Twenty-Five Hours in the Dentist Chair

I am pleased to share with everyone that after ten visits in the last eight months, all the major dental visits are now complete! Each visit was was such a tremendous relief: I felt as if a curse was gradually lifting off of me. In fact, I think there was a part of me that was perpetually fighting the infection going on in my mouth. So with each session came a great sense of relief and joy: something to look forward to.

Before I went into this I was preparing myself to suffer long recovery times and even some serious pain. It wasn’t nearly as painful as I was expecting. Perhaps my mouth had gone numb to trauma due to infection, but it’s more likely to be accredited to the thirty-plus years of dental surgical practice of Dr. Stephen Matarazzo.


“Dr. Steve” as we all call him in the office, reached out to me after seeing the first of three Boston Globe articles about the fundraiser. We talked on the phone, and we met in person at his office in Quincy. I had a lot of questions, and my case was complicated to say the least. I felt I could be frank with Dr. Steve, and that he was being honest with me.

A successful campaign for a cause has many important roles to fill in order for it to be a success: from the people who have the vision and do the planning, to the financial donations from family and friends, to the spreaders of the word, and to the team of dentists and their teams who had already given so much before the fundraiser had even started. But it all comes down to the one who’s gonna hold the drill of destiny.

I was very nervous the first session: it was the longest, and the most dramatic. I tried to put myself in a state of calmness: it worked, but not as well as I would have liked. Dr. Steve’s staff was so excited about the day: it helped to put me at ease. Honestly, the six hours went by pretty quickly: I was interested to see what was going on, and felt like I was learning a lot. Everyone involved made it easy for me to be an easy patient.

The first visit was certainly the most dramatic: I was wondering if my parrot would recognize me when I got home. He did, but I think it was my voice that convinced him.

Each consecutive visit was a little easier, and a more familiar. It made such a huge difference right away: even though I needed to take it easy on the temporary teeth it was worlds better. I even got to have a say in how the shape and shade of the teeth were to be, to fit my face and smile.

It was so hard for me to imagine my new smile, but now it feels like it’s always been a part of me. It feels so good to smile and show these beautiful new teeth off, especially to those who donated — in fact the anonymous donors have me smiling as often as possible, since I don’t know who they are. What surprised me the most was the first time I bit into an apple: I hadn’t realized that teeth were much more effective when aligned properly: biting and chewing food is much easier. They are much easier to clean too. There’s nothing quite like having the right tool for the job!

One of the first things Dr. Matarazzo said to me was “I’d like for you to think of me as your dentist.” After knowing him not only do I think of him as My Dentist for Life, I also think of him to myself as the man who changed my life.

Are my teeth fixed? Yes: a lot of great work has been done and I’m certainly well out of the dangerous levels of dental health. Like most things pertaining to health, it’s not an event, but rather a practice. I’ve got plenty of teeth in the back that still need some TLC, and the new teeth need some extra care.

Can we claim victory? Absolutely! However, anyone who’s looked into having a procedure such as this knows that the fundraiser goal, albeit a lofty goal, was a conservative one, at least when it comes to the level of severity in my case. The expense of lab work, x-rays, molds, models, the new teeth​, etc., add up to quite a bit more than we raised. Dr. Matarazzo was generous with his time and resources to help me out. He agreed to take on my case at the cost of the fundraiser goal. Therefore I’d like to keep the fundraiser open for him, for those who’d like to contribute to covering his staff’s time and his expenses.

When the fundraiser started, I thought it was a very kind gesture but it still seemed like a dream. When so many gave so much, I was flabbergasted. But I still didn’t allow myself to believe it would happen until I met Dr. Steve. He tells me my teeth are the most dramatic case he’s worked on. Personally this this whole thing has been transformative in my health, my happiness, and my gratefulness of my all involved and their talents. I feel so thankful and grateful and blessed​,​ and I cannot thank ​Dr. Steve and his staff enough.