When he was six years old, I found a different pediatric dentist who came highly recommended. He was farther away, but I was out of ideas. When this dentist saw Ian’s resistance to a regular dental cleaning, he suggested we do it under general anesthesia. This changed everything. We got his teeth cleaned, X-rays taken, and sealants added to the teeth. The nurses at the hospital were wonderful – they gave him a blanket that we still have today.
One thing I learned: Ian would not let them start an IV ahead of time. They allowed me to put on a gown and go into the operating room, where they ended up using ketamine, a fairly fast-acting anesthetic, which allowed them to start an IV. But Ian woke up with the saddest sounding wail you have ever heard. They brought me back to the recovery room, and I heard him as soon as I went through the door. It took my son a couple of hours before he was ready to go home and he pretty much slept for two days.
We continued to attempt regular checkups every six months, but sitting in the chair was as close as we ever got. In the meantime, we made sure he brushed his teeth twice a day and, lucky for us, he was not a big sweet eater.
The next cleaning under general anesthesia was three years after the first one. It was very similar to the first time so I knew what to expect, but his waking up from the anesthesia was just as disheartening. Still, we got the teeth cleaned, more X-rays and new sealants placed.
Four years later – different doctor, different hospital – same result. Fortunately, our insurance helped cover all these cleanings under anesthesia.
Another four years later – different doctor, different hospital – we had his wisdom removed. As you can imagine, that is a whole other set of issues. Fortunately, the doctor removed them before they became impacted. His recovery just took a little longer and we had to watch his diet more closely for a few weeks.