05 December 2004


Yesterday, Polo forwarded an email to me supposedly from an American dentist who realized just how important brushing one's teeth could be.

The most miraculous event I witnessed showed how a tooth saved a sergeant's life!

Christmas Eve morning a soldier came into our clinic at the Ibn Sina Hospital in downtown Baghdad covered in his own blood. He recounted an incredible story. Early Christmas Eve morning, two squads were assigned to sweep and clear two adjacent homes where Iraq terrorists were holed-up.

The patient, SGT C, was leading one of those assault squads. The other squad hit their target first.

SGT C said that he heard a lot of small arms fire and yelling, so he thought he would round the corner and size up the situation before advancing his team. Unfortunately, as he turned the corner, he found himself staring directly into the barrel of a 9mm automatic pistol.

SGT C said he never had time to be scared, he just knew he was dead. The terrorist pulled the trigger and, miraculously, SGT C found himself still standing. He figured the bullet had missed. He advanced on the Iraqi, who immediately surrendered. After the enemy was rounded up, SGT C said he started to feel light headed and one of his soldiers insisted that he proceed to the hospital. He realized at this time that he had lost his front tooth in the gun fight. He figured the ballistic shock from the weapon's blast had knocked it loose. He was wrong.

When he presented early that morning Major Kimberly Perkins, our oral surgeon, took a panograph and discovered the incredible truth.


He was hit directly in the face. The bullet entered just below his nose where it impacted the apex of #8. The energy from the bullet was transferred to the tooth, literally ejecting the tooth from its socket, and stopping the bullet in its track. Other than the missing tooth, the majority of SGT C's injuries were confined to soft tissue.

SGT C is a citizen soldier --- a reservist. When he returns to the States, the Army will see he has an implant replacement for the missing #8.

Meanwhile, the prosthodontist in Baghdad, LTC Richard Druckman, made him an acrylic interim treatment partial. When SGT C came in for the prosthesis, I said "Can you imagine what the enemy thought when he shot you point blank in the face, and you just kept coming at him! AMERICANS ARE INVINCIBLE!!! No wonder he surrendered so fast!"

SGT C smiled and said, "This is why you should always brush your teeth!"

By AnnaLee Kruyer DDS
Las Vegas, NV

Now, that is one dental lesson we often neglect.

There may not be a war in our midst, but the importance of brushing one's teeth can not be overemphasized.

Brush your teeth after every meal, and replace your toothbrush every two weeks. You will surely appreciate the benefits later, and in a very odd, unexpected manner.

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