Restoring a Hero's Smile

 

It may surprise many of our patients that Dr. Rogers has a strong ‘Military’ connection. Following graduation from dental school, he served 3 years active duty as a dentist for the U.S. Navy. He shared this call to serve with his father, a veteran of WWII, and an older brother who flew combat aircraft in Vietnam. Although Dr. Rogers is no longer a member of the U.S. military, he continues to look for opportunities to support our troops.

Mike Boucher, of Bogart, Georgia, is a U. S. Marine and a Wounded Warrior. He also felt the call to serve his country. Without his parents’ knowledge, Mike enlisted into the U.S. Marines early in 2008. When he told his parents that he had signed up to become a Marine, they were not happy initially, but soon their support for their son’s choice grew. Mike went to boot camp in December of 2008. Mike deployed for the first time to Afghanistan only a year later. He remained there for eighteen months and returned to the United States in July 2010. After only being home for less than a year, Mike deployed yet again to Afghanistan from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in direct support of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines Bravo Company 1st platoon. He left in March of 2011.

On June 12, 2011, three months into second deployment, Mike was returning from night patrol when he and other members of his platoon heard an explosion. Even though they had just returned to their barracks, they quickly went back out to see what happened. They were met with a horrifying reality of war; comrades had been hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Mike immediately went into “auto-pilot” and began helping the injured. While assisting his fellow soldiers, Mike was struck by an IED and lost both of his legs. Upon injury, he was flown by helicopter to Bastion Hospital on Leatherneck in Afghanistan and then to Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan. After that, he was taken to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and finally transported to Walter Reed National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda. He has been receiving physical therapy and rehab there since arriving on June 19, 2011.

In order to deliver the highest quality dentistry available today, Dr. Rogers has developed a team of professionals. The dental laboratory is a key member of this team. They make all the dental restorations that Dr. Rogers bonds to the teeth. It is a crucial element in the pledge to deliver the very best dentistry. Nucraft Dental Arts has been the one lab he has relied on to consistently perform for him, and his patients, over the last 20 years. The owner and master Certified Dental Technician, Terry Fohey, is the man with the vision.

Terry first heard of Mike Boucher’s story from a friend at his church. Mike had plans to move back home and the house needed modifications to make it accessible with his new injuries. Terry’s friend knew of a group of volunteers who needed help getting the house remodeled in time for Mike’s return. Terry has always been known as a 'Get It Done' kind-of-guy so, when asked, he agreed to help without hesitation.

The first time Terry met Mike was at a homecoming ceremony held at Mike’s old high school in late fall of 2011. Terry had volunteered to cook for the large group who had come to support their local hero. Mike had made a promise to himself that he would not return home until he was able to stand and walk again with his new prosthetic legs. What Terry remembers about that day is how Mike stood unwavering, sweat running down his forehead from the pain, yet meeting each person who wanted to greet him. Terry was so touched by the proud Marine’s story that he wanted to do more for him.

He visited Mike at Walter Reed National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda (WRNNMC) several months later, and the two began what may seem like an unlikely friendship. As he got to know Mike better, Terry asked him why he never smiled. Mike’s reply was that he “hated his teeth.” Mike was not unable to get braces or other dental work while he was a child. Even as an adult, he was embarrassed by the gaps in his front teeth. It was an “aha” moment for Terry as he knew that he had the resources to help Mike smile again. And so, along with the help of Dr. Rogers, the two old friends came together in an effort to give Mike a new smile. Dr. Rogers would prepare Mike’s teeth for the veneers, Terry would fabricate them in his lab, and Dr. Rogers would then bond them into place. Both Terry and Dr. Rogers felt a responsibility to give back to this young man who had sacrificed so much for his country.

Veneers are an esthetic alternative to correcting a smile while preserving the natural tooth structure. This means that healthy teeth are not ‘cut down’, as is often necessary with decayed and broken teeth that require ‘caps’ or crowns. When patients request the ‘Hollywood Smile’, dental veneers are often what they have seen that makes them want this highly esthetic result.

In dentistry, a Veneer is a thin layer of porcelain material placed over a tooth surface, either to improve the esthetics of a tooth, or to protect a damaged tooth surface. Following minimal preparation of the teeth by a dentist trained in cosmetic dentistry, the porcelain veneer is designed from an impression of the newly shaped teeth. This impression is delivered to the dental laboratory and the veneers are fabricated by a highly trained ‘Master Certified Dental Technician’. The training necessary to not only prepare the teeth properly by the dentist, but also fabricated in the dental lab, is something that is seldom considered by the people receiving this care. Dental labs based in the U.S.A. will often have highly trained dental technicians and Dr. Rogers strongly believes all patients should know where their dentistry is made. Once a high quality and esthetic veneer is fabricated, it is later ‘bonded’ to the tooth by the dentist. Dr. Rogers has had advanced training in these procedures which will ensure not only the best cosmetic result, but also maximize the ‘life-span’ of the veneers.

Mike Boucher was evaluated, by both Dr. Rogers and Terry Fohey, and it was determined that dental veneers would give him the smile he always wanted.

This is Mike’s smile before we began his treatment. You can see the ‘gaps’ in his front teeth that made him unwilling to smile in every day life events. What you can’t see, is Mike’s reluctance to smile for these photographs.

 

 

This is a picture of ‘minimal preparation’ of the teeth to receive high quality and esthetic dental Veneers. Minimal preparation means that only a surface amount of the overlying enamel is removed to accommodate the new surface of the teeth for placement of the veneers. Many of our patients have commented on T.V. commercials proclaiming the new advances in ‘No Prep’ Veneers….Lumineers ™. While ‘No Prep’ has its place in the optimal care of our patients, the use of this technique can often lead to ‘bulky’ teeth, poor esthetic color control, and below average life expectancy of the restorations.

These are the pictures of Mike’s ‘temporary’ veneers. These are placed at the initial appointment to serve as tooth replacement while the actual porcelain veneers arefabricated in the dental lab. The use of temporary veneers is one of the most important steps in this process. Their purpose is more than to give the patient something to cover their teeth while the actual veneers are made. These temporary veneers also give the patient the ability to see and feel what the final restorations will be like once bonded to the teeth. Equally important, they give a quality dental laboratory, like Nucraft Dental Arts, the ability to see and measure what the patient expects and also what is possible to deliver. This will allow the dentist and dental technician to meet esthetic expectations while providing maximum longevity of the restorations.

These are the pictures of Mike’s teeth following the bonding of his ‘Permanent’ Veneers. ‘Permanent’ in dentistry does not mean ‘forever’ as all restorations have a maximum life-expectancy. Depending upon the age of the patient, some restorations will likely never need to be replaced. In Mike’s case, being a very young man, we can expect his veneers to last 10-30 years before needing replacement. Porcelain veneers, like all dental restorations, last longer based upon the commitment by the patient for proper hygiene at home along with periodic (semi-annual) professional dental cleanings and examinations. The absence of harmful habits (grinding at day/night without proper protection), and the lack of trauma also play a big role in the longevity of dental restorations.

Mike is a happy man, given his obstacles in life, and is eager to open the next chapter in his life. I hope we have given him, along with the excellent care of Walter Reed National Naval Medical Center (WRNNMC) at Bethesda, a future he can enter into with all the energy and desire a young veteran can hope for. More than 30 surgeries later, Mike is planning his future with fiancé, Jordan Fain, who has supported him throughout his entire military career. Being an avid outdoorsman, he and two other friends from WRNNMC, have plans to start a company that takes ill and injured soldiers on hunting and fishing excursions. Check out www.amputeeoutdoors.com for more information.

After several years of avoiding 'the dentist', I was referred to Dr. Rogers by a dental hygienist who had worked in the industry for several years. Terrified, I scheduled my first appointment. I am happy to say that I've been with Dr. Rogers and his team for the past ten years and I have a happy, healthy smile to prove it. Dr. Rogers and his staff are truly committed to excellence in all they do and they truly care about their patients. See More
Susan E
My new-patient exam was a great experience. Dr. Rogers spent so much time getting to know me and my dental history. I have TMJ (difficulties) and just accepted that it was going to be something I have to deal with forever. Dr. Rogers is investigating possible solutions to help reduce or eliminate my symptoms. This was not just a checkup but a way to plan for my future health. I left feeling like I was really being cared for. It was a great experience. See More
Ruth B
Dr. Rogers and his team represent excellence in dentistry. The team has cared for my family for more than ten years. We feel quite assured that we are getting the best care. Dr. Rogers seems to make special effort to hand-pick his staff—I love them. All of them are genuinely caring and kind. They are such fun and they make every effort to accommodate our schedules and us. They demonstrate superior patient relations. I would enthusiastically recommend Dr. Rogers and his team to everyone! See More
Pamela C