Spencer Solves It: Helping a Pasadena woman get $12K in dental work

HOUSTON – It’s a typical Wednesday morning and a Pasadena woman is making breakfast, but it’s not what you’d probably expect.

You see, every day, Sharon Tillotta must pulverize her food into a soggy, lumpy mush just to be able to eat it. That’s because her mouth is a disaster area.

In fact, she only has two teeth left in her upper mouth.

“I don’t have any," she said as she started to cry. “My teeth — I have no teeth. I can’t eat hardly any food.”

Tillotta is in desperate need of some serious dental work. But for the last four years, money has been tight.

That’s because four years ago, Tillotta's husband, Tony, began fighting severe kidney failure.

He was forced to leave his job as a master electrician and has spent an enormous amount of time since then in a hospital battling kidney disease and heart disease at the same time.

“My husband is such a wonderful provider," Sharon Tillotta said. "He worked so hard his whole life. He wants to work still, but he can’t right now."

With Tillotta taking care of her husband full time, there hasn't been money left to pay for her dental work.

“Financially, we are dead in the water," Tillotta said.

Now living on just about $1,800 a month in Social Security disability payments and unable to get her teeth fixed, Tillotta wrote to Spencer Solves It.

Right away, we brought her to see Dr. Terri Alani, one of Houston’s most respected dentists.

She has a special passion for cosmetic dentistry and has been transforming the mouths of thousands of patients for the past 30 years.

Alani examined Tillotta and determined she will need oral surgery, plus dentures, plus partials.

The work will cost somewhere between $8,000 and $9,000, but Alani is doing the work for free.

“So, what we can do is we can do a full upper denture and then a lower partial, to replace those missing teeth in the back," Alani said. "So this woman can finally eat."

But the project to save Sharon’s mouth and change her life is so big that it will take two doctors.

So we call on both Dr. Terri Alani and Dr. Steven Koo, a well respected oral surgeon.

Dr. Koo begins by surgically removing all of the broken, ravaged teeth at the top of Sharon’s mouth and at the same time, Dr. Alani begins constructing both a full denture for the upper mouth and a partial denture appliance for the lower mouth.

Now, after weeks of hard work and many, many hours in the dental chair, the two dentists showed Sharon her brand new smile.

“Oh, oh my God, Dr. Alani it looks so natural, so beautiful”, Sharon Tillotta says, breaking down into tears.

“I can finally be myself again, I can communicate with people, I can talk to people again and I can smile again and not be ashamed”, Sharon says.

The entire project costs roughly $12,000, but both Dr. Alani and Dr. Koo did it for free.

“Thank you Dr. Alani, you have truly changed my life”, Sharon says.

We at Spencer Solves It want to thank both Dr. Terri Alani and Dr. Steven Koo for all of their miraculous work and their generosity.

About the Author:

Emmy-winning investigative reporter, insanely competitive tennis player, skier, weightlifter, crazy rock & roll drummer (John Bonham is my hero). Husband to Veronica and loving cat father to Bella and Meemo.