Alliance Endodontics

Dental Injuries and “knocked out” tooth

As an endodontist (root canal specialist), I get phone calls frequently from general dentists on how to manage dental injuries, mostly involving kids 8-15. When I talk about dental injuries, they range from a small “chip” (crown fracture) to “loose tooth” (luxation), to a complete “knocked out” (Avulsion).

The stories I hear:

“The kid was playing basketball and a friend’s elbow went in his mouth”

“A softball went at her…”

And I remember treating a 10 year old boy twice within one summer. His teeth were injured but weren’t “knocked out”, and he wasn’t having much discomfort (There’s something about kids, many of them don’t seem to experience as severe symptoms as those in adults. So if they had a dental injury, even if they are not complaining about pain, have them see a dentist).

First visit:

Boy: “I ran into a wall”

Me: “You gonna have to tell me how you managed to do that”

Boy: “I was running fast. Then I turned my head to see how close my friends were…”

As he was telling the story, he laughed, while his father and I looked at each other and I shook our heads.

Second visit:

“I dived into the pool”

Of course adults, like Tiger, can encounter dental injuries too. Besides the common reasons such as accidents, fights, fall (especially for elders who struggle with balance), I actually have seen a couple people had their front teeth injured when their babies lifted up their strong little heads and hit the parents in the mouths.

Saving a Knocked out tooth:

Managing dental injuries can be easy or complicated. Many times involving a team work of specialists, especially in the situation of a “knocked out” tooth. To save such a tooth, how it’s managed/stored, and whether it’s placed back in the socket within 30 minutes is essential. If it’s difficult to place the tooth back into the socket, it’s best to store it in either

  1. Save-a-Tooth (BETTER CHOICE, used by sport coaches, school nurses, dentists, emergency responders…)
  2. Cold milk

and RUSH to trained professionals. A lot of times you might need both dental and medical attention, depending on the seriousness of the injury.

If a traumatized tooth doesn’t do well after treatment and requires extraction, we have more options these days than ever before. Dental implants or bridge can be very good replacement options.

There are lots of great information on AAE (American Association of Endodontists) website.

THE BEST Love Story

(For privacy reasons, names and actual dates are disguised)

I’ve seen Edna, a petite, elderly lady, more than once for her dental needs. She speaks clearly, but her voice is a bit weak. One of her two children always accompanies her, especially because she seems to have some memory issues.

I was very impressed with Edna’s two grown children. I saw lots of love and respect from the way they interacted with their aging mother. Sadly and too often, I have met many disrespectful adult children.

I started a conversation with Edna when her son left to wait in the reception area. I complimented her on how well she raised her kids. Edna had a big smile and said: “My grandkids are the same way”.

She then started talking about her recently deceased husband. It was 1953, young Edna was working as a telephone operator. On January 3rd, her coworker asked her for a favor – to take over a call. Little did she know, the young soldier on the other end of the line, Johnny,would ask Edna for a date for that very evening. Edna and her co-worker went on a double date with Johnny and his friend. Long story short, Edna got married with Johnny after ONLY TWO WEEKS of dating, and her co-worker later married Johnny’s friend after a year.

My assistant and I thought that was such a cute love story. Little did I know, I was about to hear more from her son.

After the procedure, I reiterated some post-op information to her son Dave. I also said, “Your mom told me the story of how she and your father met!” What Dave shared next almost brought me to tears. Dave said: “You know what’s more amazing? Toward the end of dad’s life, he promised mom he would give her 60 years. And sure enough, dad passed away on January 3rd, 2013, exactly 60 years from that very fateful day.”

I consider this the best love story. Of course I don’t know how their 60 years went, but the legacy of Johnny’s commitment to his wife is apparent in his children and grandchildren.

Sometimes we find ourselves spending more time deciding, rather than doing. And, because of the choices available to us today, we often have a tendency to “wait… so I won’t miss a better one”. Les Brown once said: “You need to make a commitment, and once you make it, then life will give you some answers.”

THE best love story-dr pei kang alliance endodontics

The Missing Pieces in my Thanksgiving

I want to share a little bit of my personal journey today. I was reflecting on my attitude over the years and learned I have been grateful for the good stuff ONLY.

So what did I do with the stuff I didn’t like?  

1. I put them on a “WISH LIST”
I so wish I didn’t have an accent;
I so wish China wasn’t a poor country when I grew up;
I so wish I had a chance to exercise more business and leadership gifts;
And the list goes on….

2. Other stuff I didn’t like? I put them in a “Blame Box” – Like a boom box, it’s always on in my self-talk, and occasionally I turned it up loud to let people know about it
“How come YOU DIDN’T…”
“YOU are the reason why I have to…”
“My confidence was zapped because of these things that happened to me”
And I get creative on this list too….

Then I realized, besides the talents I ignored, like leadership and communication, I possess these gifts and opportunities BECAUSE of my background –
I have a unique perspective on things;
I have deep compassion for people, which helps me tremendously in life and business;
I know the two languages that the majority of the population speak 🙂
I have an understanding for the struggles of dentists’ and business owners;
And guess what, I can get creative on this list, as well…

THE HARVEST IS ALWAYS GREATER THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE.

Happy Thanksgiving! Let this be a day of gratitude, forgiveness and reconciliation.

The Missing Pieces in my Thanksgiving-dr pei kang alliance endodontics

What is Life without Miracles – a Therapy Dog Story

Having dogs has been an interesting journey. Eight years ago I declared not to keep the puppies after having them for a month. Now I love them like family. They were also “Registered Therapy Dogs”.

I would like to share one of the highlights of our therapy dog visits. We met “Preston” at a church respite care program (a “short break” provided for families with children with a developmental delay). The volunteers were so caring and everybody was having a great time. Preston, a 6-7 year old boy, spotted our dogs and started running toward them and making a high-pitched noise. Two volunteers ran after him to make sure he was OK. I was later told he has autism. When Preston reached Bubba and Jake, he was so excited. I started talking to Preston, but was kindly reminded that Preston could not talk. I found it odd to be silent so I started saying this to him: “his name is Bubba…”

To everybody’s surprise, Preston started saying “Bubba, Bubba… Bubba…”. My heart jumped! Then Preston started reaching for Bubba’s back. The volunteers were concerned he might hurt our dog because his movements were not coordinated, so they gently pulled him back. Preston was very persistent. After a while I said “it’s OK” as I watched closely to make sure he wouldn’t startle Bubba. I could not believe what I saw – Preston reached for the Bubba’s vest and slowly, with quite a bit of difficulty, zipped up an open zipper. He did not talk, but his heart spoke clearly “I love you Bubba and I really want to help you”.

I will never forget this experience, not just because our dogs had served as an opening to Preston’s heart and possibilities. I realized that there are people all around us who settle with limitations – for themselves and others. They mean well, and in the case of the volunteers, safety and order are priorities. However, my question is: who is to say we can not do this or that? How much have we accepted as is? If you don’t believe it in the spirit, it ain’t gonna happen in the natural. Most of us are familiar with this story – before 1954, the “authorities” said no man can run a mile in less than 4 minutes, so no one did. After being proven wrong by Bannister, thousands were able to do that! One of my favorite movies is “Saint Ralph”. In one of the scenes Father Hibbert said: “what is life without miracles? When was the last time you put yourself on the line?”

What is Life without Miracles – a Therapy Dog Story-dr pei kang alliance endodontics