A Utah woman faces a felony child abuse charge after police say she performed a dental procedure on her seven-year-old son in a Walmart bathroom.
Jeannine Degaston Isom allegedly entered a Walmart location in Cedar Hills, Utah, on Monday with her two sons, according to the Daily Herald. While in the store, she bought hand sanitizer and a pair of needle-nose pliers, the Associated Press reports, citing police records.
Isom then brought the younger child, who is 7, into the store’s bathroom and pulled his two upper front teeth with the pliers, police told ABC 4. She did so without any anesthetic, police say, and when asked why she did so, she told authorities the teeth were infected, per KSL.
The child’s older brother heard him screaming and crying, according to the Daily Herald, and entered the bathroom with a Walmart employee. The older brother took the child out of the store and away from Isom, police records say.
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The child was later taken to a dentist, who told police the teeth did not need to be pulled. The child had told his brother that only one of the teeth was loose, while the other was only slightly loose, per KSL. It is unclear whether the teeth were infected in any way.
However, police told ABC 4 that the teeth did come out in pieces, not all at once, indicating that their removal was medically unnecessary.
“When (Isom) proceeded to extract them, they didn't come out in one whole piece. There were multiple pieces. So that illustrates that they were still very attached to this child's mouth," a police spokesperson told the station.
The incident was “child abuse in its purest form,” the spokesperson said.
Court and jail records indicate that Isom has been arrested once before, on charges of disorderly conduct. She eventually took a plea in abeyance in the case, meaning she pleaded guilty or no contest but avoided sentencing by agreeing to certain conditions in the plea deal, per the Daily Herald. She has had no prior arrest for child abuse.
A study published in the scientific journal Oral & Implantology estimated that as roughly 50 percent of physical child abuse cases result in oral or facial trauma, including “dental fractures, dental dislocations (and) dental avulsions.” Child neglect often also results in poor oral health too, the study found, and as a result, the study’s authors recommended dental health professionals be on the lookout for child abuse cases.