My 4.5 y/o son had 6 cavities that the regular dentist found, and also filled. This was done over 4 visits, and the last one he became a LOT more upset and resistant to the whole thing. One of the cavities ended up developing an abcess, and was going to have to be pulled. The dentist said he would not need a spacer (this is for a molar). Well, he wouldn't let them do it, so they referred us to a pediatric dentist. While there, they took xrays, and found even more cavities -I am a veterinarian who does lots of dental work so I also looked at the films and could easily see them. They also felt that several of his other fillings should have been a different treatment done due to the closeness of the nerve-again something I could see. And, that he would need a spacer for the tooth with the abcess-which is what I had believed as well based on what I had read (we don't do those in vet med!) Due to the degree of disease and his level of fear, they recommend doing it in one visit under general. We are fairly close to UNC which has a school pf pediatric dentistry, so we are lucky in that regard.
I ended up feeling a lot more comfortable with the ped dentist-the 1st only asked about candy and juice as underlying causes for all the cavities, while the ped. dentist discussed my son's history of reflux, preference for carbs, slowness of eating, lack of fluoride in our water (and didn't push fluoride) and other things for the underlying causes. But even with that I am nervous about general anesthesia of course. My DH is also asking how much REALLY needs to be done with baby teeth-I've explained the reasons for addressing the problems now but he is not 100% convinced.
So, for anyone who did go the GA route-how did you decide to do it? How did it work out? Are you glad you did it? I think maybe I just need reassurance....I'm a worrier anyhow, and you add in my 30-week pregnant hormones and I'm having a lot more trouble working through this. Thanks!
Anyhow, it was completely fine. I was worried too, but it was really the best decision we could have made, and it went very smoothly. We had it done outside of a hospital, but the office was located literally across the street from the Children's Hospital, so I was confident that in the even of an emergency, there would be immediate access to expert medical care. Doing it in the office meant that I was able to be with him when they put him under and be there when he woke up. I was also able to bring the blanket he slept with at night and they made sure he was under that when he was coming around. Other than being groggy for the rest of the day, there were no side effects. He just hung out on the sofa and watched movies the rest of the day and was running around by dinner time.
I was actually less traumatic than the dental work my older son had when he was 5 under conscious sedation. He was mostly okay, but he still remembers them working on him, and that there was some pain involved - and that was 5 years ago. He was also really cranky and angry when the sedation started wearing off.
My DD had GA for dental work when she was 4. She had a lot of cavities - at least 9, as I recall, all between her molars. The dentist wanted to put stainless steel caps on all her molars, and I eventually decided that probably made sense, which meant that the work really needed to be done under GA. Even if we hadn't gone for the caps, I probably would have considered GA just because putting all those fillings in while she was awake (over multiple sessions) would have been pretty stressful for her. It worked out just fine, and she recovered very quickly afterwards. It was done at our small local hospital, and DD and I were able to visit beforehand and meet the nurses and see the room where she would be before and after having the work done. She thought they were really nice, so she wasn't too apprehensive about it. I can't say for sure that it wouldn't have worked out just as well to do fillings without GA, but I have no regrets.
I decided to go with it because my dd is nervous just about getting her teeth cleaned. This was the first year she allowed the dental assistant to do the x-rays on the back molars and she is 8. She will do the cleaning and the flouride after a lot of convincing but hates to do it. I did get nervous and back out at first because I was told conflicting things by the pediatric dentist so we tried doing it in office with nitrous. She was on nitrous for an hour and would not open her mouth at all. We then went with a third opinion and IV sedation. She was asleep but controlled her own breathing so it was like GA but not total GA. I was very nervous but we had a good dentist who was recommended by our wonderful dentist and everything turned out just fine. I am relieved to have everything done at once. If you think your son can handle more visits with extensive work then that might work, but it is really nice to have the visit be relaxing and over with one shot.
I wish we had been referred right away-at least to the pediatric dentist. DS started out doing SO well, but then things went downhill. Plus, we have paid for all those fillings that are basically no good, and although we have dental insurance, it has limits, and there is too much going on to wait until next year. So we are going to end up with a decent bill, too. But i don't want him to have trouble the rest of his life, so we'll pay for it even if we have to spread it out. It doesn't help that we need a new car so the newest baby will fit!! Anyhow, thanks again-I appreciate hearing about the different circumstances, but that they all had good outcomes.
Is there a board that you can go to make a complaint against a dentist? I have heard that there are licensing ones for doctors and lawyers and you can complain to those if you think that the licensing regulations are being violated due to unethical conduct. Recommending unnecessary treatment sounds unethical and it is actually a big problem with some dentists.