Recovering from dental trauma, Bluefish team member expresses gratitude

One of our wonderful front office team members, Shelby, recently experienced a terrible accident that resulted in serious dental trauma. Now healing and back at work, Shelby wanted to express her gratitude to the dental professionals who came to her aid and helped to keep her smile beautiful: Dr. Cate, Dr. Todd Schock, Dr. Julie Panchera and Dr. Daniel Bitner. Below is an open letter of thanks from Shelby.

I want to thank Dr. Cate for being my angel! She is amazing and I owe my beautiful smile and my real teeth to her. My trauma story started last Friday on February 12th. I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and tripped over our dog, Willy, a large golden retriever. I ended up face planting into a weight bench bar. My teeth and jaw were injured, I had two teeth avulsed completely and all my other front upper and bottom teeth were only hanging on due to my braces. I also broke my upper and lower facial alveolar ridge.

My fiancé, Marty, ran me to the emergency room at about 1 a.m., and they had no idea what to do. They did not have an oral surgeon on staff and wanted to send me to Portland. Marty had been on the phone with our office manager, Jill, who picked up on the first try. We woke Dr. Cate up around 4 a.m., and she was amazing. She said to meet at our Bluefish Bend office as soon as I was released from the ER.

I met her at our office and she immediately started to work on my teeth. If it wasn’t for her I probably wouldn’t have any front lower or upper teeth left. She had an extra assistant come in so they could work on me and take care of the other patients scheduled that day also. It was a time sensitive matter to get my teeth re-positioned and back into my mouth. A lot of my teeth were really loose so it was hard for Dr. Cate and dental assistant Crystal to take out my old wire and put in a new wire to hold my teeth in place. They did it though, and were so calm during the whole process. I never felt their nervousness or panic through the whole four hours they were working on me.

In the meantime, Dr. Cate had called Dr. Todd Schock, an oral surgeon who she wanted me to also see. He was amazing and accommodated my emergency trauma right away. Within two hours Dr. Cate and I were sitting in his waiting room waiting to be seen. His staff was so nice and welcoming. Dr. Cate and Dr. Schock then worked on me together for another four hours, using wires to fix my facial alveolar ridge (my upper facial pallet jaw bone). They were both amazing and did such incredible work.

I was off work for 10 days while healing at home. It was a painful process, but Dr. Cate called me almost everyday to check on me. Also I want to thank Dr. Julie Panchera who helped and worked with Dr. Cate on my orthodontics. She met me after hours on two occasions to work on me. She and Dr. Cate have been working together to make sure they get my teeth straight and my smile as beautiful as ever. She has been researching and helping Dr. Cate on our plan of action moving forward. She had to change my wire fast due to the trauma and not being able to move my teeth once they healed due to the fractures.

My first day back at work was this past Monday. I went to go see Dr. Bitner with Cascade Endodontics, and he was so calm and really nice, as was his staff. They all treated me so well, and I am forever grateful to him for completing two root canals on the teeth that were knocked out to save them!

Today is almost 2 weeks after my accident, and I am so grateful to have all my teeth and to be on my way to recovery. My smile is almost back to normal even though my teeth are still sore. Somehow these three specialists made my teeth look almost like before. These three doctors are my miracle workers. I would recommend these dentists to anyone! If you could see what my mouth looked like right after the accident compared to now you would be shocked. I would attached the picture of my trauma but it is too graphic to share.

These three doctors will forever be in my heart for taking the time that day to work on me and giving me their all. I know my trauma was horrible but they never once made me feel doubt that they would do everything possible to fix me.

I also want to thank the whole Bluefish Dental & Orthodontics staff. They are seriously like my family and I will never forget all the support they gave me. I want to thank everyone who helped work on me and support me during this rough time from the bottom of my heart. The girls at work brought me a ton of liquid and soft food, magazines to read, sent texts supporting me and uplifting me in every way they can. I will never forget all these people as I look in the mirror everyday and am thankful I have my teeth and can still smile.


Shelby, Patient Account Specialist at Bluefish Dental & Orthodontics

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