After twenty years as a writing and speech consultant, Margy was diagnosed with oral cancer in 1998. The devastating cancer ravaged Margy's mouth, rendering her unable to eat or speak normally. Through numerous, complex surgeries, Margy's cancer specialists restored her mouth to the best of their ability. Her restored mouth included a jawbone created from her hipbone, soft tissue lining her mouth from various skin graphs, and a large set of removable bottom teeth similar to dentures.
Looking for better possible solutions, Margy approached Dr. Kirtley. On her first visit, he compared her mouth to a puzzle that they would figure out together. In cooperation with Margy's oncologists and one of that nation's best dental labs, Dr. Kirtley transformed Margy's mouth into a natural-looking and natural-feeling part of her body. The main improvement was creating a superior implant prosthesis to replace her bottom set of teeth. The new implant is professionally screwed into place and must be professionally removed and cleaned every three months.
After her lower mandible restoration, Dr. Kirtley asked Margy to participate with him in the nationally attended Chicago Dental Society Regional Meeting where he would enhance her upper teeth with porcelain veneers. Although the cancer did not destroy her upper teeth, several teeth had crowns, showed signs of aging, and simply were not as attractive as her new lower teeth. After prepping her teeth in his office, Dr. Kirtley completed the enhancement at the Chicago dental conference in front of a live audience and live broadcast. Dr. Kirtley also published Margy's case study in the respected dental journal, Contemporary Esthetics and Restorative Practice in June 2000. (See attached article.)
Before restoration, Margy says, "I would feel as though I were living with a handicap. That's a pretty strong word, but if you didn't have the floor or roof of your mouth and you couldn't eat the way the rest of your family does, you would feel like you have a handicap."
"Dr. Kirtley had the absolute patience of Job. He was very patient and sympathetic when it came to understanding how I felt about my cancer. He and his staff took it quite seriously. They could have said 'hey, lady, you're lucky to be alive.' But they didn't. They made me feel like I was their sole reason to be there ... their favorite patient ... Dr. Kirtley helps you get physically restored, and he helps you with how you feel about it."
Emotional scars ran deep for Deanna. Early in her childhood, she began grinding her teeth. Although a habit adults often develop from anxiety, Deanna's childhood environment prompted this debilitating practice that shortened her teeth to the point they weren't visible when she smiled.
As an adult, Deanna began going to Dr. Kirtley for routine dentistry. Early on, he suggested that she consider porcelain veneers to lengthen her teeth. After five years, Deanna and her husband gradually decided to have her smile enhanced.
After the first step in the procedure, Deanna remembers Dr. Kirtley stepping back and smiling at his work. Then he handed her a mirror. Deanna cried at seeing her own beautiful smile for the first time.
"What has happened with me in adjusting my teeth, it has went so much deeper than people can see. It is a mending of a scar, something that goes back to my childhood. It's much like a butterfly that emerges from its cocoon and spreads its wings. It's what I feel like at 39," Deanna says.
"Your smile is something that people can visually see, but it comes out of you. It's a brightness that comes from inside, out through your eyes. It goes down deep beyond what people can see almost to the inner soul of a person. You feel good. For me, I don't see it as a cosmetic thing. It's something that changed me emotionally and physically ... it's something that healed scars from childhood."
Jennifer was never happy with her teeth. She loathed her uneven front teeth, especially two teeth, top and center, that extended longer than the rest. Throughout the years, Jennifer had asked several dentists to grind down those teeth, but they refused. Self-conscious and unaware of her options, Jennifer rarely smiled with her teeth showing and never flashed a toothy grin for photographs.
One day at work, Jennifer complimented a coworker on her beautiful smile, saying it was exactly what she wished her smile looked like. The coworker told Jennifer she wasn't born with that smile. Dr. Kirtley had enhanced it and could enhance hers too.
Jennifer wanted the procedure but worried she was being vain. Why should she spend money to make her teeth prettier? Her mother didn't think she should, but her coworkers made her feel good about the procedure. They insisted that the procedure was more about feeling better about herself than about looking pretty.
Dr. Kirtley evened up Jennifer's teeth and applied porcelain veneers. Friends and coworkers immediately noticed a change in her. People weren't sure what she had done, but they knew there was a difference. The difference was so dramatic that it inspired four of Jennifer's coworkers and her boyfriend to get their teeth enhanced.
Jennifer's mom has completely changed her mind about the procedure. Noticing the change in Jennifer's smile and demeanor, Jennifer's mom asked her to convince her brother to have his smile enhanced.
"I would pay triple what I paid. It's well worth it. Not any question. It's worth every penny ... Feeling better about yourself and dropping some insecurities is part of success. That [my teeth] was one little thing that was such a big thing for me," Jennifer says.
A busy housewife and senior English major at IUPUI, Bridget wasn't considering cosmetic dentistry. A regular dental checkup with Dr. Kirtley last year changed that. He suggested that Bridget consider smile enhancement for health reasons.
Bridget's teeth were so worn from grinding that her top canine teeth didn't extend long enough to protect her top incisors from chipping and cracking. If she didn't get the problem corrected, she would continue to face progressively worse dental problems.
Personally, Bridget was becoming a little self-conscious about her teeth because of the chipping and coffee stains. She often found herself putting her hand in front of her mouth when she talked or smiled.
After Dr. Kirtley applied porcelain veneers to her teeth, Bridget noticed a big change. She explains, "It just doesn't make you look better cosmetically or younger. It makes you look healthier."
One day as she was walking out of class, a fellow student stopped Bridget to say, "you have the prettiest teeth!" It surprised Bridget. No one had ever complimented her teeth, and now a perfect stranger was admiring them.
Lori had nicely aligned teeth, but she was cavity prone. Born with weak tooth enamel, she often needed fillings.
"I had a dental phobia. I always, always, always hated dental procedures. I had white knuckles all the way during the procedures. One of things Dr. Kirtley suggested was that I have nitrous oxide. It has a wonderful, calming effect on me," Lori said.
Dr. Kirtley also noticed that Lori's gums were inflamed in certain areas. Knowing the inflammation was probably an allergic reaction to certain dental materials used in her numerous fillings, Dr. Kirtley suggested that Lori try porcelain veneers.
Dr. Kirtley applied Lori's first set of veneers in the '80s. "Because he blended my teeth color so well with my other teeth, people really didn't know all the work I had done, but internally I felt better, and I had no gum inflammation," Lori said.
"All the technology has changed since then. I just had ten teeth redone with the latest material ... the originals lasted like 13 to 15 years. Gradually because of the way my gums were receding and all, Dr. Kirtley suggested I redo them."
"The way he did my smile, it is huge! No wonder people think I'm glowing! When it comes to my smile, it's just this subliminal thing people are seeing this really great artwork in my mouth," Lori said.
"I know everybody's out to make money, but I think the difference is that George is in it for the long hall. He wants people to have good hygiene. When he recommended a product, I knew it might cost a little more, but I knew it would be worth it... it's really wonderful to be able to trust somebody. In any profession you have people who are good or bad. My trust soared with Dr. Kirtley."
Lori's trust raised so much with Dr. Kirtley that on her last visit she was able to forgo the nitrous oxide to calm her nerves. In Lori's own words, "I did very well."
St. Petersburg, Florida