LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Since the announcement in November he was the recipient of a new smile through the Smiles for Soldiers program at Hill & Ioppolo Oral and Facial Surgeons of Lubbock, Charles Martin has been eagerly awaiting the procedure. It finally came on Thursday.
Martin served in the Air Force from 1967 to 1974 but says there's one fight that has continued and that's fighting back smiles.
"I've got lots of cavities, teeth missing," Martin said. "I like to smile and it was my grandkids. One of them said, 'Why does Papa not smile? He needs to smile more because he's got a pretty smile.' But, my teeth were in bad shape."
Doctors at Hill & Ioppolo Oral and Facial Surgeons of Lubbock say Martin was selected because his medical and dental history would be compatible with a successful full-arch restoration.
"His entire mouth, all of his teeth will be replaced with dental implants in an affixed prosthesis," Dr. Robert Ioppolo said. "That will replace all of those teeth and is not removable and it's not a denture. It's something that's secured to the implants."
Ioppolo is also a veteran of the Army, serving for 13 years. He said there are similar cases like Martin's where previous dental work done while in the military doesn't get covered when out by the Veteran's Administration.
"They are discharged or separated from the military and if they don't have the proper follow up care, a lot of that work that was well done and well intentioned can start to break down and that is what we saw in Charles' case," Ioppolo said. "He had a lot of work done before that was very well done and serviceable but over time became something not restorable."
Ioppolo hopes this will be the first of many veterans served by the Smiles for Soldiers program to help raise awareness of the gap in medial coverage.
"I'm really glad they gave me a chance to have this smile and a big smile," Martin said.
For more information on this full-arch restoration surgery or to contact the office, click here.