Treating Trauma

Boyuan Yu with his dentistsIt was a typical school day for Boyuan Yu, an active and curious 12-year-old boy. While he was playing with his friends in the playground, he fell and knocked-out two of his front teeth. Luckily his teachers were knowledgeable in dealing with this type of emergency, so they quickly submerged the dislodged teeth in milk so that the cells wouldn’t be destroyed.

Boyuan’s mother rushed him to the emergency room at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where dentists from the UCLA Dental Clinics, who are on-call for emergencies, were notified that they had a patient in need of their expertise. Dr. Chris Sung, a Hospital Dentistry Resident, and Dr. Eric Sung, Professor of Clinical Dentistry and Chair of the Section of Hospital Dentistry, were brought in to treat the adolescent. As it turned out, Dr. Eric Sung is fluent in Chinese and was able to translate what they needed to do to Boyuan’s anxious mother who was new to Los Angeles from China.

They started his treatment by implanting the teeth that had been knocked out. Once they completed this step, they bonded the teeth in place. For the first two weeks, Boyuan could only eat semi-solid food and had to pay close attention to how the implanted teeth responded to the surgery.

“For a boy who was so young, he did very well,” noted Dr. Sung. “He was clearly nervous and scared, but was also very curious with every step of what was happening to him.”

As sometimes happens with cases where teeth are knocked out, the teeth can die, nerves become damaged and sensitivity decreases. This was the case for one of Boyuan’s teeth; they had to perform a root canal, as the vitality of one of the teeth was completely lost. A root canal is a procedure where a badly decaying or infected tooth is repaired. During a root canal, the damaged nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed.

After several months of check-ups, the pain receded and Boyuan was back to his former self. To further enforce his two damaged teeth, his dentists built them up with composite material.

Boyuan’s mother was incredibly grateful for her son’s quick recovery and credits it to the skills and expertise of the dentists and specialists at the Hospital Dentistry Clinic from the UCLA Dental Clinics.