Partly inspired by this thread (how timely), and a consult with a sedation dentist…
Dweezil is my 14 year old son. He has mild autism. He tends to develop irrational fears of things (e.g. for a while it was boats - refused to go on “It’s A Small World” because that involved boats, even though I’m not sure you could drown in the 6 inches of water even if you broke in at 2 AM when nobody was around, got stone drunk, and deliberately wedged yourself head first between a boat and the wall).
Dweezil has had dental fillings a couple of times. Came through them with flying colors. He didn’t enjoy them, but then who does?
Fast forward to a couple months ago. Hygienist spotted a bit of decay during his cleaning, so we brought him in for a filling.
He wouldn’t even open his mouth to let the dentist look. No mirrors, nothing. I was prepared to force his mouth open (yeah I know, counterproductive, but I was mad at the sudden change in behavior) but the dentist insisted on backing off, and referring us to a sedation dentist. I asked if she couldn’t simply use Halcion (or whatever) plus nitrous as she does for me but she’s not comfortable doing this with a child.
That consult was today.
The process is: the kid gets doped up on a couple of meds beforehand (Halcion, Clonidine, and an antinausea/pain med) then gets IV sedation during. He could be in the chair for an hour and a half or more.
Estimated treatment cost? nearly three thousand dollars.
Of which perhaps a couple hundred would be covered by dental insurance. Our dental insurance SUCKS in general, and especially in regards to coverage for anesthesia other than novocaine. I have, in the past, basically been told that even if novocaine doesn’t work for me (and it doesn’t, at least not alone), too fucking bad.
So we’re looking at being out of pocket for most of 3 grand.
This is, not surprisingly, money we don’t have just lying around.
Anyway - if anyone has any experience dealing with a similar situation, I’d be grateful for any suggestions.
Has anyone ever succeeded in getting dental anesthesia covered by medical insurance?
The only thing I can think of right now is to sit Dweezil down, point out the costs involved (3 grand vs. maybe 400 if the regular dentist does it), and lay it out that if he cannot attempt to get through this using more reasonable techniques, the whole family will suffer. I don’t know if that will work for him though.
If it were just a few hundred dollars more, we could scrape that up without too much trouble - e.g. we could pay for the nitrous out of pocket.
And what’s with the price difference anyway - I had a tooth extracted a few years ago, and the IV sedation was only a couple hundred more (out of pocket of course, and willingly paid).