Air Force veteran has something to smile about

Something to smile about
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 6:42 AM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - It’s a special day at Upstate Oral Surgery & Dental Implants.

Dr. Logan Curtis is ready to announce the winner of the Second Chance program.

“We’re going to redo someone’s entire oral health for them,” he said. “We started doing this in 2019, so this will be our fourth year.”

Every holiday season, the team chooses one lucky community member who needs serious help with their smile. This year, the choice was easy.

“Our winner this year: Ed!” Come on up! Congratulations.”

Edward Neville is an Air Force veteran. He’ll be getting a full bridge implant for free.

“It’s a $55-60,000 procedure,” Curtis said. “This time of year, we just want to give back and we thought this would be an awesome thing to do. When they wake up from surgery and it’s been six hours and we say go ahead and smile and they look in the mirror, it’s totally worth it. It’s the best feeling.”

“I’m rather shocked and in awe and grateful for what happened,” Neville said. “Still floored and waking up.”

Neville was in a car accident that knocked out several of his teeth. He also lost a son to a car accident. His dental health declined, and he currently has to wear partial implants to help him eat.

“I’ve had a few struggles in my life, especially in my latter years,” he said. “And I thought, ‘boy, I need something good to happen. I’d really like to have something good happen.’ I think it would give me more confidence and make me feel more like the old me that had full, natural teeth. I think that it would enhance my ability to eat and be more comfortable around other people. I wouldn’t have to shy away and think ‘oh, what if they see partials in my mouth?’ I think it’s just going to make me overall feel just wonderful to have that look and that feeling and that confidence in my life. It would just be a new me.”

The entire process will take about a year. That means, by next Christmas, Neville will have his new smile.

“I am floored,” he said, “elated about winning this contest, this Second Chance program. And I’m just grateful.”