Last month, I took Jonathan for his first dental checkup and cleaning.  He did a great job, asking lots of questions and generally having a good time.  But they did discover two huge fillings.  The regular dentist doesn't do fillings for kids, so she had us make an appointment with the pediatric dentist who works in the same office.


Why this guy specialized in pediatrics, I don't know.  Jon wondered if he even likes kids.  His treatment plan was very aggressive.  He brings in an anesthesiologist to administer IV sedating drugs so he can do the filling on a completely unconscious child.  He even said we might as well do the xrays while he's under sedation as well.


Now, any of this blog's readers who know Jonathan, know that he's well behaved and tough and can be calm as long as he's prepared for what's going to happen.  But this dentist said automatically, based on his age, he wants to sedate him.  Of course there are risks associated with this, so we were quite unwilling to go through without questions and objections.  The dentist was doubtful that Jonathan could handle it.  He outlined each step, how it might be possible for a child to stay calm, but then the next one happens, and then you have to sedate anyway, it's just easier to do it first.


We said, well, let's just do x-rays today without sedation and see what's next from there.  Jon explained how that would work to Jonathan, and they did it quite easily, the technician was so impressed with Jonathan's behavior.  The x-rays showed no hidden cavities, only the two we already knew about.  We scheduled an appointment, with the compromise that we'd try giving him nitrous oxide first.


Neither Jon nor I were entirely comfortable with this.  Jon's coworker's wife is a dentist, and he had some conversations with him.  I emailed my tandem nursing yahoo group, and got other advice from them.  I searched online for pediatric dentists in Pittsburgh.  My family knows how much I dislike business phone calls, so I procrastinated until my mother-heart took over (what's a silly phone call for the sake of my son's health?) when it was getting close to the appointment day.


I called a place called Dentistry for Kids, which is walking distance from our house.  I asked about sedation and they said it was unlikely to be necessary, I asked about nitrous oxide and the lady said, "Oh, he's too young for nitrous." (!)  We scheduled an apointment with them and cancelled the other one.


It was great!  They obviously like kids, and are used to making them comfortable.  It was obvious that most kids they encounter are not usually spoken to as normal people. Jonathan was initially quiet and reserved because the hygenist was talking in that exaggerated, high, slightly condescending voice.  The dentist commented several times how mature he is and how easy he made the job.  We all talked with her at first as she checked out his mouth.  She thought that she could fill the cavities even without novocaine, let alone any kind of other drugs!  They were not near enough to his nerves to be likely to bother him.


Noah and I went back out to the waiting room and Jon went with Jonathan into the "filling room."  Everything went smoothly and wonderfully and Jonathan came running out to show me his new fillings when he was done.  What a wonderful experience!  No drugs, no shots, no side effects.  We thank God for this new dentist, which Jonathan will now be going to for his regular cleanings.

Posted by Heather Daley on April 30, 2007, 11:40 am | Read 26364 times
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Maya went to Dentistry for Kids in Monroeville for her first ever dentist visit this spring. The staff was wonderful, the atmosphere very comfortable and child-appropriate, and the entire visit went smoothly.

Our only beef with them is their unwillingness to keep Maya as a patient if we decline routine x-rays. As we plan to continue declining, I have to hunt for a new dentistry practice. Which is unfortunate, because I really liked everything else about them.

Posted by serina on April 30, 2007, 2:24 pm

What a great guy!

That happened with our son earlier this year!

It's so nice to have it taken care of right?

Posted by Lizzie on April 30, 2007, 2:48 pm

Hmm. We didn't talk about routine xrays. They didn't redo his even though we hadn't had the other dentist send them. (Didn't think they'd send them because of previous bad experience with another dentist.) Do you know what their "routine" is? Every visit? Every year?

Posted by joyful on April 30, 2007, 3:52 pm

I'd think once a year is "normal".

Posted by jondaley on April 30, 2007, 4:00 pm

I think that's a standard compromise between not wanting x-ray exposure and not wanting hidden caries to develop unknown for too long. Whether it's a good compromise or not, I don't know, but I agree it's "normal."

Posted by SursumCorda on April 30, 2007, 4:31 pm

Growing up in a Dental Office was quite an experience for me. I've posted on my blog "Confessions of a Dentist's Son," and "When It's a Matter of Life or Death," My parent's practice refers sedation out and only in the most extreme cases. I remember climbing in the chair to help kids be comfortable with dental work. Good decision to explore 'other options' w/discernment.

Posted by Tom on May 3, 2007, 2:40 pm

I'm so happy that I found this post. I took our son to Dentistry for Kids yesterday. It was his first visit; I expected them to say, "Great teeth. You can go home." Instead, they say, "Great teeth; you need three fillings."

I was so upset, as I was torn between everyone telling me that he didn't need to have fillings in his baby teeth and what's best for my rascal.

I'm going to take him in to have get his fillings, but I'm going to pay closer attention to how I brush his teeth now.

BTW, I have to admit that I was extremely impressed with Dentistry for Kids. Not only where they awesome with my rascal, but they were more than patient with me over the phone as I bombarded them with loads of questions.

Posted by Sonja on May 22, 2007, 3:31 pm
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