DLN Success Story — NC Patient Finds Smile Amidst Health Battle

Traye is a pleasant gentleman from North Carolina. Over the years, Traye has had more than his share of health problems, including several cancer diagnoses that are now thankfully in remission, as well as acute gout. He’s on various medications to treat these issues but still remains positive.

Unfortunately, Traye’s oral health had also begun to decline due to the many years of chemotherapy and radiation. The extensive treatment left his enamel clear and broken down, and his teeth became very brittle. In the past year, eating became a painstaking task and two of his teeth had broken off at the gum line. Foods that required a lot of chewing had become impossible to eat and Traye’s best option was to subsist mostly on nutritional meal replacement drinks. Having been recently diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, he needed to address his dental care in order to take in the nutrition necessary to push through yet another battle with cancer.

While Traye does receive a Social Security Disability benefit and has Medicare, his monthly income was only enough to cover his regular expenses, and little to nothing was left for the major treatment he would need. “For me, it was a lifesaver. Especially with my situation with the cancer. I needed to keep my appetite up because I was doing so much chemo and radiation and I didn’t have any teeth to do that. So I was under a lot of pressure. When I heard back from DDS the pressure was gone,” Traye said.

Traye heard about DLN’s Donated Dental Services (DDS) program through the American Cancer Society. He was very relieved to be accepted into the program and get treatment.

DLN • North Carolina connected Traye with volunteer dentist Dr. Michael Bellamy, who recommended that Traye have his teeth extracted and receive full upper and lower dentures. Dr. Bellamy extracted teeth from the top and bottom of Traye’s mouth over a few weeks to allow time to heal, then fitted him with a full set of dentures generously fabricated by Choice Dental Lab.

Thanks to these volunteers, Traye is not only able to eat and smile with ease, he was able to improve his overall health amidst a very difficult time.

“It has made a big impact. I didn’t smile for a long time and I missed it. It was time to get it back.” — Traye

“DDS gives me another opportunity to give back to my community. Service to others is our calling as dental professionals and as human beings.” — Dr. Bellamy

DLN • North Carolina served 108 patients with over $500,000 of donated care. To see more about how generous dentists and labs helped those in need, check out the state annual report!