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Changing the World with a Smile

When individuals enroll in HIV Case Management, the main goal is to make certain they are seeing a doctor and starting – and staying – on the medications that will slow the progress of the disease to ensure a healthy life. Often times, the people Case Management works with have neglected other health issues before seeking treatment for HIV. This is especially true for individuals who have used drugs, have poor nutritional habits and/or lack insurance, resulting in serious oral health problems. Through agreements with local dentists, as well as the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, we can help give them their smile back. The following unedited comment is from one of the program participants, Charlie, who received his new dentures after a lifetime without teeth:

“We all take things for granted in life and one thing that we all can take for granted is our appearance and most of all our teeth. Believe it or not, people judge you and even if you don’t think it bothers you, it does. I was born lactose intolerant and had to drink Jello water that rotted my teeth also had no enamel on my teeth and to top it off I was hooked on oxycontin and then on heroin for 20 years so for once in my life I can smile. When a lady asked me to smile natural I said what is that, I don’t know how to smile. I’ve never been able to but at that moment I knew how much it meant to have my teeth. So I want to thank God that he blessed me and gave me the ability to get my teeth done and blessed me with my new teeth. To everyone out there, make sure to have good hygiene and brush your teeth, brush your teeth, brush your teeth and go to the dentist.” – Charlie, NKY Health Case Management Client

 


By: Clint Ibele
Case Manager