John Koch's New Smile

John Koch is my brother. He joined our family when he was nine years old when my parents decided to adopt an older child.  To say that John had a difficult childhood is an understatement. He was a victim of abuse and neglect. When he joined our family John had lived in nine foster homes (!) and had even been adopted but that family had a baby and decided to let him go.  Needless to say, he had some issues.  Over time, though, he became the wonderful person he is today.

John graduated from high school,  but did not make it to college. He spent his twenties and early thirties working as a mover, hauling heavy items from place to place. John has worked constantly since he was eighteen, but he has never managed to quite get ahead. Two years ago, John went to trucking school and became a long haul trucker.  I've learned a lot about the trucking industry, and one of the things I've learned is that new truckers don't make very much money. They have to stick with it for two or three years, barely making ends meet,  to get with a company that will let you succeed. John has finally gotten on with subsidiary of FedEx and he's looking forward to a brighter future.

Except for his teeth. As John puts it, "I'm not exactly sure when the problems with my teeth started, but they started to get worse after 30. No matter how much I tried brushing and flossing my teeth they kept falling apart."  Earlier this summer, John went to the local dentist that would accept his Medicare insurance, expecting to two or three rotten teeth removed. When he woke up from the anesthetic, they had taken all of his teeth. They determined that the remaining teeth were infected and not worth saving.  

John has no teeth now.  The dentist who pulled his teeth said that he would need mutliple mouth surgeries to reshape his palate before he would be eligible for dentures.  This is not possible when you are on the road, driving a truck; you just can't be running to various appointments.   Also this procedure is  expensive, and very painful.

John has done a great deal of research and found that implants will let him replace his teeth and return to having a normal smile.  But implants cost around $35,000.  The oral surgeon in Grand Rapids Michigan who will do the implants needs a $6,000 deposit. After that, John can pay off the rest with a payment plan.  But John needs help raising the initial $6,000.  Making the payments will be a struggle, but he is willing to take that on if he can get help getting started with the procedure.

When we were talking about his situation, John wrote to me saying: "My new job requires me to be around many people and I am constantly feeling uncomfortable, self conscious, and ashamed of the way I look. I would love to be able to have teeth that are permanent. I was told that it was possible that this was hereditary being as my birth mother experienced the same fate. I work as hard as I can every day and I always feel as though I can never get ahead in life. I understand that many people have much greater needs than myself, but I would be very grateful for any support I can have."


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Devon Worgess Brenner 
Jerome, MI
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