When Melanie first appeared on The Doctors in January 2015, she explained that she had a rare genetic condition called ectodermal dysplasia, which affects the development of the hair, skin, nails, teeth and glands. Melanie also was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate.
As a result, Melanie has only three teeth and an abnormal passageway from her mouth to her nasal cavity, which makes it difficult for her to eat and drink. The Doctors sent her to cosmetic dentist Dr. Bill Dorfman for a consultation.
Melanie has used her unusual appearance to create a successful international modeling career and was hesitant to undergo a procedure that would alter her appearance. After seeing Dr. Dorfman and his associate, oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Steven Kupferman, Melanie decided to move forward with oral surgery.
On the day of the surgery, Dr. Dorfman explains that Dr. Kupferman will place three implants in her lower jaw to hold on to the lower dentures. He says that after examining her teeth, he found the existing upper three teeth are decayed and need to be extracted before she is fitted for removable upper dentures.
Melanie joins The Doctors onstage to reveal her new smile.
Melanie says she is adjusting to her new teeth.
“I am able to eat a lot better now,” she says, “and when I eat food and drink, they don’t go up my nose. Every day, it gets better.”
She says the beauty of the upper denture is that she can take it out or put it in whenever she wants.
“Now, when she smiles, she has teeth, so that’s a big deal,” Dr. Dorfman says. “But the teeth do more than just give her a pretty smile.”
He explains that the dentures support Melanie’s lower lip and help her chew her food, as well as help improve her speech.
Dr. Kupferman explains that when Melanie wears the upper denture, it closes the passageway between her mouth and nose, preventing food from ascending into her nasal cavity.
“By putting a denture in there, we were able to solve two things with one denture,” he says.