Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chance's Dental Adventures

Chance's dental work

I've had a few friends ask "Why haven't you blogged this?" lately - so here goes.

To begin, because I did total attachment parenting with Charlie, he had a hard time weaning, especially when it was time to go to sleep, so I allowed him to have chocolate milk to go to bed. So when he was 3 I took him to the dentist for the first time, and found out his teeth were in terrible shape. Yep, I was disqualified from Mother of the Year award, no doubt. We made huge diet changes. Chance was about a year old, so there would be no chocolate milk in his diet, along with all other juices, except sparingly. Only water to drink before bed. Charlie had to be seen in the hospital under anesthesia because he was too small for doing it at the dentist's office. We got thru that, found out later that A LOT more was done while he was in surgery than we were told, and we had a huge bill, lots of discussions with the dentist and insurance, and 6 months of dealing with it. Not something I would want to experience again. On top of that, just as we got everything paid off, one of Charlie's fillings failed and his tooth abscessed. Very scary for a young one.

If you ever wondered...
Charlie's abscessed tooth. :(

So when I took Chance in for his first check up at 2 years old, he was given a clean bill of health. I breathed a sigh of relief that maybe my anti-sugar routine was working. We'd cut out lots of sugar, especially in drinks.

But then, this year in late April, I took the boys in for their check ups to find out that Chance had the exact same teeth needing the exact same work that Charlie had needed at his age. Major bummer.

I learned from before to get a predetermination from insurance, and study it like I'm gonna take a bar exam on it. So I requested the predetermination. And I went to another dentist for a second opinion, and got a predetermination requested for her as well. The first dentist's office even called me and had me in tears, telling me that I'd better schedule asap (and fell just short of accusing me of neglect) even though the cost was going to be huge, and I was waiting to see if Chuck was going to take the job at Rackspace (and thus our insurance would change). Sure enough, he did. The day after he accepted the position, I got the predetermination back from the second dentist and decided this was the one to go with. But I now had only 2 weeks to get the work done (in a hospital) before our insurance would change. And that was a "no go". I even called dentist number one who said the same thing. So we set off for our vacation to Houston a bit worried about Chance's teeth. Which, by the way, I had taken over brushing his teeth from the day we found out about the work. But telling Chance he couldn't have much sugar while we were on vacation was a bit disappointing for all of us.

So Chuck gets the job, we get the new insurance, they send for predetermination...I wait, wait, and wait some more. Last week Chance started complaining that one of his teeth was hurting, and I could see the decay. So, I stopped into the office for dentist number two (dentist #1 is not in network, which was fine with me), to see what the hold up is, and they get things working right (they had staff change over which hadn't sent in the predetermination to the right insurance. Lovely.) At this point I tell them I am really concerned about his teeth abscessing, and to my delight, they called a couple of hours later, cleared everything with insurance, and had an opening in the hospital for the next day!! Hallelujah!

Chance's dental work
In the waiting room, taken with my camera phone.

Thus, this past Thursday, Chuck's parents came down for the day to watch Chandler (Thank you, Mom & Dad!!), and I took Chance up to the hospital. Once under anesthesia, it took them a couple of hours to do all of the work. Afterwards, as he started to wake, he got fussy (just like Charlie did), but this time the anesthesiologist was right there, so he gave him some medication, and he calmed down. The anesthesiologist said it would wear off in about 20 minutes, but to my delight, he wasn't fussy for the rest of the day. I kept asking him if he hurt, and he said "No." (Which is great considering any little thing qualifies as a hurt to him). Also, while the dentist had to do a root canal and cover his top two front teeth, I cannot even tell. I even called her to ask if she'd really done it and she says it's there. I just can't see it! I love that his teeth won't look like white chiklets like Charlie's!

Charlie's "white chiklet" teeth.

Then, there was more good news. The medical insurance didn't cover the hospital or anesthesiologist. With Charlie, they said they would before the work was done, and then didn't, and I had to fight them for 6 months to pay up. This time, I just accepted that and paid in full. That may sound bad, but I'm relieved that there will be no fight! And what's even better is our dental insurance is supposed to cover a lot more, which brings our total to less than half of what it would've been if we'd done this back in June under our previous insurance! Thank You, Lord!! I'm ashamed that I fretted a lot over this, when really, it worked out beautifully. He holds all things in His hands, I've just got to trust that!

Chance's dental work
Resting in post-op afterwards.

And also, I actually feel a little less guilty for Charlie's teeth. This time around revealed that it's a genetic thing. Chuck and his mom both had weak teeth. While that's not good news, it means that my kids were doomed no matter what I fed them. I'm glad we've gone thru this, and there are always ways we can continue to improve our diets, but I'm also glad that it wasn't just all my fault.


Mells said...

Oh Angie, I'm so glad that everything worked out. :) You are a WONDERFUL mommy and no one can deny that! Please always remember that! :)
I'm so glad that Chance did well throughout the whole thing. :) Love you guys! :)

Unknown said...

Oh, the poor guys! I'm glad everything worked out in the end. It definitely sounds like a genetic thing, and you sound like a great mother!