Thank you for taking the time to read my cause. My name is Eben and I have lived in the South Coast area of Massachusetts my entire life. All of my life, my family and I have worked hard only to barely get by. In my family, like in many others, dentistry was viewed as a luxury and not in the budget. As a child, the importance of dental care was never a priority.
In my teenage years I began to learn not to smile. By the age of 19, cavities, gum infections and tooth pain became a constant occurrence. Working full time was not enough to address this issue. My wisdom teeth also began to impact that year. My ugly teeth felt like an outward representation of my inner confidence.
This has all led to major health concerns caused by reoccurring infections. Bad abbesses will spread past the mouth and into my jawline, up my face and into my sinuses. Then x-rays are needed, doctor visits and antibiotics, which becomes a grueling cycle when you are trying your best to save for wisdom teeth surgery.
It took me seven years to save the money for wisdom teeth and by that time those teeth had shattered adjacent teeth to pieces, while also sending stress cracks all the way to the front teeth.
One by one, teeth cracked into two and fell out without warning. My smile became harder to hide. I had to relearn how to chew and eat every time my bite changed and the loss of teeth has had a profound effect on my speech. These are the battles that come with tooth erosion.
Getting dentures or implants would mean so much to me as I would be able to smile proudly again. A smile has so many health benefits, it can ease stress, help to form new friendships and certainly helps with interviews while I try to further my career. For more than half of my life I have been hiding my smile, embarrassed or ashamed to present myself to the world.
"To change is to survive."
I know that hiding my smile is having a negative impact on my life and I feel that it is time to tackle this issue head on and overcome my fears. It is time for a change.
No more infections, no more problems trying to chew my food, time to get rid of my speech impediment. I plan on reading books out loud after my surgery in an attempt to overcome the changes that have taken place. The thought of conquering this brings me great joy.
I have been researching the best way to approach this for years now. Dental insurance barely covers prosthetic teeth and major surgeries. I did my due diligence consulting and comparing private dentists, and I have even reached out to periodontists to see if there was any chance they would do the work in exchange for using me as a poster child for their expertise.
Going to a dental school for the work that I need is the most feasible and practical choice that I have come up with. There aren't any in my area, but I was able to contact Boston University, Tufts Medical Center, and Harvard Dental Center, where I was finally able to secure an appointment. This is a cheaper, but more lengthy process since all of the work is done by students who must be supervised by professionals.
My student, Lindsey, at Harvard Dental, and others, have given me great care and are such nice people who are personally invested in my situation. It is a great, mutually beneficial process. I have been up to Boston over 15 times so far, of which my job will only cover 5 days of compensation. Not to mention the cost of gas and parking that are both taking a toll on my overall financial struggles.
As of right now, the plan for my teeth is to extract the entire upper row and replace them with a denture plate. Although this is the cheapest option and better than having missing teeth, it is not the best option for comfort or functionality when it comes to eating. The greatest option for me would be to have implants put in. This would require a bone graft transplant in order to build the foundation needed for multiple implants that would provide a support system in order to prevent future bone loss in my jaw.
The experts at Harvard have assured me that the implants are the healthiest long term option, albeit the most expensive. Though the school implants will be much cheaper than private work, I am still looking at an estimated $13,000 for the most basic implant option, which includes two metal screws inserted into my gums to support the denture.
Given my young age and the fact I'll be using these prosthesis for such a long time. I met with one of the directors who urged for the 4 or 6 implant support system that would be estimated at $24,000 and ideally an 8 implant option that would cost upwards of $30,000.
How can you help?
By donating, you will be helping cover travel expenses, lost wages, extractions, filings (on the bottom teeth that are worth saving), the cost of custom dentures and hopefully, if this takes off, the cost of the healthiest and best long term option for me, the implants. You will also be helping me to gain the confidence that I have lost and allow me to get my smile back.
Spread the word
Thank you so much for reading my story and considering donating. I have so much of my life left to live, I want to enjoy it and be able to show my smile off to the world. It took a lot of courage for me to expose what I consider to be a weakness, and ask for help. It means so much just to have you reading these words, I can barely describe it.
I can use all of the help that I can get. Even just a little bit, makes a world of difference to me. If you have any questions, I would be more than willing to answer them. Don't hesitate, I have learned a lot along this journey.
I hope that at the very least, I can inspire others to help get their smile back.
To help get the word out, you can share the link to this page on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email or any other social media outlets.
No matter if you donate, help spread the word or just listened to my story, thank you from the bottom of my heart.