Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Cavities That Weren't...

On Tuesday before the twins' second day of Kindergarten I took them for a 6 month checkup at the dentist. All was well with Tom, aside from the fact that he had to lay on top of my in the chair, and he insisted on not having the fluoride foam treatment. I told the hygienist to "brush his teeth again" and I winked at her, so she took the foam and put it on the spinny toothbrush and "brushed" his teeth with it instead of using the Q-tip. He didn't know the difference!

Abby's checkup did not go so well. The dentist looked in her mouth and found two cavities. First he found one on her bottom back molar, touching her cheek. Then he says, "There's usually a mirror image on the other side." Sure enough he said there was a second cavity in the mirror image groove on the other side of her mouth. He showed me the groove but I couldn't see anything, but what do I know, I'm not a dentist.

I ended up scheduling her for her fillings on Monday morning. I'm so glad I waited! They wanted to do them right away that day, but I needed to leave to get them to school on time. After I got home I started thinking about what Jenn had said to me. She was surprised to find that she needed dental work done after her first visit to this dentist, as well as her husband. (I had referred them earlier this year because he was so patient and gentle!) Something just didn't sit right with me and I thought I should get a second opinion for Abby. I mulled this over for quite some time because I felt like I was going behind the dentists back, or calling them a liar or something.

I just know that there are different interpretations and diagnosis levels at different dentists. Now, i didn't just want to hear that she was cavity free, I wanted a confirmation that filling her baby teeth was the right thing to do. I mean this could possibly be a traumatic event for a 4 year old.

I ended up deciding to fork out the extra cash for a second dental exam at a different office across town. I went last night to pick up Abby's xrays. That was fun to walk into the office with my head hanging begging for xrays to take to someone else. I felt like they were staring at me and wondering why I didn't trust their doctor!

This new dentist was very sweet and friendly. Abby was so brave and did such a good job while they probed around in her mouth. I could see right away the confusion on the dentist's face though. She couldn't find the cavity. She checked both sides and told me she found nothing. She didn't even say Abby's grooves in her teeth were particularly deep. She did say her teeth were particularly clean and crowded though. (watch out braces, here we come)

Since we were there for a second opinion the dentist brought out this additional special equipment to detect tooth decay under the enamel. From what I could tell it's an infrared type device that detects soft tissue (tooth decay) beneath the surface of the tooth. Both of Abby's back teeth came up empty, no decay! They even tested the front spot that has a tiny yellow spot on it, suggesting weak enamel and nothing was found there as well.

I'm pretty confident we are doing the right thing by switching dentists. I'm so glad I didn't have to put her through unnecessary fillings. I had to call the old dentist this morning and cancel our cleanings for next year, as I have already scheduled them with the new dentist! I'm looking forward to going there.


Chipmunk Chatter said...

That is horrible!! We had that happen to us here in Davis with a bad dentist but then switched to a better dentist. It is horrible to do an adult but much much worse to do that to a child and to suggest 2 cavity filings for something isn't even there! You should report him/her.

MamaLlama said...

I am so glad you double checked. The twins do not eat that much sugar and you water down their juice and they do brush and floss regularly. How despicable that dentist is. When you were seven a dentist told me that you would need your jaw broke to fix the overcrowding which I would not consider. The next dentist said there would be no jaw broken here and came up with another option.

Nicole said...

Tara kuddos to you for checking that is horrible. I went to a bad dentist before as a kid and it can make all the difference. I now go to a super old dentist where I pay out of pocket but its worth it to not have the sort of experience you are describing. WTG bulldog mom!

The Mantha Family said...

This post made me mad. I want to call that loser dentist and yell at him. It is not OK to take advantage of little kids. You really should spread the word about him so everyone knows he is bad at his job.