My $5000 mistake – you don’t have to make it

I’m not sure if that should read mistake or mistakes – either way, please don’t do what I did.

My little one is 4 years old. She’s got teeth that are seriously close together. Not overlapping but very nearly fused together. For this reason, I had only ever flossed her teeth if there was something (miraculously) between them. (Wrong #in no particular order really – let’s say 3)

I brush her teeth twice a day, after breakfast and before bed. It is very rare for me to miss one of these but I cannot say that’s never happened. (Wrong #4).  I only used a child’s toothpaste or one that had no fluoride (Wrong #7).

She also drinks watered down juice most days of her life for most of the last 2 years. And she eats some candy. If anyone other than me is in charge – a lot of candy. (Wrong #5&6)  She rarely if ever drinks milk (Wrong #8 and Right).

I took her to the pediatric dentist for the first time on Thursday. (Wrong #2 – not taking her earlier).  The first thing they did was take X-rays. Not unexpected. Even the Dora book writes this as the first thing the dental assistant will do. Thank you Dora.

They’ve got a new-fangled panoramic X-ray machine that was a little scary for her because she has to hold onto this huge machine that is all around her and moves around her but no big whoop.  Then they started with the more conventional ones.  This was also a bit scary but she got through it.  Now once the dentist got there to look at the X-rays I really expected him (in this case, him) to say something like “Yup, she’s got teeth.  See you in a year.”  That’s not what happened.  At  All.Turned out she has more cavities than teeth.  Over 30 for her little mouth of 20 teeth.  So many that the dentist described that it would take 4 or 5 sessions in the chair with some kind of mild sedation, drilling (complete with the smell of burning teeth), needles, etc.  i.e. TRAUMA
Then he went into a description of a surgery to do the same thing all at once.  The cost difference – in the chair about $4000 – with some form of sedation. About $3000 without. (Yeah, like I’m going to cheap out on pain meds.)
As a surgery – – you guessed it, $5000.  She’s 4.  With 20 teeth.  That means for the 2 or 3 remaining years they will be in her mouth, they will have cost about $300 each.  Now unless the toothfairy is real and pays hard currency – even with inflation, she’s not paying out 3 bills.  So why do people pay for this fix?  The rot can infect the soft tissues, bones of the jaw, get into the blood and cause septicemia and of course could rot the adult teeth before they even break the surface.  Cavities before the teeth come in – not a great options.

So by this time you may be asking yourself – with all of the listed wrongs – what is Wrong #1?  Ah, if only I had remembered my mother’s off-handed comment to me sooner.  When I was a teenager, my mom made a comment to me that for some reason I remembered.  She said that she loved my breath as a little kid.  Now my mom is European and says lots of weird things out of the blue.  Why I should remember this one – I don’t know.  But what I didn’t realize was what it really implied.
I asked what she meant by sweet – she said not like candy (which would be a bad thing – like diabetes) but different.  Now, I remember my little one’s breath before it changed.  It smelled like crisp apples.

I know this is true because there’s another littler one in my life and her breath is like that still.

The moment it switched – and so young ~2 years old – from sweet/crisp/fresh to kind of foul I should have taken her to the dentist.  I thought the switch happened because I had caught her using my toothbrush.  I figured she had gotten my germs (and this could be true) from my brush and that’s what had changed her breath (and naturally the flora in her mouth).  Maybe I did contribute to her cavity problem.  That and her having teeth too close together, her drinking juice (although I don’t know that I believe this because I drank and ate everything I could get my hands on and I didn’t have these problems), brushing with non-fluoride toothpaste, not going to the dentist earlier, candy, missing brushings and not taking seriously a major shift in her breath.
Does this make me a bad parent – maybe.  We are coughing up the $5000 to have the surgery – under general anesthetic. (And in this climate of financial hardship – this is one error we will never forget.) Now I can only hope that all will go well and that no other major problems with these unnaturally expensive teeth will occur.

Oh, and yes, I checked online about costs – and these are on par with expected pediatric dental rates for what is being done (stainless steel caps, ceramic caps, filing of the teeth to increase spacing, etc., etc.).

So if this can save someone else’s teeth and pocketbook – I’ll be happy for it.  No family should have to undergo this bizarre series of events just for baby teeth.

Brought to you by You Get Well Soon – practical packs for hospital stays or stops.

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About YouGetWellSoon

I'm a Calgary mom who left a life of research and teaching to stay at home and raise my children. I'm also a business owner: YouGetWellSoon.
This entry was posted in Dealing with baby, health questions, navigating life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My $5000 mistake – you don’t have to make it

  1. Ouch! Hope she gets through it all right.

    • She has – thank you.
      It was a long day and night with much moaning, vomitting and sleep but by the end of the evening she asked for cereal. Ate. Then slept. And now we take very good care of her ‘special’ teeth.

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