Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Today was the day.
Toby's teeth are fixed.

I think I blogged before about the decay on his front teeth, but this time I'll add pictures.

It started when he was about a year old. I tried to scrape some yellowy gunge off his front teeth only to discover that they were tiny holes and not just 'gunk'.
I panicked, but at the time I felt he was far too young to undergo what needed to be done. He was and still is very clingy and high anxiety and I didn't want the lasting stamp of 'dentists shove needles in my mouth and it hurts and therefore I hate them'.
When he was a few months older we went to our family hygienist for checkups. She's known our family for years and has her own natural dentistry practice in Barrie. Toby wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.
We said that was fine, he got a seashell and a toothbrush anyway, and we went home.
She recommended that I try brushing his teeth with a mixture of clay and xylitol, which is a plant based 'sugar' that actually repels sugars from the teeth. The clay absorbs and neutralizes the acid. I was also told to cut down on, or remove rice from his diet because the starches turn to sugars when they mix with the acid in your mouth.

Well, Toby's entire diet was rice because of keeping him away form gluten. So we substituted with a lot of corn products and quinoa, but it wasn't the same.

The decay was under control for quite a while, but I was slowly realizing that the area had darkened and gotten bigger. At this time Toby began to put up an enormous fight about teeth brushing. He never liked it to begin with, but now he was learning to fight back. Not wanting to turn teeth brushing into a negative thing, we let it go for a while. He always drank lots of water and I still packed the clay/xylitol mix on his teeth.

We tried for another check-up the next year, but his perception was better and he knew exactly what we were doing and fought every step of the way. He wouldn't even sit in the chair with me this time.
Our hygienist referred me to a dental surgeon for a consultation about what to do.
A few months later we finally got an appointment. Toby again screamed blue murder when we tried to take him into an examining room. We had been taking pictures of his teeth for a while now so I presented the dentist with those while Toby ran back to waiting room to play with Grama.

He told me they would have to be pulled. I asked if they could just be filled. He shrugged and said he wouldn't know until they did x-rays and he wasn't going to be able to get x-rays unless Toby was under anesthetic. Then he mumbled something about this is commonly what happens when you breastfeed too long. I asked if we would be able to nurse the day of. He said no food or drink for 12 hours before. I asked what I has supposed to do about the fact that I'm not going to get him out of the house without him wanting to nurse. He said if he ingests anything they won't operate on him because if he throws up in his sleep he could drown himself.
I was not happy.
They said they would contact me in a few days with a quote for the procedure, but an anesthetist probably wouldn't be available for several months.
I talked to them the next week about what needed to be done, and 4 extractions with anesthetic, plus x-rays, plus fillings,  plus 'whatever else we find that needs to be done' was going to be over $2000.
I wanted to throw up.
I asked if replacement teeth would be put in because he can't exactly go around with no front teeth for the next 3-4 years. She almost laughed and then said no, it would be to expensive and pointless because they were not permanent teeth.
They told me to call the Simcoe Muskoka Health unit about the CINOT program (Children In Need Of Treatment) to receive financial assistance if I had no insurance.
I don't like calling people and was too annoyed at the whole thing to want to do anything else. I also didn't want to subject Toby to another screening appointment so soon after this one.

A month or so went by and we almost forgot about the whole thing. Then one days they called and I was almost terrified that they had found a date for Toby to go in. Instead, they informed us that they had decided to no longer do treatments that required anesthesia on-site, and they referred me to yet another dentist.

Kids Dentistry in Barrie.
They have a website. I read over everything and immediately felt better about the situation.

We were doing a lot over the summer so it wasn't until a month ago that I got a chance to call. I got an appointment a few weeks later.
The place is awesome. The staff are awesome. The whole waiting room is decorated to look like you're under the ocean, and back in the clinic it's decorated like the jungle.

(Panorama of waiting room from my phone)

Dr. Goralski was quiet and patient through Toby's sobbing, and eventually did get a good look inside his mouth. He went to check for a date to bring us back for surgery. He came back and said they actually had an opening in a week and a half.

Well. This is great. Except. It's happening like. Now.

*Insert previous blog post about anxiety attack*

The dentist office sent their own message to CINOT and said because it was a referral I probably wouldn't have to go in for screening. I got approval right away, which waved the cost of the anesthetic (about $700?) and all I had to look after was the down payment and a couple hundred for the full-bonded crowns they would be fitting him with.
Tres awesome.

Toby wasn't allowed to eat after 10PM last night. I asked about nursing. They said 4 hours before was fine, but nothing leading up to the appointment.
Well fine, he wakes up once early in the morning and asks to nurse and then goes back to sleep, instead of the 5 times a night that was happening before.
A week they called and said I had to be in the office at 7:45 am.
My stomach was in knots all night. I barely slept. Toby woke up right on time at 4am, nursed for 10 seconds and dropped of to sleep again.
I never went back to sleep.
I eventually got up just before 6 to eat something and get my stuff together. I hoped Toby would sleep till 7 so I would just have to grab him and put him in the car.  However we woke up just after 6, asking to nurse.
I diverted the attention by looking at the moon out the window, which was still shining brightly. I picked him up and we looked out the window for a while before he asked to go downstairs. As soon as we got downstairs he asked to go back up and nurse. I said I know, and then headed for the computer room to watch some Bob The Builder.
He was entertained but he kept shivering on my lap out of exhaustion and adrenaline. He knew something was up.
I turned off the computer and went to put shoes on. He asked where we were going. I said we had to do some stuff, and then we'd be home later.
We got out to the car and he asked again where we had to go. I said we had to go to our appointment at the place with all the fish and the rainbow bubbles.
He didn't say anything. You could see him processing it. He knew what I was talking about, but he didn't kick up a fuss, and amazingly he didn't ask for anything to eat on the way in.
We drove into a beautiful Barrie sunrise. I wish I had stopped to take a picture, but I was too focused on getting there on time.
We stopped outside the building and Toby asked if they were going to clean his teeth. He knew exactly where we were.
We had talked about putting the crowns on his teeth, he knew they were being fixed, I just didn't draw much attention to the 'when' because he's still really sensitive on the issue.
I eventually said, yeah maybe, we'll have to see what Dr. Mike says.
He was shaking in my arms on the walk up, but ran right over to play with the train set when we went in. We were the first ones there so he had the run of the play room.
When it was time to go in he said 'no' a couple times, but then just hugged me when I picked him up.
I was expecting a screaming match when they tried to put the mask on his face, but they let me hold on to him on my lap and he just teared up a bit before being knocked out. We were all surprised at how well it went.
I couldn't help but have a huge grin on my face as I went back to the waiting room. It was done. I didn't care how miserable he was going to be or how many times I get thrown up on, because this was over.

They called me back when he woke up and he was a sobbing disoriented mess on the bed. I picked him up and he fell asleep again for a few minutes. Eventually we realized his eyes were actually open, he was just really calm. They moved up to a different room until he got his bearings again. He slowly began to talk to me instead of just staring off into space. I carried him around and looked out all the windows. He nursed for a minute. He was offered a popsicle which she shyly refused, then asked for again as soon as the nurse had left. He seemed to feel a lot better after that and they let us go. He never threw up or seemed nauseous which was surprising for me, because he usually throws up easily if anything is 'off' about his tummy

(Eating popsicle with numb lips. He's never been able to actually eat one before because his teeth were so sensitive)

Toby wanted more popsicles so we stopped at Zehrs on the way home and got some popsicles, yogurt and apple sauce for him to eat today.
We had pasta, watched Cars, and had a reluctant nap.
When we got up again i asked if he wanted to see his teeth in the mirror. He said no. I went over and pulled his lip back anyway so he could see the broken teeth were fixed. He tried to hide a smile from me by burying his face in my shoulder.

I am amazed already at how well he seems to be coping and how 'himself' he is already.
Here's hoping to no more procedures until much much later!!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Erin! What a huge success! You've gone through some crappy stuff and come out on top! Toby's teeth are blindingly bright white and gorgeous.