A Greely, Ont., man whose teeth had become so infected they had begun to disfigure his face had his first surgery Thursday with an Ottawa dentist, following a CBC Ottawa report.
Bryon Sampson had told the CBC's Simon Gardner that despite diligently brushing his teeth, the rot in his teeth had been getting worse.
Sampson works at a moving company in Metcalfe, Ont., but does not have a dental plan. He said he cannot afford the surgery because he earns $12.50 an hour and must send half of his pay to child support for two of his children.
Sampson said he considered quitting his job and going on social assistance to get basic dental coverage, but said he was concerned his problems were too severe to be covered by basic dental coverage.
'Hoping some dentist will have compassion'
His mother, Cynthia Pappin, said she feared her son might die without treatment.
"We've been warned that the infection could go into his blood system and could be fatal," said Pappin. "What am I supposed to do? I'm hoping some dentist will have compassion."
Viewer Vincent MacDonell saw the story CBC aired Wednesday on Sampson's plight and contacted a dental surgeon he does work with, Dr. Ben Fong, who operates a practice out of the Heron Gate Mall in Ottawa.
Fong agreed Thursday morning to see Sampson and began work to repair the damage. Upon examination, he said it wasn't clear why Sampson's teeth were so bad, considering his gums were very healthy — an indication that Sampson has been brushing.
"My goal is to save 12 teeth on top, and 12 on the bottom," Fong said.
Still, he said the 25-year-old would need about $15,000 worth of work, including six root canals and either a partial denture or some bridgework.
He agreed to waive his fees but said he has begun to contact colleagues in his profession, including endodontists who perform root canal work, to assist.
Another dentist, Dr. Gord Schwartz, also contacted CBC Thursday morning and has been in contact with Dr. Fong.
Requires 6 more appointments
Sampson said he was excited to finally have his problem dealt with.
"I won't have to worry about the puffing of my face, and I can actually smile and show my teeth to people." he said.
As for MacDonell, the big-hearted businessman who alerted Fong about Sampson's case, he said he was just happy to help.
"It's nice to be nice every now and then," MacDonell said.
Fong said Sampson will need at least six more appointments. He plans to videotape the treatment as it progresses and post it on a dental website.