We took my daughter for her teeth cleaning a little later than the recommended schedule. we are pretty vigilant about teeth brushing, however we are also pretty vigilant about eating Oreo cookies, so the results of the checkup could have been anyone’s guess. The dentist’s office was pretty flashy. There were video games and computers in the waiting room, the coffee maker and water bottles free for adults, and it was decorated more like a science Museum than a dentists office.
We had been there for teeth cleaning before, but have been told they were the best so we were willing to pay the higher price tag that came along with it. We had always came back to the procedure room with our daughter and they told us that she would need new x-rays this time. They assured us that they would come get us right after the x-rays were done. We waited about 20 minutes before my wife asked what the holdup was. They “forgot” to get us and were almost done with my daughters examination.
The dentist looking at her teeth almost refused to discuss any findings with us and tried to usher us directly into billing. She briefly blurted out that there were multiple cavities and billing would go over the course of treatment with us. The bill was filled with treatments not discussed with us at all, anesthesia plans, both local and general, and we were discouraged from even reading the agreement before signing. Condescending and hurried, the bill was exorbitant and included numerous cavities split over multiple visits, and we were led to believe the teeth issues were so severe our child would need nitrous gas in addition to the local anesthetic and the sooner the better.
I was surprised that she would need so much dental work done when a few months prior she had no evidence of any cavities. I was disappointed that she doesn’t talk to us for, and my daughter said she was unhappy that she wasn’t spoken to at all about the findings in her mouth.
The person in billing felt like a car salesman. She started ushering pages in front of us and urging us to sign them without reading them. I felt that not only was this very extreme, but definitely overkill for a few small cavities in her baby teeth that she would lose soon anyway, and when I addressed this concern she quickly blurted “We just need you to sign this so we can schedule your next appointment.” This is about the time my parental instinct really kicked in. Something just wasn’t right.
I started to feel like I was being misled and that my daughter’s best interest wasn’t in mind. I didn’t have any reference point except my instinct, a hunch if you will that something was wrong. Well, I have been following my intuition most of my life and it hasn’t steered me wrong yet. We decided to have our records released to another reputable dentist in town. The night before we went to our new appointment, my daughter timidly crawled down our stairs and sat next to me right before her bedtime. She couldn’t believe that she had so many cavities, and was hopeful that the new dentist would tell her that she was all clear. I thought that to be quite unlikely and prepared her as best as I could for the worst. I told her how brave she was and that she could handle anything the dentist told her about her teeth. She seemed to halfheartedly find a little bit of comfort in that statement, but went to bed anyway.
When we got to her new dentists office it was just as nice, and very accommodating. Because it was a new dentist my daughter asked me if I could join her for the check up and I told her that I would ask. When the hygienist called my daughters name she also added that parents were welcome to come back for the first visit to their office. My daughter let out a big sigh of relief. I was immediately greeted by a polite and friendly man and introducing himself as the dentist. He was quite personable and was absolutely radiating positive energy, despite it being 8:30 AM. The hygienist got to work on my daughter making conversation and setting her mind at ease. The dentist went over the x-rays that we had sent from her prior dentists office and checked my daughters teeth. As my daughter was let off to get her prizes from the dentist, he leaned in close to give me his findings. I was expecting the bad news when he said “her mouth looks great.” He continued that the x-rays did not show multiple cavities, and only one very small one in a tooth that she was soon to lose. When I asked him about treatment he suggested “watchful waiting.” He gave us a toothpaste that would help remineralize her teeth are said that numerous scientific studies showed evidence that the cavity could disappear entirely, and if not, she would probably lose the tooth before it became a problem anyway.
As parents we are our children’s biggest advocate. It’s our job to follow our instincts and when something doesn’t feel right to do something about it. It is our job to make waves. When it comes to medical or dental issues if something doesn’t feel right, we must absolutely get a second opinion. After mentioning our experience a few other people from our town said that they had similar experiences as well and were quoted outlandish prices and exorbitant treatment plans for young children who haven’t even got there adult teeth yet. I was disgusted to hear my greatest fears come true and thankful that I listen to my inner parental voice. I can’t believe that there are dentists out there that would put profit over unnecessary pain, but apparently they do exist. We are pleased with our new dentist, and our daughter can’t wait to go back. She and I both could tell she was in good hands, and that was comforting to the both of us.