My name is James Ray. I am a 24 year veteran of the USAF. I retired with the rank of Master Sergeant (E-7) and now live in Goose Creek, SC. Ever since I left the military in 1999 my teeth have been progressively worse. While I was on active duty I was told that I had periodontal disease and over time the disease would get worse.

      Since my retirement I have been losing teeth and almost all that I had left were causing me a lot of pain.

      My dentist, Dr. Brad Williams, recommended that I have my remaining teeth surgically removed which I did. About two weeks prior to the surgery he had dentures made and recommended that while my gums and underlying bone heal I should consider getting implants .

     The dentures cost me $836.00.  which I paid for over Aug., Sep., and Oct.  My insurance paid nothing for the dentures.

     The total cost of the surgery to remove my remaining teeth is $6,050.00. My dental insurance paid $1,294.00. and Dr Hehr wrote off $504.00. Leaving me to pay $4,252.00.

     Dr. Brad Williams gave me an estimate of how much four dental implants would cost. Including the dentures that I've already paid for, the total cost of four implants and associated procedures is $10,740.00. My insurance will pay $1,139.00. and subtracting the $836. I've paid for the dentures leaves me to pay $8'765.00.

      Dr. Williams said four implants in the bare minimum and that 4 for the uppers and 4 for the lowers would be much better.

     I have to wait until about April or May to get the implants to give my gums and bone below them time to heal. This wait will also give me time to raise the funds.

     I don't know yet how much 8 implants will cost but I suspect that it will be twice as much as four implants. I estimate it will be about $16,000.00. My wife and I are on a fixed income and even though I get military retirement and social security checks we are finding very difficult to afford all of this on top of everything else.

     If I could go back to work I surely would. Two years ago in February I had a stroke that left my right side mostly paralyzed. I can walk a little now thanks to therapy but still do not have any use in my right arm and hand. 

     For anyone who has dentures you know how uncomfortable they are to use not to mention that you still can't eat normally. Right know I can't eat with these things in my mouth because they are very ill fitting. I've been back to see Dr. Williams twice to have them adjusted and they're still not working out for me.

     Dr. Williams is having another set of dentures made for me but in the interim my wife smashes my food for me so that I can eat it without the dentures.

     Having the implants will allow me to eat food normally once again without having it mashed up first. 

James Ray, MSgt. USAF (Retired)
521 Flycatcher Dr.
Goose Creek, SC 29445-7341

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James Ray 
Goose Creek, SC
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