Friday, August 22, 2014

Jaws, er... dental stuff

I've mentioned this before, but Riley has bad teeth. I have bad teeth, my birth mom has bad teeth... unfortunately, it appears Riley has my genes in this department. We've been trying to deal with some issues for the last year and a half or so, but it was difficult to get these resolved when Riley would freak out at the dentist. She has a pretty big fear of noises so no matter how much we talked her through each appointment once a noise occurred it was all down hill from there.

We went to numerous dentists and a number of suggestions were made about how to handle her cavities and her enamel problems, but in the end nothing was successful so we had to take the route we were trying to avoid... a procedure at the hospital with anesthesia.

After a couple hiccups with a last minute scheduling of the procedure, and my company accidentally canceling Riley's insurance we were finally able to reschedule the procedure (so we could also have time to complete her pre-op appointment) this past Wednesday.

We tried to prepare Riley for the procedure without scaring her, and well... she wasn't scared one bit. She was excited that she got to wear her pajamas to the dentist and astounded that she would get to eat there too. She was almost a little too excited that I thought about setting her right about this, but decided against installing any caution in her so she wouldn't be fearful going in.

Riley already received some fillings and one crown on a molar, but with this procedure we knew that she would need a lot more crowns, some possibly on the front. Her one crown is silver and the plan was to put white ones on the front and silver in the back. We cringed at the thought of having so much silver in her mouth and I had visions of her being nicknamed 'jaws'. I had to remember that she won't have these teeth forever and before long they would be gone. Some friends tried to shed positive light on the situation by reminding me that some people pay big money to have that much bling in their mouth. Ha, guess I know what her Halloween costume could be this year. 

Riley was also excited to bring her 'lambie' (who she renamed 'Cinderella' to our surprise while we were at the hospital) and watch Frozen while all the nurses, anesthetists, dentists, etc came in and asked us essentially the same questions over and over. I think there were at least 8 people involved in the surgery/care of her while we were there. Amazing how many people it took for this procedure, but I can't complain because everyone was great especially Sandy who showed Riley a picture step by step of the day and set her up with the movie.

Riley selected to have one of us go back with her to the operating room. I went with (I think Jesse was having a harder time with having to put Riley through this) and stayed with her until the anesthesia kicked in which was probably only a minute. I'm glad I got to be there, but will admit it was hard to see this and then to leave her side.

The procedure took about an hour and a half, but from when she went into the operating room until we were pulled into the recovery room it was just over 2 hours. Jesse and I brought reading material, but got sucked into HGTV (House Hunters Renovation. Holy crap, people pay an insane amount for housing on the west coast).

The doctor came out and explained that they had to add 5 crowns in the back, but were able to avoid crowns on the front (they did fillings instead). Her original crown needs to be watched as it might be susceptible of falling out early. If that happens she'll need a retainer of sorts to keep it in place until her adult teeth come in (so her teeth don't grow in crooked). This certainly wasn't our ideal situation, but about what we expected going into this. The doctor said someone would be out shortly to get us once Riley started to wake up.

Soon after, a staff member came out and said that they were asking for just Riley's mom. When I arrived in the recovery room, Riley was clinging to a nurse, crying and asking for 'mommy'. I held her and tried to console her and shortly after, Jesse arrived in the room. I think the woman who came out was told to "go get her mom" and assumed that dad couldn't come back. I'm guessing someone told her to go get him too once they saw I was the only one back there.

The nurse shared that Riley was going through post-op anesthesia delirium which I guess is fairly common for Riley's age (4). The nurse gave her some medications to help her fall back asleep and noted that when kids come out of that sleep they usually do better, but as we know, Riley is a fighter and wasn't going to let these meds put her back to sleep. The nurse explained that the anesthesia usually gets out of the system in about 45 minutes and, if anything, Riley should come around by then. So for about 45 minutes Jesse and I took turns holding Riley while she cried, screamed, thrashed around, and occasionally calmed down only to head right back into a tizzy. She begged to go home, but we explained that they needed her to eat and drink before we could do so. It was pretty painful to see, but we've seen her go through this before (colic, night terrors, etc) so I think we knew we just needed to wait it out.

And finally it broke (pretty much right at the 45 minute mark). She stopped crying, agreed to a sip of water, and let me feed her a cup of Jell-o. From there the nurse took her vitals one last time, we changed her out of her surgery scrubs and back into her pajamas, got a couple of stickers and left.

The flushed face is from the anesthesia and probably the crying.

We were home before lunch (we arrived at the hospital at 6 am, surgery was at 7:30, and I think we left the hospital after 10:30. Fun fact: last time I was at this hospital this early in the morning was they day I gave birth to Riley). We spent the rest of the morning watching TV and just chilling out. We attempted nap time, but Riley just cried for one of us to be with her and refused to nap. She's done well overall since the procedure (even going to school the next day), but has been a little off especially when we try to leave her at sleep time. She's had some tender teeth, a plugged up nose, and a sore throat (from the breathing tube), but I am amazed at how chipper and energized she's been.

Since cavities are often caused by a bacteria (it can spread from tooth to tooth), they hope that this helps 'reset' the environment in her mouth. I had a lot of cavities (and 13 teeth pulled, a retainer, braces, and another retainer...) as a child, but at some point it stopped and I never had another cavity issue again (knock on wood). I only hope that this is the worst of it.

I've been a little more emotional than usual since this happened and I think it's partly because she's been extra sweet and loving... and I know it was just a dental procedure, but it reminded me of how precious life is and how lucky I am. Oh geez, I'm starting to sound super sappy. Let's just say I'm very grateful that I have such a cool kid and hope she gets all the cool things she deserves.

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