Thursday, April 9, 2009

Playground: The Final Frontier

(left: I found this image and while it's not exactly what happened to Mikelle on the playground, it sure seems fitting to add it here)

Or maybe I should have named this entry, What Happens on the Playground Stays on the Playground...if you're a tooth! No, Mikelle didn't lose a baby tooth on the playground on Tuesday. She lost a permanent front tooth. And parts of her three other permanent front teeth.

So at work on Tuesday, around lunchtime, I get a call from Mikelle's school nurse informing me that Mikelle had a rock hit her, and has a fat lip, tooth gone, chipped teeth and swollen gums (or bruised - can't remember the exact words) and palette. She was in a lot of pain and was crying (understandably so!). I knew I had to leave and get her to the dentist right away. I don't know if they told me I had to pick her up or I just said I'd be leaving to come get her. It didn't matter. I left as soon as I could.

So I finagled a few things, dissapointed two teachers that had their classes scheduled for art later that day and took off. By the time I got up to Queen Creek to get her, she had calmed down considerably, but became upset again when I informed her we weren't going home - that we were going to the dentist. She must have had horror images in her mind of dentists such as Steve Martin in Little Shop of Horrors (and she hasn't even seen that movie!) torturing patients like some sadist psycho. She was afraid of more pain, getting her tooth pulled, and all kinds of scary things. I tried to let her know that most likely, he was just going to look at her teeth and figure out what further action to take. And sure enough, there was too much trauma to her gums for anything to commence that day. However, I'm getting ahead of myself.

So how did this happen, might you ask? Well, thankfully it wasn't malicious or done purposefully. The story we received is - her friend was trying to throw a rock into a tree and either Mikelle was mistaken for a tree, or her friend has bad aim. With third graders, who knows. The thought of Dick Cheney accidentally shooting his friend came to mind. Aiming for a bird and getting your friend instead! But unlike our former VP (and I'm so glad to say former) none of the third graders had been drinking!

It wasn't until we were in the dentist's office waiting room that Mikelle told me how big the rock was. It was BIG. It was about the size of maybe a pint. To put it another way, imagine a soda can and then fatten it up. THAT is the size of the rock that put Mikelle into the dentist's chair.

My dentist (whom I've been going to for about 14 years) was pretty angry that this happened to her. He said, "I don't mean to be blunt, but what action is being done regarding this?" He was referring to the thrower of the said rock. I said, "Well, she did get a warning from the principal. And it wasn't malicious." The look on his face told me that he thought I didn't care enough. Well, I did. But first, I wanted to get a diagnoses and "road map" of where to go with Mikelle's dental work. Also, I knew Chris and I were going to communicate with the friend's parents, but that wasn't going to happen until later that evening. Therefore, if I seemed complacent, it was because I was putting that element of it out of my mind until talking further with Chris and going from there. I was in a "first things first" mode.

I figured we wouldn't have to call the other girl's parents, because they were already informed from the school. Later, when we arrived home, there was a message on my cell from the girl's father.

Since I left work early that day and took Mikelle to the dentist (and then Dairy Queen afterwards) I turned the task of returning the phone call to the girl's parents over to Chris. He said in talking with the friend's father, they were both (the parents) very apologetic and apparently, their daughter and rock throwing had been an issue before. Unfortunately, it would probably take something like this happening to get the message acrossed to her. They even wanted to know how much out of pocket the dental procedures were going to run. We told them we weren't sure yet, but would be in touch. There is some out of pocket cost and a possible deductible that has to be met. But that appt is still a couple of weeks out.

Therefore, in a few weeks, Mikelle will receive some cosmetic work to the main big front tooth that was mostly knocked out and left somewhere on the playground. Just some tooth remains close to the gum. The three other chipped ones still have some growth and only one of those three may be dealt with now and then the other two are on a "wait and see" status.

So here are some pictures I took of Mikelle's teeth (sorry for the one psycho pic - Mikelle is a goofball with the camera). You can see the top left tooth was almost all knocked out except for the area close to her gums. And you can't tell from the pictures so much (well, you can from the psycho second pic), but part of the other top front tooth is chipped (the corner). And the two bottom front teeth have chips out of them as well.

And on the note of Mikelle's personality, this picture (taken last Sat 4/4) illustrates a good "before" pic with her teeth. You might h
ave to click on the image to get a more accurate depiction of her teeth beforehand.

So there you have it. The latest in life when you have children and the risks you take when you have children. :-)


  1. Oh Jill! Don't we wonder sometimes how our kids even make thru childhoon without losing all their teeth and breaking all their limbs. I hope this is the last of your dental adventures. Sigh! BUT aren't we grateful for the miracles of cosmetic dentistry!!! Lucky thing she isn't living in Guatemala! :-(

  2. Oh no! Poor Mikelle! And poor Mikelle's teeth...that didn't even have a chance to grow in all the way before they were forever destroyed.

    I'm glad the other family is being gracious about it and offering to help out. That makes things feel better, even though you still have the entire ordeal.

    When I was in 3rd or 4th grade, my friend fell on her face in PE and broke her top front teeth. I have always been terrified that something like that would happen to my kids because I remember that experience so vividly and it wasn't even me!

  3. Oh girlie!! I would be one mad momma!! I hope these parents take FULL responsibility for this. I hate to say it, but they have altered her front tooth for life. I'd get something in writing from them that says they are going to cover and current and future costs of any treatment she may need.

    It could have been worse, that's for sure, so I'm glas M is ok.

    Have a good Easter!!

  4. Ouch! Poor thing! Amazing that she was able to go eat at Dairy Queen afterward! I hope she's not traumatized by dentists after this is all over!

    She looks like a pretty good sport about it all, though!