September 13, 2008,
A.N. asks from Woodbridge, VA on September 10, 2008
Son May Have Fractured Rib
My son was complaining of pain yesterday when I was trying to pick him up into his car seat after he was at the dentist. All day he complained and me and my husband looked and he had a buldge on his rib that hurt him that looked like hard cyst or something. I took him to pediatrician today they said it might be a fractured rib so I am taking him for an xray in the morning. I am freaking out because he did not have any problems before we went to the dentist and I am not sure how this happened. Can kids ribs fracture easy I don't think so? Should I be hiring a lawyer and contintue to flip out. My husband says we won't be able to prove it and I am just sad my son is going through this and is in pain. If anyone has heard of a toddler with a fractured rib please let me know how it happened. I dont know whether to think it happened while the dentist or assistants were holding him down while taking the xray or looking at his teeth? Or if it happened somehow and I didn't see it but I am always with my kids at home he has not hurt himself that I know of? I am really super stressed and am not sure do I just let it go that it might have happened at the dentist office. I am never going to a dentist again where my child goes back without me.
3 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
No Fractured rib thank god. The doc said the bruising is consistent with someone holding him there. So we are going to look into getting a lawyer! But he is happy and in a great mood and playing normally so we are very glad he is okay and no fractures. I am still upset though.
C.D. answers from Washington DC on September 11, 2008
I hope your fears are not justified and there is an explaination other than a broken rib. I agree that I would want to be with my child when he or she were in the dentist chair. Good luck with the Xray. I think wait for the results and then talk to the pediatrian about possible causes before making conclusions about what you should do. Meanwhile, if there are any bruises take photos.
T.C. answers from Norfolk on September 13, 2008
I would DEFINITELY look more into it. You should ALWAYS be able to be with your child during something like a dental or dr. appointment -- until your child is old enough to express all that goes on for himself, it is your job to be there. I know Kool Smiles is a place that does not allow you to be there with your child, so I would never use them. I just hope this doesn't make another dental appointment difficult for your son. I'm sure its more traumatic for you than for him, but I would look into doing something so maybe they change their procedures. It's your right to be there!
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M.M. answers from Washington DC on September 11, 2008
Hello - I just had to respond to your email. When my son, who is now almost 3, had to go to the dentist at 1 year old, I was a bit worried. We went to a pediatric dentist in Arlington - one highly recommended. It was a really bad experience. The dentist held him down so hard that he had an indentation on his forehead for over an hour - a really pronounced one that looked like it hurt. I was horrified and didn't want to say anything but if she had to use that much force holding him down, something was wrong. Needless to say, I have not taken him back to that dentist. We don't live in Ashburn, but drive out to Ashburn Children's Dentistry and have had great experiences.
C.D. answers from Norfolk on September 11, 2008
Whoa, there. Find out what you're dealing with first. I have worked with infants and toddlers and it doesn't take a lot to hold them still for procedures, certainly not enough pressure to crack a rib. When one of my kids was two, he fell down while playing outside, cried because he scratched his arm. I gave him a bath, a bandaid, and put him to bed; it wasn't until the next day when he was holding his arm funny(but said it didn't hurt) that I thought something else was wrong--he had a fracture in the upper bone of his arm. Long story to say that it's more common than you think for a toddler to break a bone, I wouldn't jump to a lawsuit conclusion, where else has he been, what else has he been doing, who else has he been with?
I went back with my kids if they or the dentist asked me because they did cut up more if I was sitting there watching. There are lots of peds dentists out there that will absolutely let you come back if you wish, and you should if you're worried.
K.H. answers from Dover on September 11, 2008
Oh my! I would never let my little ones...even my 6 year old go back at a dentist or doctor appointment without me. I am surprised that they allowed that even with him so young! I too, would be freaking out...but first things first, get your son into the docs to make sure all is well. Focus on that first before worrying about what to do with anything else. Is this the 3 year old? If so, have you asked him about the appointment...and if they tried holding him down of if he got hurt wile with the dentist? After you get yourself to calm down, and get him the medical attention he needs, sit down with your son and ask him things to see if you can figure out when he got hurt...ask if he was hurting before the dentist...things like that. Then if it seems still like it had something to do with the dentist appointment, speak to a lawyer to see if there is anything that can be done. Hope your son feels better soon!
S.M. answers from Washington DC on September 11, 2008
You don't yet know what the problem is so don't lead yourself to a conclusion that will cause you stress. Wait until you know and then take steps. I don't know about your little one - but if I just ask my 3 yr old son in a non-emotional way what happened in a situation I can usually figure out what happened. If you ask and keep from leading him with the way you put the question you may get to the truth quicker. Just ask how he got the booboo on his side. Don't give him options of HOW it may have happened just let him lead you there. And I agree with your thoughts - don't let him go back into a dental office or Dr without you. I won't go to a dentist that won't allow me to be there to comfort my child. Dentists are stressful for kids. I'm his main source of comfort - how can a dental tech even fathom a parent not being there for a child. Besides - what is acceptable to them in the care of my child can be vastly different from what is acceptable to me. I will be there to monitor that. Have you considerred a spider bite - those can take a couple days to manifest too and can look red and "cysty" I hope you figure it out! S.
J.D. answers from Roanoke on September 11, 2008
wait to see what the x-ray shows before you go too crazy. it sounds like it may have just popped out of place verses being broken. one can dis-place a rib by coughing too much and too hard... place your energies on your son for the moment.
L.R. answers from Washington DC on September 11, 2008
First, wait to see IF this is even a fracture. It may not be a fracture at all. If it is, it may have occurred even before the dentist visit--he could have had a hairline fracture from almost anything (bumping against a table at home, falling at home or on the playground, anything) that was exacerbated by...anything. Even getting in or out of the car seat or struggling against the straps of the car seat. Or, yes, it truly could have been something at the dentist's. But to assume right away that the the dental hygenist held him down like a wrestler is really jumping to conclusions, unless you have seen or overheard that that seems to be going on with your kid or others there. Little kids DO get breaks. My daughter cracked her clavicle when she was two and a half by falling off a bench at the swimming pool onto the changing room floor; there was never even a bandage much less a cast because with small kids that's often not done. If you're still uncomfortable with the dentist then do follow your gut instinct and change, but unless there is bruising or other evidence that your son was actually hurt or held down roughly, or unless he's saying consistently that that happened, you can't necessarily assume it happened there. If you know other parents who use this dentist you could ask if they leave their kids, if they feel the staff are rough, etc. As for leaving kids alone with the dentist -- I think three is too young for them to ask that, though my daughter at seven does now go back there alone because if I am there, she is "showing off" for me and acting up more than if she goes back alone with the hygenist (whom she's seen all her life and whom I've also used for 20 years, so they're not exactly strangers). So the rules on "never going back there alone" can change depending on the child and the circumstances and especially the age. Good luck and focus more on your son's actual condition and comfort than on pursuing the dentist at this point unless you really get some more information.