Something to smile about: Local dentistry gifts mouth reconstruction to single mom
After looking at an X-ray, dentist Doug Hansen explains how he will reconstruct Patricia Lochhead’s mouth. Silver Summit Dental is gifting the dental work to Lochhead, a single mother with only nine teeth. (Tori La Rue/City Journals)
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Patricia Lochhead walked into Silver Summit Dental in Herriman with only nine teeth. She plans to walk out with a full smile.
Her mouth reconstruction, which will add 19 new teeth to her mouth, is made possible by donations from the community and the dental office. The single mother of two can’t wait until the four-month process is finished.
“My confidence is going to go through the roof,” she said at her first appointment with Silver Summit Dental on Jan. 21. “People sometimes judge, and that makes you feel low, but with a smile, you can walk proud and be happier. When this is finished, I think that all I’ll be doing is smiling.”
Her new mouth will be symbolic of her new life. The Murray resident said her teeth deteriorated from drug use, but now she is sober and she’s concentrating on what matters — her children and finding a good job.
Lochhead wanted to get her teeth replaced, but mouth reconstruction comes at a hefty price, often amounting to more than $20,000. The desire was more like a dream, she said. She expressed this dream to a neighbor, Francine Platt, not knowing that Platt had connections.
“It was good timing,” said Platt, a graphic designer. “I was just finishing up a design with Silver Summit Dental, and it was like a godsend.”
Platt approached the owner of the new office whom she’d worked with before, Doug Laney, and asked if the new practice would be offering charitable services in the future. Laney said he and the two dentists at the practice were hoping to offer free service to someone as part of their grand opening.
They added Lochhead’s name to a list of more than 20 locals who needed, but didn’t have the means for, dental work. They compiled the list using recommendations from residents, city officials and ecclesiastical leaders.
“The three of us are firm believers in giving back and service work. It’s good karma. It is the right thing to do, and we want to be part of this community and felt like this would be a good way to do that,” Laney said. “We picked Patricia because she seemed like she really needed this, and we realized that we could restore her smile and that her confidence might get her back in the workforce and back in the community.”
Laney and dentists Doug Hansen and Tanner Clark are donating the time and space to reconstruct Lochhead’s mouth and local community donations are providing the money needed for the supplies.
Hansen checked Lochhead’s teeth at the first appointment. After X-rays and observation, he determined which teeth would be implanted and which ones could be replaced with dentures. Because Lochhead had her top two front teeth removed one week prior to the first exam, the reconstruction process had to be lengthened a bit to give her time to heal, Laney said.
Lochhead, who admits to being nervous about the appointment, said she feels hope for the future despite the root canals that will take place soon to prepare her mouth for new teeth.
“Eventually I’d like to have my own home, be able to completely provide for my kids—do those things that I might have missed out on earlier in life and have my teeth,” she said. “This is the start of all of those things.”
While they are starting with Lochhead, Laney said the new dentistry practice located at 13400 South 5734 West plans to offer other community members access to free dental work on designated days throughout the year.