My Hero: Brave Leukemia Patient
A 14-year-old boy came to the office battling leukemia, having undergone bone marrow transplantation and chemotherapy, and now suffering from a life-threatening odontogenic abscess. His platelets, which normally help to stop bleeding, and his white blood cells, which fight infection, were both almost entirely diminished. We worked with his oncologist/nurse to retreat his maxillary first molar, because extracting the tooth was too dangerous due to the boy’s risk of bleeding. After four blood transfusion attempts, we were finally able to attempt retreatment. We found a missed canal (MB2) as well as high level of bacterial contamination in the boy’s tooth. Once we accessed his tooth, we had to medicate it in order to handle the draining infection. We coordinated with his nurse, he was transfused again, and we finished the case. The patient, his parents and his medical staff were all extremely grateful. This case was memorable because of the many substantial challenges that had to be overcome in order to protect a young boy’s life and health, and the opportunity to provide comfort for a person with a hero’s spirit.
Ending 20 Years of Fear, Pain & Suffering
A 48-year-old man came to us with gum infection in his lower jaw that drained pus through openings called sinus tracts. He had suffered from trauma in a car accident 20 years ago, and this infection had been coming and going throughout that entire 20-year period, requiring the patient to take antibiotics often. He did not want to see a dentist out of fear that his treatment might be painful. We started by completing root canals on tooth #24, 25, 26 which were not vital. However, the sinus tracts / drainage was still present. Our next step was to conduct root end surgery (apicoectomy), and remove the cystic tissue that had formed around the drainage. Our interventions were successful, and we kept the patient comfortable throughout the procedures. He was very happy that after 20 years of living with this infection, it healed fully. He was also thrilled that he didn’t experience any pain/discomfort after the root canal procedures, which had prevented him from seeking treatment in the first place. On our end, it was very rewarding to bring an end to fear and suffering that had impacted a patient for nearly half his life.
Teamwork At Its Best: Hemophilia Patient
An 8-year-old boy with hemophilia (factor IX deficiency), a disorder that prevents normal blood clotting, came for treatment due to a buildup of infection and pus in his gums (an odontogenic abscess). Due to the near certainty of severe bleeding in this boy, we collaborated with his medical team, and performed his treatment after they gave him a transfusion. Our hope was that the transfusion would provide some of the clotting factors that the boy did not have in his own blood, allowing him to heal after surgery without losing too much blood. The boy and his father were both very apprehensive, knowing the risks involved. However, we managed his treatment successfully in collaboration with the medical team. The boy’s pain from the facial swelling of his tooth infection went away, and he healed completely. His father and the patient were jubilant and relieved. They wrote a very nice letter expressing their thanks. It was incredibly rewarding for us to heal a patient with such a complex condition, and to return him to his family in good dental health.