Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Adventures in Emergency Dentistry


So we had a bang up day here.... literally.

I got a phone call from the daycare around 11:15 this morning. One of the phone calls you never want to get: Our little girl had been hit in the face with a sled while tobogganing with her friends on the small hill in their play yard. Her tooth was chipped. I could hear her still sobbing in the background when they called.... I don't think anything can make you feel as helpless as being so far away from your child when they're hurt.

I'm lucky that our dentist is just down the hall from my own office - I raced down to ask them what to do and they said they could see her as fast as I could get back with her. So by 12:30 she was sitting in the dentist's chair. Not exactly how I pictured her first visit with Dr. K.

He examined the damage and after looking at the X-ray, we could see that the tooth wasn't just chipped, it was cracked right down to below the gum line. Because he had no way of knowing if the root would be exposed if the chipped part was removed (and not wanting to traumatize his newest little patient), he immediately phoned a pediatric oral surgeon, Dr. C, and arranged for us to be seen right away.

So from one dentist's chair to another. My poor little peanut fell asleep on the trip across town but didn't get to finish much of a nap on the waiting room couch before we were seen. After looking at the tooth Dr. C had me hold her (restrain would be a better word) while he removed the broken half of her tooth.

The root was exposed. So he cleaned and sealed it (temporary fix) while we discussed options. The tooth needs to be capped... which totally sucks because it's one of her eye teeth and the rest of the smiles in her young childhood pictures are now going to have a flash of silver in them. My only choice was how we wanted to do it. He could do it immediately but it would have to be done "against her will" ... because the little adventure of just examining and then patching the break had shown us just how well she'd put up with a more invasive procedure (one that involved needles to boot!). OR, we could wait until first thing tomorrow and put her under general anesthesia and get it done without her remembering a thing.

That's a no brainer for me. I don't know if I could stand forcibly restraining my shrieking, panic-stricken baby while a 'stranger' man-handled her face and gave her a life-long fear of dentists. We had our younger son put under when he needed some extensive dental work done at age 4 and he has no memory of it and more importantly, no fear of dentists. I don't like the idea of putting her under... she so tiny and I know there are risks.... but it's just so much better than the alternative.

The only catch with opting for the general anesthesia route is that she'd need to be cleared by a doctor before they would put her under. It was already 2:30 in the afternoon. Still, I booked her in for 9:00am tomorrow and left with the paperwork... and her broken tooth. Before we left the nurse came rushing out and gave her a tiny pink treasure chest with the piece of her tooth in it.

I tried her pediatrician right away but he was out of town this week... and his back-up had been called out of the office this afternoon. Perfect. So plan B: I stopped by my husband's work on my way towards home. He had an appointment with his own doctor at the end of the day and I was hoping he could make a phone call and maybe take her along (saving me an afternoon at a walk-in clinic). But no such luck.

So we went home and I changed out of my work clothes before heading up to the walk-in clinic at the top of our street. We got there around 3:30 and put our names down to see our 3rd medical professional in 3 hours. It wasn't too bad. There was actually only one person in front of us so we only had time for one book in the waiting room before going in. By 4:00 her pre-op check was done and we were on our way.

Now we wait. She's a little fussy this evening... no doubt exhausted from an emotional and scary day, but she ate well and doesn't seem to be in any pain right now with the patch-job.

I think she'll sleep better than I will.... At least she has a visit from the tooth fairy to look forward to!

(just a couple of years sooner than I was expecting)

4 comments:

ItsLiz said...

Oh the poor thing ... that picture is just precious ... I will be thinking good thoughts for you guys in the morning ... it is so rough when they "go under" but not having any bad memories is the choice to make for sure ...

good luck ...

I hope the tooth fairy brings her something spectacular ... :)

Robin said...

First of all.....I didn't recognize D in the picture!!!! I mean, when did she turn into a little girl?

Poor thing....good call on the general...it will make it so much easier for everyone in the long run. Good luck, and I think the Tooth Fairy has to bring something REALLY big!

Mbdiamond said...

She did great this morning - slept it off most of this afternoon and now she's eating good so I'm happy. She passed out last night before we could make a big deal about putting the tooth under her pillow... so I guess that'll have to wait for tonight :)

ItsLiz said...

So glad to hear it went alright today ... was thinking about her ... but I can't believe mama didn't break down for some pudding ...