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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What I Learned from the Pediatric Dentist

Walking into the dental office at 11:15 a.m. for an 11:15 appointment was a mistake. The dental service we are using allows you to fill out all the paperwork on the computer ahead of time, which is what I thought I did. At the time I thought, isn't this what the registrars are for? But in this day and age of do-it-yourself everything, I guessed it was just another  casualty.

Because of this I was put in a sour mood right off the bat when a team of no less than four receptionists told me I'd filled out the forms wrong, and could I please go over to the self-service computer and redo them. Okay, sure. But what a waste of my time. Also, I already gave you this information on the phone, and I filled it out online, so I'm sorry if seeing you chilling while I do all this for a third time left me a bit peevish.

Anyway, I did my best not to take it out on them. I've been a registrar (admittedly when registrars still had to do some work), and I know how much it sucks. It really does.

They brought us to the back office immediately and tried to put the girls in separate rooms, telling me I could go in between. That went over like a lead balloon, with Lilly immediately dissolving into tears and clinging to Dulce for dear life. It's scary at the dentist. She didn't want to go it alone. I understood. I thought we'd all be together and they'd go one after the other.

After the mini-tantrum, they led us into a room with two chairs and sat the girls down side by side. Why didn't they do that in the first place?



The visit went well. I learned they'll need braces at age 12, but what kid doesn't these days?

Here are some things I found out that may be of help to someone out there:

1) Yes, you're supposed to teach your children to brush their teeth, but you're not supposed to actually let them do it. That makes sense. I taught the kids how to do it, and then, when I was satisfied with their attempts, I let them do it by themselves. End of story. Apparently I'm supposed to follow up after them. I should have known that, but I didn't. Maybe you didn't either. (The dentist said get in there and scrub like you're cleaning a toilet bowl. I may have used different words, to be honest.)

2) You're supposed to be flossing their teeth. At three. I will try. I cannot promise anything, but this just seems like it's got disaster written all over it.

3) No sippy cups for anything but water. This was a revelation. This spells the end of sippies for us. Because my kids only use sippy cups when what they are drinking will stain or mess up my couches and furniture. Why would I bother giving them water in sippy cups? Sippy cups are for juice and the occasional chocolate milk. So, now they're basically useless.

4) It doesn't matter if they suck their thumbs. The dentist recommends going full-throttle with getting them to quit it at 5 and a half. So, at least I can cross that off my list.

5) Kids are supposed to get x-rays. At three. Of their baby teeth. Really?  I said no. We are apparently expected to go every six months, so I'll do some research and get them next time if they really help. I have a fear that ties back to my own childhood. I remember my mother railing against x-rays, afraid of what, I'll never know, but I'm now afraid of it too.

6) Just because you have dental insurance doesn't mean you aren't paying for all of it. $348 out of my bank account later and we were allowed to leave. Apparently my insurance will send me a partial refund.  I'm just thrilled.

But at least the girls did great and thought it was fun!



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97 comments:

  1. Wow. Sounds like you need a new dentist. They made you use a self-serve computer? Ridiculous. And they wouldn't bill your insurance? Also ridiculous.

    I just found a dentist I like. Why do I like her? There are no bells and whistles and she does all of the work on your teeth herself. She cleans, she teaches, she is awesome. I love her. And she gives our carmex at the end of your visit (brilliant!).

    ReplyDelete
  2. The self-serve computer was totally ridiculous, as was having to fill all the forms out all those times. But I probably did it wrong or didn't save or something at home. IDK.

    The insurance billing is the fault of the insurance, or something? They said they will send a copy of my payment to the ins. and the ins. will pay me what they would have paid the dentist. Meaning, I paid full-patient price, the insurance reimburses me what they would have paid, and the dentist actually makes their profit instead of having to receive only half or whatever insurances typically pay. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but as you can see, I don't really understand what I'm talking about either.

    I'm super glad we didn't get the xrays. I wouldn't have been able to afford it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure I buy that. You pay them exorbitant amounts because of the insurance you hold. It sounds to me like they are lazy. They won't walk you through check-in, but refer you to a computer and you have to work with your own insurance to get reimbursement? Most offices have insurance specialists on staff because dealing with insurance companies is difficult, especially for normal people.

      I know we're in different areas but it just seems like an awful lot of money to fork out for the lack of service you got. $174 per kid per checkup? I paid less than that for an emergency filling (that was really more like a root canal), x-rays, and checkup and I live in an area that supposedly has highly paid dentists.

      But I really don't know what I'm talking about either.

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  3. All they've ever done when I took Delia to the dentist was a little cleaning and visual check for cavities.

    I did know that about brushing. You have to brush for them until around the time they learn cursive because that's about the same time they learn to pivot their wrists for proper brushing. To be fair, I just learned that a few months ago.

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  4. I took my 5 y/o daughter to a new dentist (I felt like the last one was still trying to figure out how to turn on a computer half the time) a few weeks ago and the biggest thing I learned was: It's okay to give her a fluoride-free toothpaste. I had been worried about fluoride because she's not always doing a good job of spitting it all out, and my sister-in-law was always saying that the SLS in regular toothpaste was bad for kids. But I thought I'd be a bad mother to go fluoride-free. But the dentist said that a toothpaste with xylitol (he gave us Dr. Nate's Naturals) was a perfectly good alternative. So now I feel better.

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  5. I agree with you that you're supposed to teach your children to brush their teeth, but you're not supposed to actually let them do it.

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  7. Education starts at home. Parents must be responsible in teaching their children become a responsible citizen as well. Dental insurance helps but sometime, this can give you a lot of hassle before releasing the money. Anyway, I hope that the government will be able to act on this kind of service.

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  8. Children are among the most difficult patients to please and handle. They are afraid of pain. It is the responsibility of the parents to explain the importance and benefits of having a good dental system. Anyway, I hope that the government will make sure that dental insurance ensures the dental care of the people.

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  9. The tips that you provided is very informative. I'll surely take those in order to prevent my kids from having emergency dental care.

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  12. I think we're lucky that we know so much now about taking care of our teeth. Long ago, as people got older, their teeth would rot away and be very painful because there are no dentist available. To get rid of a toothache, they had their teeth pulled out. Finally people learned that cleaning their teeth was important, but they didn't have toothpaste right away.

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  13. These tips pretty well makes sense because I always give my kids any food that they wants. My dentist Laurel says I better be strict about the amount of soda they drink because it could color their teeth brown in the long run.

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  16. My kids' pediatric dentist told me that brushing twice a day with a soft toothbrush to remove food and plaque, the sticky film on teeth that' the main cause of tooth decay. Brushing thoroughly should take at least three minutes. Use an egg timer to show kids how long they should brush.

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  17. Awesome comments :)

    In my house we call baby teeth "mulligans" cause you get a do-over! We are fairly lucky genetically regarding teeth, so I'd don't sweat the dentist's recommendations too much. Besides as a spammer recently told me, didn't know you all the dental recommendations actually come from toothpaste companies and not from "actual" science.

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