Dennis, or “Denny” as his friends call him, lives in Iowa. A US Navy veteran serving from 1968-1972 he worked on an aircraft carrier on the flight deck during his time of service. Denny later moved into a photography role and was based in California.
For six years Denny battled stage four colon cancer, undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. After finally being placed in remission in 2015, Denny suffered a heart attack. After doctors placed a stent in his heart and during reviewing x-rays they noticed a spot on Denny’s right lung. The spot turned out to be cancerous, Denny underwent surgery to have half of his right lung removed. As of early 2016, he is cancer free and no longer undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
After chemotherapy and surgeries, Denny was left with ill-fitting dentures due to changing gum structure. He had a full upper denture with two teeth missing and a lower partial. He only had four lower remaining teeth and had not had a dental exam in many years.
In order to qualify for Veteran Administration dental benefits an individual must have a 100 percent service connected disability, have been a prisoner of war or have developed a dental condition during their service. Denny’s treatment was not covered.
Donated Dental Services (DDS) and a team of volunteers came to Denny’s rescue. Prosthodontist Dr. Michael Moffitt relined and repaired Denny’s upper denture and made a new cast metal partial lower denture. Des Moines Dental Prosthetics Lab donated the framework for a new lower partial. Mid Iowa Dental Arts Lab donated the reline for the upper denture as well as the lower partial.
The impact on Denny’s life has been tremendous, he now works part time as a care giver for a man with down-syndrome, helping with daily care needs. Also after his dental treatment was completed, he was inducted into the Iowa Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame with his band, Street Band.
“It has given me a whole lot of confidence in front of people. I have a picture of me singing on stage I would have been more self-conscious performing without new teeth,” Denny said.