LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — A Vietnam veteran is getting a new smile thanks to a local oral surgeon and dentist.
Over the past few decades, John Hamilton put smiles on children's faces while performing magic at various local school assemblies. This Marine veteran-turned-magician saw how a smile can light up a room.
"It's always nice to smile. It goes to the soul, you know?" said Hamilton.
But recently, Hamilton lost his front teeth because of grinding and clenching brought on by long-term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and nightmares. You won't see him smiling much these days because the 74-year-old tries to hide it.
With his teeth breaking off, not only was his confidence shattered, but he now can't properly chew his food, which also is causing digestive problems. He said he had put off the problem for years until he realized he needed to do something about it.
"You go through life trying to make a living and just put it off. I had this breakdown last year when I was eating some nuts and a partial feel out and then I looked in the mirror. Oh wow, it went to hell," he said. "I got weighed down. I said I don't know how I could even afford this."
Dr. Michel Daccache, D.D.S., an oral surgeon, showed News 3 the 3-D X-rays. He pointed to Hamilton's missing teeth, bone loss and decay.
"This wasn't even an option 10 to 15 years ago," said Dr. Daccache. "The teeth are going to get extracted and the dental implants are going to be placed, and we're going to put connections to screw the teeth in."
It's a 3-to-5 hour surgery - at no cost to Hamilton. Dr. Daccache and Dr. Rodolfo Barbosa D.M.D. are donating their time and services to make this happen.
"How are kids going to smile if he can't smile? So that's what we're going to do today. We're going to give him his smile back," said Dr. Daccache.