Spencer Solves It: Helping veteran get her smile back

By Bill Spencer - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - How do you prepare your food at home?

For 56-year-old Leah Townsend, of Livingston, there is only one, rotten, way.

No matter what she wants to eat, Townsend has to throw it into a powerful blender and pulverize it into a soft, gooey, sloppy mess.

Why?

Because, for four long years Townsend has been living with no teeth.

“It’s awful. It’s all I think about half of the time. You are supposed to eat three meals a day and every time I go to eat a meal I don’t have any teeth," Townsend said while starting to break into tears.

To make matters worse, Townsend doesn’t have enough gum tissue or bone mass in her mouth to make her a candidate for dentures.

She said her dentist told her dentures would never work and instead she would need dental implants costing more than $35,000.

Without dental insurance, and already battling emphysema and diabetes, Townsend said there was no possibility of coming up with that kind of money for implants.

“There was just nothing I could do so I have just been living with it. But I’ve always got sores on my gums and pain from something that I have tried to chew and chewed it wrong,” Townsend said.

Oh, it wasn’t always like this.

Leah is a U.S. Army veteran who worked repairing helicopters in the service.

She is a mother, a grandmother and a former pediatric nurse, who is now to embarrassed to even talk to people, because it would expose the fact that she has no teeth.

So with nowhere else to turn, Townsend contacted Spencer Solves It.

Right away, we go about bringing in two of Houston’s most respected dental specialists, Dr. David Alfi, an oral surgeon with Methodist Hospital, and Dr. Sergio Ortegon, a board certified prosthodontist, specializing in reconstructive dentistry and implants.

First Alfi surgically implants two posts into Townsend’s mouth.

Then Ortegon designs and builds a specially crafted set of dentures that will then attach to the posts that Alfi has implanted.

This solution is meant to solve all of Townsend’s complex dental problems, but it takes time, months and months of dental visits.

But in the end, the result is spectacular.

“Oh my God, this has truly changed my life,” Townsend said.

Now, close to a year later, Townsend has a strong, beautiful set of brand new teeth and can eat virtually anything she wants.

Even more importantly, she is no longer in pain when she eats and she can socialize with friends again, no longer embarrassed about her lack of teeth.

“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. This means so much to me, this has changed my life a lot. Thank you so much," Townsend said, again fighting back tears as she spoke.

If you need help with a problem you can’t possibly solve by yourself, contact Spencer Solves It at 713-223-TIPS (8477) or email us at solvesit@click2houston.com.

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