For the past several years, David Cowart of Georgia has found himself unable to smile as one of the results of chemotherapy, but through the work of a dentist in Texas, he’s smiling again.
Cowart, 38, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a form of cancer which starts in certain blood-forming cells in the bone marrow, on March 19, 2010. He began chemotherapy on March 21, 2010, which he must take daily.
He told Global News that during the treatment, he dropped weight because the only thing he could eat in treatment was chocolate.
“The chocolate is what ruined my teeth,” he said. “The dentists said my gums produce an acid with sugar and that’s what broke down my teeth.”
As his teeth eroded, he said he would use his upper lip to cover his mouth and said his upper lip also grew longer.
It got to the point where he said he wouldn’t leave the house.
A visit to dentist Kenny Wilstead came about after Cowart says he and his wife Kimberly saw on the news another person the dentist had helped. So she made an appointment.
What surprised them when they arrived was the fact Wilstead told them he would not have to get any teeth removed.
“The only affordable option was to just have them all pulled and to put in dentures,” Cowart said. “The big thing I want to get across is that every tooth they said were bad needed a root canal … None of my teeth needed root canals.”
In a Facebook post, Wilstead said Kimberly told him how some dentists would only offer to pull his teeth and recommend dentures.
“Umm no, I can fix that in about two hours and your kids will see their old dad again,” he wrote in the post.
Wilstead explained to the couple when they arrived that none of his teeth needed root canals and while some dentists interpreted black in his teeth to mean they were dead, that’s not always the case.
A procedure was done on his teeth leading to a reveal that prompts more than a few tears for his whole family in the room.
When he is handed a mirror, Cowart tears up before hugging Wilstead as his daughter Destiny, son David and Kimberly all express how “amazing” his teeth look.
Throughout much of the video, the 38-year-old father keeps checking out his teeth in the mirror.
“I just feel weird smiling,” he says in the video.
He added to Global News that he just feels “happy.”
“I can talk to my wife without having to sit here covering my mouth, I can go out, it’s just hard to explain. You have to cover your mouth for five years, you no longer having to hide just changes everything,” he said.
The first thing his daughter wanted to do after the procedure, he joked, was take a selfie with him.
Following the procedure, Cowart said the total cost was US$1,000, much less than what he says would normally cost about US$40,000, and added Wilstead would typically charge US$10,000.
With the new smile, Cowart also passed on advice, adding people should always get a second opinion.