Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ben's Teeth

Since moving back to the States, we haven't had medical insurance. Instead, we have one of those Christian bill sharing plans that has an astronomical deductible and is good only to keep us from going bankrupt in the event of a catastrophic illness. After the report we got at the dentist recently, we were faced with the reality of suddenly producing that deductible to save Ben's teeth. 

Here is Ben at his first ever dentist's visit:  
We weren't planning to take our kids to the dentist any time soon; we simply couldn't afford it. Our friend Dee heard that Ben had never been and took it upon herself to get us a complimentary appointment with her cousin, who happens to be a dentist. Jonah and Andy had great reports, but we were shocked to hear that Ben's mouth was full of cavities. We were referred to a pedodontist (a dentist for children) and ended up getting a second then a third opinion because we were facing up to $10,000 in surgery. The consensus was that he needed three pulpotomies (like a root canal for a baby tooth) and three crowns, plus several other smaller fillings. We questioned the necessity of spending so much on teeth that were destined to be replaced in a few years, but were educated on the importance of the space they occupy in allowing the adult teeth to properly align as they come in.

Apparently Ben has suffered from acid reflux that has decayed his teeth as he sleeps. That's why he has been tossing and turning at night and complaining of stomach aches and why the cavities are all in between his teeth where we couldn't see them. (We are treating him for reflux and he seems to be doing better.)

We couldn't afford to have the surgery done here, so we began the process of planning to take him to Brazil where dental care is excellent and much cheaper. Our former mission team members served as liaison to get us an appointment with a pedodontist there. We rushed Ben's passport renewal and prayed for open doors in time to avoid abscess of his already weakened teeth.

In the meantime, an acquaintance told us about a local pedodontist who he called "something of a wizard in these situations". We gave him a try and found him to be the answer to our prayers. He agreed to do the procedure in his office with local anesthesia and scheduled the first visit the very next day on his lunch hour. It took him about thirty minutes to finish up the two worst teeth and he charged us only half price for the procedure, which we had available because of some very generous friends. Now we can wait until after Thanksgiving to finish up with one more crown and some fillings in the smaller cavities. We are so very thankful for God's provision.

Here's Ben with his new silver teeth, which he loves to show off, and the prize he got for being so well behaved during the procedure:

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