“I’ve been hiding something my whole entire life,” says Tyrica, “and it’s really starting to get to me now.” Her secret? She still has her baby teeth. Can The Doctors give her something to smile about?
Tyrica wears a snap-on appliance to hide her upper teeth. She explains that her baby teeth seemed normal until she was around nine or ten, when it became obvious that were never going to fall out and be replaced by adult ones. Now she has many cavities and a gum infection – “every time I brush my teeth, they bleed.” She has an abscess under one tooth, and all of them are sensitive.
“The dentists say that I should just pull them all out and get veneers,” she says, “but it’s very expensive.” As a single mother of three with a post-office job, she can’t afford it.
Her friend Pat wrote to The Doctors on her behalf. “Besides the fact that I’m Travis Stork’s biggest fan, I just wanted to see if they could help her,” Pat explains. “I know that The Doctors show changes lives every day!”
“I would just like to reach out to people, because I know I’m not the only one without a perfect smile,” Tyrica says. “Luckily you’re here today,” ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork tells her, “Because if you don’t get the right diagnosis, you can’t get the right treatment.”
Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Joseph Goodman tells The Doctors, “She has a very complex case.” Tyrica has an overgrowth of gum, known as gingival hyperplasia, as well as an enamel defect that makes her teeth brittle and sensitive. “It’s almost like a developmental problem. In general, when the mother is pregnant, if she takes certain medications, or alcohol, or chemicals she’s exposed to can make this happen,” he explains.
However, Dr. Goodman thinks he can help. Although other dentists have suggested pulling all of Tyrica’s teeth, he says “You’re too young to do that. A denture, no matter how good, is never a perfect fix.” Instead, he suggests treatment by a periodontist for her gum problems; an endodontist for several root canals; and finally a cosmetic dentist. “Every single tooth needs attention,” he concludes. “There is a fix, but it will be a very complex fix.”
Fortunately, Dr. Goodman has lined up a team of experts for Tyrica. “I like to call it the dream team,” he says. He and the other specialists will perform all the work Tyrica needs to restore her teeth and gums – for free!
“This is way beyond a smile makeover,” he adds. “We’re doing a life makeover!”
“You’re going to have to do one thing, though,” Dr. Stork tells Tyrica. “You’re going to have to learn to stop hiding your beautiful smile!”