I’m not sure how this could have happened. My son was just into the dentist’s office a couple of months ago. They did x-rays, a cleaning, and a checkup then gave him the all clear. I thought everything was fine, but a few days ago he woke up crying about a tooth hurting. I called his pediatric office, but they only work four day weeks. I wasn’t sure what to do. He was in so much pain. I ended up calling my dentist and asking if they would be willing to have a look at him. They were, thankfully. I brought him in. When they did an x-ray, they noticed he had a massive infection. My dentist said there is no way that wasn’t there at his last appointment. It was so bad they had to take his tooth. It was a molar, which worries me. I think I heard they’re important for children to keep. I was grateful my dentist was good with my son, so the appointment wasn’t too horrible for him. They gave him some medicine to make him sleepy and relaxed before the removed the tooth. I don’t know what I’d have done without them. Is it normal for a dentist to miss something this big? Should I say something?
No, your pediatric dentist shouldn’t have missed that. While some infections can blow up quickly, it sounds like that one was there for a while. I’m glad you were proactive in calling your office. Something else which bothers me is the lack of emergency protocols at your pediatric dentist’s office. It’s fine if they want a four day work week, but they should have something in place in the case of patient emergencies. The fact that they don’t, makes me wonder how much they truly care about their patients.
I would certainly bring it up with them. Not only did their negligence cost your son a tooth, it could have been much worse if the infection spread to his brain or heart, both of which are quite close to his jaw.
Your intuition about his molar is right. While some baby teeth can fall out early with no consequences, the same is not true about molars. They need to stay until your son is about twelve years old. The simple solution is to have a space maintainer placed where his molar was. That will keep his teeth from shifting, causing crowding later. If your office hasn’t done so already, ask them to place one.
You Don’t Have to Go to a Pediatric Clinic
It doesn’t sound like you’re being well-served by your current pediatric. In your place, I’d look for another one. If you live in an area where there is only one pediatric clinic, it’s perfectly acceptable to go to a general dentist who enjoys treating children and do a fantastic job in relating to them. I suppose you’ve seen that with your dental clinic when they stepped in to help you.
You may even want to just let your son start visiting your clinic, if it’s okay with them. Your son seemed to respond well to them and they seem quite attentive. The important things are your son gets the care he needs and he has positive experiences with his dentist. This way he gets a lifetime of care without anxiety.
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