwards.  Like I didn't protect my child.  I know hindsight is 50/50, but man, in that moment, I just honestly didn't know what to do. 

We are just so ingrained to blindly trust medical "professionals".  To respect them.  To never question them.  To think that they are always right.

Never again.  Now I know.

In this day and age?  What happened to Middle was utterly uncalled for and unnecessary. 

I now know the value of a pediatric dentist practice.

And we will be going to one from now on.

Thankfully, when I ranted on Facebook, a number of friends gave glowing recommendations for the dental offices they use.

That dental practice will be receiving a copy of this blog post.  

But all's well that end's well:  the Tooth Fairy came last night and gifted Middle with $7.00.  And even left him his tooth.  So he could take it to school today to show it off.

The numb, brave boy


justme said...

you poor things !!! very ironic as i am in the midst of trying to get a referral for my 7 year old from the adult dentist to see the pediactric dentist. once she turned 6 she aged out of the kids dentist for covered insurance. so i brought her to the adult one, that sucked ass and it was just a check up and cleaning. she has OCD and basically has anxiety about the simple things never mind a dentist visit. i refuse to take her to the adult one, and i am going to fight my insurance that a 7 year old with a dx of OCD NEEDS a dentist who can deal with her and make it a bearable experience. your post just helped my mind in the battle. that dentist sounds UNacceptable.

Classy Fab Sarah said...

Oh my goodness, I'm sweating just thinking about this.

I have (until this year) gone to the same family dentist for my whole life. There are 3 dentists there and they all know me and my life story. They all gave condolences when my mom died and the receptionist always asks how my family is holding up when I'm in there. They always consult each other and give different opinions and discuss pricing for various procedures. They're AMAZING and not pediatric, but I've gone to them always.

My insurance dropped this practice. I switched to a new, fancy dentist. On my first visit I paid $100 for an "oral cancer" detection rinse. I have zero reason to believe I have any predisposition to oral cancer. And then they told me I needed a $100 toothbrush or I was going to continue to have xyz fake problem.

Screw crappy dentists. So sorry you had such a bad visit... I'm sweating in sympathy.

beenomom said...

My God Sarah, that sucks!! I was clutching my gut while reading through the whole ordeal. I know of this dentist and thank God have never brought my children there. We were going to use him until Jay went in one time and said he would divorce me if I ever brought either of our kids there! What a total azzhat! His demeanor during the entire thing was so unprofessional. I wouldn't be letting this one go!

On a brighter note, I'm glad to hear that he is doing ok and it was so cute to see that little lopsided smile at the end!

Jennifer said...

I hate to hear this. I had a horrible experience when I was about 7. I had a tooth that had to be pulled and it hurt like that. I ended up throwing up on the dentist's shoes while he was telling my mother what happened. Back then they didn't let parents in the room. I'm surprised she didn't kill him. Like, literally, I'm surprised she didn't kill him. My mom is kind of crazy like that.

I really hope this doesn't affect his attitude about going to the dentist. My experience ruined me.

amanda said...

oh sarah! i am cringing and holding my belly while reading this!! i had a similar experience when i was a kid - long awful story short my mom got the hygienist fired!! i can only imagine how horrible it was for you to sit and watch...ugh so sorry friend.

maybe you both need to take another day off to recover!

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for living north of the border and having easy access to T3s (as they known in the hood). General operating procedure here is always cash in your prescription for the glorious T3s since most insurance covers the cost. Then hoard until required either for your own pain or in exchange for services / goods provided by the person in pain.

Michelle said...

How horrible!! I tell everyone this all the time....do NOT blindly trust doctors/professionals just because they are suppose to know what they are doing. But even I, as a nurse, struggle to head my own advice. It's sometimes harder for me because I don't want to be the "pushy nurse who thinks she knows everything" either. Don't be too hard on yourself, I think we ALL have had those moments where you wished you had said or done something different but just didn't know what to do.

Glad everything turned out ok in the end!

jackie said...

Ugh, this brings back memories of early dentist appts. I actually had a GREAT dentist. But I was too shy/didn't want to be a baby and didn't tell them when things hurt. So I suffered in silence for a bunch of dental procedures. Turns out my body needs a whole lot more novocane than is standard for my weight (still true...basically enough for an elephant to get a cavity filled last year!), and I was feeling stuff you are NOT supposed to feel.

My kids are going to learn that if it HURTS to say something.

Poor middle. I hate crappy dentists/doctors.

Anonymous said...

We live in MA too. I had a dentist try to pull my daughters front teeth when she was 5. I didn't let him and got a second oppinion. They didn't need to be pulled and they fell out fine and nothing was an issue. He thought he saw an absyss (not sure how to spell) but it was the teeth coming in. anyway we go to Natick: www.gotfloss.com and love it.

Missy | Literal Mom said...

What an asswipe! I can't believe what a jerk he was! Heck YES I'd send this blog post to him. Some people just astound me with their (lack of) people skills.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Oh Sarah. . .I'm so sorry. When my middle was only 3, she started getting cavities in her baby teeth---I think she had 8 at her first checkup! I first went to this dentist who gave me a bit of the heebie jeebies but I rationalized myself into going to him about 4 times. It got to the point where she'd start screaming as we drove into the parking lot. He had NO personality esp for a pediatric dentist and he didn't like parents to "baby" the kids! Ugh. So we switched to a great place near us and it's been wonderful. Live and learn but I've also learned to trust my instinct more often.

Draft Queen said...

I'm bringing my daughter to the dentist TOMORROW for an extraction. This dentist came highly recommended by our much loved regular dentist so I hope we don't have that experience. What an AWFUL thing for poor Middle to have to go through! And you as mom! Ugh. My son had to have his front tooth pulled at 13 months (he fell and broke it, exposing the nerve) and they made me lay in the chair and HOLD HIM DOWN while they pulled it. I felt AWFUL, so I know that terrible feeling you had during this.

No wonder people fear the dentist.

Claire said...

This sounds remarkably like an experience I had this summer with a dentist and my 4-year-old who needed a cavity filled. I will NEVER go back to that dentist. I actually saw her typing into the charts that "patient was uncooperative." Um, she was 4!! If she didn't feel comfortable with a young patient, she should have referred me to pediatric dentistry, even though this was a family doctor practice. What hell!

Max said...

Wow that is a CRAZY experience! My dad was a dentist in Florida and I remember him telling me about a dentist in the area getting arrested for breaking a little girls arm while he was trying to pull out a tooth. Just crazy!

Now I'm working for a company in Bonita Springs. When there is a lot of people that are accountable to others it really helps prevent problems like the ones on your post.

Rebecca Jill said...

I had one of the best pediatric dentists in Tampa, Florida. He explained everything that was going to take place and then explained everything again while it was happening. Due to the procedures and not my dentist did I not like going to the dentist, but I had a great dentist. I still went all through college and then for a year after college until I completely moved away. I'm so sorry you had that experience.

Socially Sharing Local Dentistry said...

You should definitely send that dentist a link to this blog post.

Maybe it will be just enough of a kick in the rear to jar their heads loose.

One thing is certain, we run into incompetence on a daily basis...it's just more baffling when it comes from community professionals.

Don't let your horrible experience give dentists a bad name!

Help us promote socially share local dentistry!

Rebecca said...

Poor kid...poor Mom! That's horrible!!!

We just visited the pediatric dentist for the first time last week and our experience was a dream. Whoever thought of the concept is brilliant...we need less traumatic things for our children, not a sweaty, rude, asshole-ish "professional" not responding to their patients' needs...I'm so sorry you guys had to go through this!

I'd also send a copy of this to the ADA...aren't those people the ones that supply the licenses to dentists like this? The ought to know.

dental consultant said...

I admire the boy for having no fear in the dentists. It is quite rare. In the end, the child will grow up with a very healthy oral hygiene.

Unknown said...

Ow I feel his pain happened to me twice when I was 5 and 3


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