Going to the Dogs
Feb 28, 2010 07:43PM ● Published by Erin Frisch
Local Dentist Gives BackWorking with dogs, kids, and hospitals
Besides running a busy dental practice in Lebanon, Thomas Schell, DMD, donates his time and services to the community in many ways. He and a team of professionals have performed root canals and placed gold crowns on two different police dogs, both partners of Officer Jeremy Perkins. This highly expensive procedure was out of reach of the police department budget, but fortunately, area experts came together to form a professional team who donated their time and expertise to perform the necessary procedures. Read the story “Deissel Gets his Bite Back,” about the first dog to undergo the procedure.
About seven months later, Officer Perkins’s new partner Max suffered an injury to his teeth and was also given a new “bite,” saving his teeth and his job. Read Max’s story “Giving Back to their Community, One Tooth at a Time.”
Besides looking out for our canine friends, Dr. Schell also has donated mouthguards for sports teams in the town of Plainfield for several years. All the sports teams, including baseball, softball, basketball, girls’ lacrosse, and youth hockey teams have had protection for their teeth for several years, thanks to Dr. Schell. He provides the mouthguards and his staff donates the time to make them. The most recent clinic was held for soccer players.
“A custom-fit mouthguard is so much better in providing protection than a store-bought one,” says Dr. Schell. “Most people know that a mouthguard can protect the teeth, but they actually help prevent concussions as well. The jaws slamming together can cause concussive injury to the brain.”
Dr. Schell considers basketball to be perhaps the most dangerous sport for injuries to the face and head. “Everyone thinks of football or hockey as being dangerous for injuries, but helmets with face guards really help protect the head and mouth in those sports. Basketball is the worst sport for tooth injury—think of all the elbows flying.” Besides cracking or splitting teeth, concussive injuries can also occur in basketball when the lower jaw slams into the upper jaw. Baseball is a close second for being dangerous, according to Dr. Schell, because young athletes are standing in front of a hard ball that’s being thrown very fast.
As if all this is not enough giving and sharing, Dr. Schell has also provided training to emergency personnel at Dartmouth Hitchcock on how to save teeth. He has outfitted them with a kit with the necessary materials to replant a tooth, enabling doctors to save precious time, which can be the difference in saving teeth. “In sports and other injuries affecting the teeth, minutes matter. If the tooth can be replanted in the socket [without delay], it’s probably going to be OK.”