(WSVN) - Because of chronic infections and decay, a South Florida woman avoided smiling at all costs. That is, until a team of dental specialists offered to change her life. Now she has something to smile about. 7’s Kevin Ozebek has our special report.
To say that Sade Gurley is afraid of the dentist is an understatement.
Sade Gurley: “It’s a scary feeling. Just to be in that chair is nerve-wracking.”
Even with chronic gum infections, she avoided appointments. By the time she was 22, Sade had lost her front teeth.
Sade Gurley: “After that, it was like a ripple. I just started losing more and more of them.”
But her teeth weren’t all that she lost.
Sade Gurley: “I actually lost my self-esteem, my confidence, so I was like, ‘I have to do something about it.'”
That’s when she met Drs. Yenile Pinto and Kroum Dimitrov.
Dr. Kroum Dimitrov: “She was very emotional when we met, and the first thing that she brought to my attention was her dental phobia.”
They knew she needed help, so they offered to use cutting-edge technology to give Sade a new smile.
Dr. Kroum Dimitrov: “This will be the first robotically-assisted full jaw reconstruction in our area. It will be digitally driven, so we’re going to have the most advanced technology incorporated into this procedure.”
With guidance from the robot, Dr. Dimitrov will place titanium implants into her jawbone to hold her new teeth in place. Dr. Pinto is designing her new artificial teeth.
Sade Gurley: “I’m very overwhelmed with the process, but I’m excited.”
Fast forward a few weeks later, and it’s surgery day.
Dr. Kroum Dimitrov: “We’re going to start extraction of the upper teeth and cleaning of the infection of the jaws.”
Dr. Dimitrov pulls all of Sade’s teeth.
Then, he cleans out the infection from her gums.
Dr. Dimitrov: “We had to remove quite a bit of bone here, the anterior mandible.”
The team takes X-rays as they go.
Nurse: “It’s good. This one is good.”
The images are uploaded to the robot. It measures the correct location, angle and depth for each implant.
Dr. Yenile Pinto: “The more things you know beforehand, the less likely you’ll have complications.”
After the doctor drills the holes in Sade’s jawbone, the implants are placed. They will make stable anchors for the artificial teeth.
Dr. Yenile Pinto: “It’s going really well, actually.”
After five hours of surgery, all the implant work is done.
Now, Dr. Pinto takes over to place Sade’s new artificial teeth.
Dr. Yenile Pinto: “She’ll heal with this, and once those implants, those artificial roots are officially hers, we can modify this, make any changes that she wants for her smile.”
It takes seven hours for Dr. Pinto to painstakingly install the new teeth, but as soon as she’s done, Sade has a new smile.
Dr. Kroum Dimitrov: “Give me a good smile, big smile, beautiful!”
And Sade is healing well.
Sade Gurley: “I was like, ‘This is a whole different person. This is not the same person.'”
It took 12 hours to build this smile, but the two doctors are as happy as their patient.
Dr. Yenile Pinto: “This is a long day, but a big payoff at the end.”
The payoff for this type of surgery is huge, but it does also come with a hefty price tag. This procedure costs about $70,000, but for Sade, the doctors agreed to do it for free.
Dr. Kroum Dimitrov: “I could not do it without Dr. Pinto, so we both wrapped around our expenses, and we really, with open heart, connected with Ms. Sade.”
And Sade could not be more grateful.
Sade Gurley: “Being able to just smile with confidence means so much more to me now. Now, I’m going to be the person who is talking with her teeth.”
With her new smile, she’s regained her self-esteem, and after meeting these two, she has lost her fear of the dentist.
The doctors say it will take three to six months for Sade’s gums to heal. Then, she will get her permanent set of new teeth.
Dr. Kroum Dimitrov
Dr. Yenile Pinto
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