Thanks to ODA Foundation grant and Mercy Dental Services, Canton man receives extensive dental treatment for severe cavities, boney growths, and dentures.
The phrase, “enjoy the little things,” has become a popular adage in the United States. Yet, for many Americans like Canton’s Roy Jones, even the little things—such as chewing, smiling, singing, and getting a peaceful night’s rest—can seem unattainable.
Job loss, lack of dental insurance, and a long-time fear of dentists and needles kept 58-year-old Roy from seeking treatment for severe cavities and boney growths (called tori or exostosis) until he could no longer eat or sleep properly. After months of treatment, Roy recently received custom dentures and smiled without pain or embarrassment for the first time in years, thanks to an Ohio Dental Association (ODA) Foundation’s 2016 Access to Care grant and the perseverance of Shannon Oswald, DDS, a resident with the Mercy Medical Center General Practice Dental Residency Program. Mercy Dental Services has used the ODA Foundation grant to help 11 adults and children who, like Roy, met federal poverty guidelines and needed dental care.
“I was at Mercy visiting someone when I saw a sign for Mercy Dental Services,” says Roy. “My teeth were really in bad shape, and I had so many growths in my mouth that there wasn’t much room to move my tongue. I choked at night when I was trying to sleep. I couldn’t chew food. I didn’t even want to smile or sing because I felt so ashamed of my teeth.”
Despite fear and lack of income, Roy reached out to Mercy Dental Services and found financial help, as well as a compassionate provider in Dr. Oswald. She says, “When I first met Roy for his initial problem-focused exam, I didn’t even get a chance to introduce myself before he warned me about his ‘needle phobia.’”
Dr. Oswald quickly determined Roy’s teeth were not salvageable and removed two teeth during the first appointment. Roy praised Dr. Oswald for taking her time and making him feel comfortable. Because of Roy’s positive experience, he was scheduled for full-mouth extractions and eventually full-mouth bone smoothing (alveoloplasty) to remove tori so dentures would fit comfortably. According to Dr. Oswald, Roy had the most excess bone growth anyone in Mercy Dental Services had ever seen.
“I didn’t rush any part of Roy’s treatment,” Dr. Oswald says. “The way I walked Roy through an injection (and he endured a lot of them) is just how I get any patient through them—by distraction. After going through nine appointments with me, Roy handles his needle phobia much better now. But the best part is that I get to see Roy smile. It gives me the same emotion I felt on the day I graduated from dental school.”
When asked what he’d like to do first now that his treatment is complete, Roy says, “I want to sing again in church.”