In his 31 years as a dentist, Dr. Russ Fitton had never experienced something so bizarre.
On Sunday, Megan Wiersma, a 37-year-old patient from Barrington, called Fitton with an emergency. The night before, Wiersma said, she broke her left front tooth when her 55-pound dog, Moses, yanked his leash out of her hands as she walked down the steps leading to her backyard, causing her to fall face-first.
"I could feel it right away," she said. "I was fearing the worst."
Fitton, who practices in Barrington, told Wiersma to find the tooth and bring it in if she could. Her search Sunday, however, came up empty-handed.
That's when Moses went from the goat of this story to its hero.
Later Sunday afternoon, after being let out in the backyard, Moses came back inside and dropped something at Wiersma's feet and gazed up at her. Sitting there was the missing 3-millimeter by 2-millimeter portion of her tooth.
Wiersma said she isn't surprised Moses found the chunk of tooth. But she is surprised he didn't eat it.
"He eats everything," she said.
Everything includes a wallet and a gift he got his mouth on, she said. He usually goes for things that smell like her or her husband, which is her only explanation for why Moses may not have eaten the tooth.
Fitton says he could have repaired the broken tooth without the missing portion, using a bonding resin in a stock color. But that's not ideal because matching the color of the resin with that of Wiersma's real tooth would've been difficult. Even if there was a match, Fitton said, different lighting may appear to change its color because of the optical properties of the material.
With the broken portion of Wiersma's tooth, Fitton was able to use a special cement to bond the whole tooth together, leaving a fine line that's barely noticeable and returning her smile to its natural state.
"It fit right back on there perfectly," he said. "It just blew me away."
Moses has always been a character, Wiersma said, adding that maybe she should introduce him to Fitton. Either way, she's learned to let go of the leash since she is not as strong as Moses.
"I guess he's got a hall pass on things he's eaten for a little while," she said.