• Lydia Chu

When my daughter got her teeth knocked out

Lat week I took my daughter, Hannah, to get her braces. It was recommended by her dentist who also happens to be my sister.

When both of my girls were younger, they both had great teeth, and we thought they weren't going to be needing braces when they got older. Unfortunately, when Hannah was in second grade, she went over the handle bar riding her bike one day and knocked out two of her permanent teeth. I was there riding in front of her when it happened but wasn't aware of the fall until I heard her scream. To this day, she has no idea how she fell, but she went down face first on the street near our house. I turned around to see her face down on the street blood pouring out of her mouth. When I kneeled down next to her, I saw two of her teeth on the ground totally intacted without any chips or cracks.

If you're a parent and had something terrible happen to your child, you'll understand the panic I was feeling at the time. Not knowing what to do, I picked up the teeth and put them in my pocket. (I was so glad I did). I knew I had to take her to the emergency room but since we were all on our bikes, I had to go home first to get my car. Honestly, I have no idea why I didn't think about calling 911, but I didn't.

Luckily, there was a lady walking by who saw what had happened. She came over and offered to stay with my daughter while I go get the car. While I was gone, couple of the neigborhood boys also came by to help. When they saw my daughter with the bloody face, one of the boys took off his shirt and gave it to her so she can use it to stop the bleeding. Since my house was very close by, I was able to return within a short time to take my daughter to the emergency room. All of the kind strangers stayed with my daughter until I got there.

Hannah in second grade before the accident

Since I live in a small town, the hospital was pretty close by. At the time, we had Kaiser for insurance so even though there was an emergency center closer by, I headed over to Kaiser thinking that's the only place I could go. Well, when I got to Kaiser which was about 15 minutes away (it felt like hours), I realized that they didn't have an emergency service at this particular location. I had to turn around and go to another facility where I should have gone in the first place. The nearest emergency center was actually 5 minutes away from where the accident took place. I found out later that most insurance companies will cover the cost for the emergency treatment even if it's done at a different treatment center. I wish I had known this because it would have made a big difference in the outcome of the recovery.

When we got to the hospital, the doctor asked me if I had the missing teeth. I pulled them out of my pocket and gave them to the doctor. He then cleaned the teeth and soaked them in milk for about half an hour before he was able to put the teeth back into the sockets. I was told that when you have your teeth knocked out like that, you have to put them back in right away, within 30 minutes, if possible. If not, they need to be kept moist by putting them in milk or putting them in your mouth next to your cheek so they don't dry out. Seriously? How can anybody think of that when you're in so much panic. Well, I didn't know this and nobody had ever told me.

By the time the doctors were able to put the teeth back into the sockets, an hour and a half had passed since the accident thanks to my unawareness of which emergency room to go to. Even though the doctors had done their best to put the teeth back in the sockets correctly, one of the teeth came out crooked and had been ever since. After a root canal and a year-long treatment, she was able to keep her teeth but the permanent damage had already been done. We were told that she will eventually have to have implants to replace the injured teeth.

My daughter still has all her teeth, but to have the best outcome for her future implants, she was advised to get braces. So, I took my daughter to the orthodontist and got her invisaligns. Well, my daughter was not thrilled with her braces and how they look. She was in tears when we left the doctor's office. She's going to have to wear them for two years.

I will never forget that day. Even after ten years, the memorie still haunts me. There's nothing more painful than watching your child get hurt and suffer in pain. I can't help wonder whether there was anything I could have done or done something differently. I feel guilty for not riding next to her and not knowing exactly what to do. Thirty minutes of time could have made a profound difference in successfully treating her injury. It was a scary moment for all of us, but thanks to the kind strangers and all the doctors who helped us, my daughter was able to keep her teeth, at least for now.



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