Top Northern Virginia Oral Surgeon Donates a New Smile with Dental Implants this Christmas

Tuesday, December 25, 2018 Dental News
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Snehal Patel DDS, MD of Lorton Springfield Dental Implant & Oral Surgery delivers a new smile to a woman in need this Christmas, giving her a fresh new start in life.

LORTON, Va., Dec. 24, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Kimberly Latham wasn't a kid at the bus

stop; she was a parent. Still, the middle school girls whispered her way, then snickered, until finally her 13-year-old son mumbled, "Mom, will you just drive me to school today?"

It took a lifetime of bad luck and serious neglect to leave Latham a 31-year-old with no teeth, resigned to a life of shocked stares, soft foods and mangled speech.

Any pain was more bearable than the decades of decay that had emptied her jaws. She'd heard it all, even the shopper who asked if she was "retarded" when he couldn't understand her in the Fort Belvoir, Va., commissary where she stocks shelves.

But when her two boys were embarrassed, her make-the-best-of-it grit crumbled like another ruined molar. "They're so protective of me," she said.

Latham's tortured oral history began in Florida, where she grew up with no dad and crowded teeth. By the time she was 9, crooked canines made her "vampire girl" at school.

She got braces, but at 16 she landed in juvenile detention, where they pulled her wires for security reasons, leaving just the brackets. It would be three more years, some of them spent homeless, before she had those pried off by a dentist who insisted she sign a waiver releasing him from responsibility for the results. Most of her teeth cracked in the chair; some broke outright.

The 11 years of abscesses and infection that followed were the final undoing of her mouth. Her cheeks caved. Her speech sagged. She faced the cost of implants to the single mom with no high school diploma, no insurance and no money.

It was a long shot, but a local Northern Virginia oral surgeon, Snehal Patel, DDS, MD of Lorton Springfield Dental Implant & Oral Surgery, was offering a free oral rehabilitation charity via Project Smile, $60,000 worth, to a needy person who submitted a compelling essay. Latham made her submission.

Dr. Patel said it was her courage that blew him away.

Four days before Christmas, Dr. Patel installed 11 dental implants in her upper and lower jaws and then attached a complete set of permanent, custom-formed replacement teeth donated by a local lab, Tony Prestipino of Artifex Dental Lab of Alexandria, VA.

It took about seven hours to unwind half a lifetime of pain and shame. And now, Kimberly Latham is presenting, literally, a new face to the world.

She'll get that steak she's been dreaming of for years, face a camera without covering her mouth, enter a room with her head high.

"I'm going to walk into work grinning from ear to ear."

 

SOURCE Snehal Patel



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