Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Only Dental Appointment I'll Ever Love

Before I start this post, let me assure you, I don't hate dentists.  I'm sure they are all fantastic people who provide a very necessary service to all of us, make the world a better place, and all that.
I just hate going to them.
Even if I'm not the one in the chair.
Taking my kids to the dentist is torture for me.  I know how much i hate sitting there, and I hate doing that to my children, even though I know it is better for them on so many levels to go rather than not.  Dental health is important.  Yes.  I know.  Doesn't make the action of going and having people in your mouth suck less for anyone, though.
And it does suck.  Just the thought of having all those tools scrape around your teeth is enough to make me git the shivers.  The thought of those gloved hands in my mouth make me want to gag.  I will stop there.  You get it.  I hate going.
I still do it, though.  I go, get cleanings, and pray, hard, that nothing else is wrong with me so that I don't have to go back until my next cleaning.  I take my children, maybe a little later than some people would, but we go.  The Big One just had her cleaning and exam.  She also had a loose tooth.  The tooth needed to be looked at.  It was attached to a space maintainer that she has had for a while.  So, if the tooth came out, she would have a wire sticking out.  When I talked to her Dentist's office on the phone, they told me that if the tooth was loose, they would probably go ahead an pull it so that they can fix the spacer again.  Great.  If I haven't mentioned it before, The Big One is worse than me when it comes to medical stuff.  She freaks out about everything.  I mean that.  So, the notion that they may be pulling a tooth, didn't sit well.  Not only was it going to be difficult because of her general disposition, but I had to take the other Girls with me to the appointment.  So, she would need to go back by herself.  All around, I was terrified of how it was going to go.
Pleasantly, I was surprised.
We discussed everything ahead of time.  I wanted her to be prepared for what they might do.  I told her they would come get me if they needed me.
When we got to the office, both the The Big Girls were stoked about the game room.  The office is setup to be kid heaven with video games.  Wen it was her turn, she went back, excited about the x-rays they were going to do, as she actually likes that part for some odd reason, and only a little nervous.  About 20 minutes later, they came out and ask me to come back.  Great.  I was ready for the discussion that would go something like "Your daughter has x amount of cavities, we have to pull the tooth, put on a new spacer, give her braces, and all today.  After your insurance kicks in, that will cost you $1,478,534."  Of course, that was all an approximate guess of how I thought it would go.
Instead, she had no cavities.  The tooth that the spacer had been working to protect was coming in.  That was what was making the other tooth loose.  So, they didn't need to pull anything.  Everything was working just like it should.  The only thing they needed to do was seal three teeth that had somehow been missed.  That's it.  Good job, Big One.  Keep on brushing well.  Nothing else.  Awesome.
The sealants can be pricey, though.  Even though I had to tell them four times that we do have insurance, once they got it all straightened out, it was going to cost me $28 for this appointment.  I was giddy.  I am happy to pay $28 for a dental visit.
With all the running back and forth to get our insurance straightened out, I would say that it was still more difficult to seal the teeth, than to figure out how much it was going to cost to do it.  While she may have been mostly fine for the rest of the visit, the teeth sealing was a little tricky.  They had to use something to hold open her mouth, and she didn't like the citric acid flavor of the sealant.  She kept moving, and trying to get away, or just stopped breathing.  It was difficult.  I would guess my child is the reason that pediatric dentists really push sedatives sometimes.  Eventually, the teeth got done, both girls got stickers since even the Little Big One waited patiently, and we were on our way to the check out desk.
The lady holding our chart called me over, and looked at it.  Looked again.  Told me she needed to ask someone a question.  They talked, and then she ask if I had other appointments going on.  Yes.  The Little One is going next week.  No.  That isn't it.  There was more discussion while looking at my file online.
Then she told me I had a credit balance.  At first the other woman she was discussing with said she saw a dollar.  That was cool.  I'll take a dollar when I can get it.  Then, the first lady told me that I had a few credits.  All together, after they took out what I owed for that appointment, I still had $201 left.
I was shocked.  I was in disbelief.  How often do you just find $200??  Better yet, how often do you find it at the dentist?? The lady told me they would cut me a check right away.  Instead, I told her to leave it.  We will be using it very soon.

Really, in hind sight, I should have been pissed that they had held this money for so long.  However, it happens to come at the right time.  I know The Little One is going to need some work, and now I have a fall back to help with that.
While I don't expect to ever get another visit quite like that one, I am super excited to be able to say just once that I actually loved going to the dentist.