after going through a few days of regret, anger and tears over bella’s recent experience at the dentist office, gia and i felt that we simply could not let the experience go, and have to share with whoever might listen. my sole motivation for sharing is that prospective clients of pediatric dentist Edward Dove of Fresno (and Chatsworth, Bakersfield, and Lancaster) might read this and simply pass on his services — so that no other child has to endure what my daughter did this week. please read this whole post.
bella was referred to dr. edward dove of fresno through her health insurance with kaiser. she took x-rays a few weeks ago, which according to the dentist, showed she needed fairly extensive dental work (several crowns and “baby” root canals). the dr recommended “oral conscious sedation,” which involves taking medicine that supposedly makes the child VERY drowsy and loopy — enough to where they “don’t care” that dental work is being done. we had this work done once before at USC school of dentistry, and they were fantastic, so although we asked many of the same questions, we felt like a dr. who “specializes in pediatric dentistry” and has done this for a long time should be the expert, and we followed his plan. in our conversations, dr. dove made me feel like a complete idiot for asking certain questions — as if he was an excellent dentist, this was completely routine, and the questions were virtually worthless to even ask.
we arrived at the 11 am appointment at least 30 minutes early, and bella was given her medicine around 10:45. we immediately noticed LOUD music from the back and wondered why in the world the dentist would play music like this (more on this below). it took a while for the medicine to seem to work, but bella began to be very drowsy and loopy. around 11:20, a big, burly nurse came in and virtually ripped bella from my arms — saying nothing to me. i began to follow her into the room, when dr. dove stepped in front of me, clearly wanting me to stop — i said, “i’m going in there to comfort my daughter and say goodbye to her.” dove said flatly, “what’s that going to help?” Then looked at my mom and said, “she’ll be right back” in a demeaning tone — as if i was a complete moron to want to comfort my daughter.
i followed them into the back room — aware that even though they use this medicine, that they need to restrain the child in case of sudden movements while doing the dental work. they placed bella on the table and strapped her in. bella seemed ok, so i told her i loved her, kissed her forehead, and left the room. again, we had done this at USC, and everything worked according to plan. only about 5 minutes later, my mom and i hear a distinct shrill from the back room. another scream… and MORE. bella was screaming as loud as she could — heard even above the loud music that is clearly designed to drown out any crying. my mom left the waiting room. i also left a few minutes later — only to still be able to hear her FROM OUTSIDE the building. the screaming continued off and on for the duration (about 30 min) of the procedure.
the nurses assured me “she was not in actual pain” because she was numb — but whatever the case, it was entirely clear that the medicine DID NOT do it’s job, and i now know that the dentist should have stopped IMMEDIATELY. but he pressed on. the nurses also assured me “they are almost done.” the screaming and yelling continued, and i know that i should have told them to finish whatever they were doing, and let me in.
when the job was complete, dr. dove comes into the waiting room. i don’t really even look at him and try to make it past — but again he stops me, and says, ”your daughter has quite the forceful personality.” — clearly in attempt to shed any responsibility from himself over what just happened.
when i got in the room, bella was completely drenched in urine and sweat. my daughter was so terrified that she had wet herself, and had been struggling so much that her upper shirt was drenched in sweat. i grabbed her and her heart was literally beating out of her chest. she, of course, was sobbing and crying, uncontrollably, having difficulty catching her breath, and her mouth still bleeding from the work. i took her to my car and had my mom sit with her while i went to get more gauze from the office. bella, thankfully, had began calming down, and started to fall asleep again. later that day, we noticed BRUISES on her shoulders — i am convinced they pinned bella down forcefully (i took pictures today, which show light bruises).
my only prayer during the whole thing was that the medicine would at least make her forget what had happened (something the dentist said was likely to happen… ”they forget it all anyway”). not wanting to remind her of what happened, i waited a day and a half to ask her if she remembered. unfortunately, she said, “yeah, they strapped me into that thing, and i was screaming a lot.” since tuesday, i’ve noticed a pronounced difference in the demeanor of my daughter — she’s fairly lethargic and sluggish when normally she is VERY happy and energetic. please pray for her.
unfortunately, bella is only one piece of what’s going on with dr. dove. i have recently been in contact with a man from bakersfield who had a similar experience last august, and has since been in contact with literally dozens, if not hundreds, of other parents from bakersfield, chatsworth, and lancaster with the same story. i am the first from fresno to be in contact with him. there was a lot of media attention with this doctor over these issues in bakersfield (google it if you want).
what’s more, i didn’t know until after that gia had called the office on monday to cancel — primarily, gia didn’t feel comfortable with having an 11 am appointment since we were required to have her fast. the office also made her feel like an idiot — instructing her that if we canceled, we wouldn’t get another appointment for 6 months while “your daughters teeth will get worse and worse.” we were guilted and almost coerced into going through with it (at all points along the way), fearing that something worse could happen should we NOT do it (this was the mantra given by the office at multiple points).
i am utterly shocked, appalled, and saddened that this man is practicing dentistry and basically torturing children. i am so sad for my daughter right now, and am 100% regretful that i didn’t do something to stop it. the most glaring problem, among the many, was that the doctor actually continued on with the procedure when bella CLEARLY was not properly sedated. they paid absolutely no regard to the well-being of my child, and made not attempt whatsoever to encourage comfort and peace (how about turning down the music, turning down the lights, and simply being caring for a 4 year old?).
my only hope at this point — other than my daughter returning to normal with no emotional (or even physical) problems resulting from this — is that other children and parents don’t have to go through this same thing. PLEASE spread the word regarding Dr. Edward Dove, who does pediatric dentistry in Lancaster, Bakersfield, Chatsworth, and Fresno. PLEASE point them to this website and post, and feel free to comment in this section if you have a similar story to mine regarding dr. dove in fresno.
thank you so much for reading this, and i would appreciate your prayers for my daughter.