I guess it was last year sometime when my boys started seeing the commercials for The Super Dentists. Even I had thought it looked like a fun place to go and what a great idea to get kids excited about seeing the dentist. They advertised a fun office environment, video games, a fairy tail decor and a couple super hero dentists. It all sounded fabulous. It did not take a lot of convincing on my boys’ part to get me to agree to drive them the hour (plus) drive to see The Super Dentists in Oceanside California.
Their first visit went well. It was just exams and the boys had fun. Unfortunately, both twins got some pretty hefty estimates for work that needed done. Gabriel had several fillings and a possible root canal. His estimate was about $400 (this is important to remember for further down in my story). Nathans teeth were worse than Gabriels and his estimate was 4-6 root canals and crowns with several more fillings, approximately $600 in work.
We were looking at $1000 plus in estimates for these poor little kids. Luckily for me, I had reached benefits eligibility at my work and I promptly signed up for a flexible spending account in order to be able to pay for all the dental work. We had to wait for it all to kick in though so it was about five months later before we were able to go back to the dentist and have the work done.
So….five months later….
We took the boys in for new estimates and exams in case anything had gotten worse or needed adjusted.
Nathan received the same $600 estimate. Poor kid has terrible teeth.
But something peculiar happened with Gabriel….He had perfect teeth and needed no work.
Wait…what? Five months ago he needed $400 in work and now he doesn’t? How does that happen? Well, in reality, it doesn’t. Cavities do not heal themselves, at least not the last time I checked. So did they make up a bogus estimate so they could perform work that did not really need done OR did they miss all those cavities the second time around? Inquiring minds would like to know.
The day came for Nathan’s appointment. He was to be put under “conscious sedation” to help him relax and be sleepy (this cost an extra $125). I was in the room with him waiting for the drink to take effect. I was with him when they took him (fully awake) into the procedure room and strapped him to the table. I was with him while they drilled into his face and I sat helpless watching my baby writhe in pain because he was fully awake and they did not give him enough Novocaine. His feet kept flexing, he kept jumping, he practically flew off the table. Still. No more Novocaine. I told them to STOP that they were hurting him and she just would say “almost done” drill….drill….drill….
The doctor never once gave him more Novocaine or more gas. Nothing. Just kept drilling.
When the torture finally ended, they unstrapped him and let me hold him. He had the saddest look on his face. One of pure defeat.
He passed out and I carried him out to the car and took him home. That night I sobbed.
It was the most traumatic experience I’ve had as being a mom. Watching my son in pain and being helpless to do anything. To be telling them to stop and not being listened to and not knowing what to do is something that will haunt me forever.
Because of this experience, I vowed never to go to The Super Dentists again. Ever. Instead I got recommendations to a fabulous family dentist and we just adore him. Unfortunately though, Nathan was so traumatized by this experience that he won’t even let the sweet and gentle Dr. Lee come near his mouth, and he still had teeth that needed fixed. We were left with no choice but to put Nathan under anesthesia to complete the work. I am so afraid that Nathan is permanently traumatized and will now always be fearful of the Dentist. Something that never should have happened.
This past Friday Nathan went under anesthesia at Children’s Hospital to have the rest of his teeth crowned. It was a very long, six hour wait (they were behind schedule) but he was such a rock star. He never complained although I know his tummy was rumbling. His teeth are now good to go (for six months at least) and we can work on repairing the damage that The not-so-Super Dentists inflicted.