MASON CITY | A North Iowa woman will receive a $50,000 smile makeover from North Iowa Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center.
Megan Rickala, 41, is the recipient of a full-arch restoration treatment, a procedure which typically costs about $50,000. She will receive the dental work for free.
Dr. Lyell Hogg and Dr. Christopher Kepros of North Iowa Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center announced Rickala as the recipient of their first annual Second Chance program.
Rickala hugged the doctors and wiped away tears during the announcement.
“It’s been a lifelong dream,” she said of the dental restoration. “It’s all I really wanted.”
State Sen. Amanda Ragan spoke about the importance of giving back to the community at the presentation event Wednesday.
Rickala was chosen out of 122 applicants who suffered from severely poor oral health and desperately needed a second chance to improve their self-confidence, quality of life and overall health.
“Imagine waking up tomorrow with no teeth,” Hogg said, asking people to imagine how that would impact their lives.
A full-arch restoration procedure replaces broken, decayed and missing teeth with a custom-made prosthesis supported by dental implants that work as permanent, fully-functioning and natural-looking teeth, according to North Iowa Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center.
The center has partnered with restorative dentist Dr. Thomas Bieber, Dentsply Implants and Trachsel Dental Studio for the program.
Rickala applied after seeing the program announced on Facebook.
“I thought I would try but I never win anything,” she said.
Rickala said winning is a dream come true, a truly life-changing one.
Each applicant shared their story of how they came to have poor oral health. According to the center, many of the stories were heart-wrenching and detailed incidents from domestic abuse to individuals with disabilities and genetic disorder and more.
Rickala suffered childhood trauma and a disadvantaged upbringing, which later resulted in unhealthy coping mechanisms leading to dental issues.
Many felt that they may be held back from earning a degree or applying for a dream job due to low self-esteem and embarrassment.
Rickala felt the same way. She currently works at a food manufacturer in Lake Mills.
“My dream is to be a bank teller,” she said. “I didn’t have the confidence.”
She hopes to apply for jobs after she completes the procedures.
50 heartwarming stories about North Iowans
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MASON CITY | A North Iowa woman who has a long commute to her job received a free 1998 Ford Taurus Wednesday through the Wheels for Work program.
CLEAR LAKE | Several Clear Lake High School students spent the morning of their snow day Wednesday helping others.
MASON CITY | Three kids who had the day off school helped a neighbor dig out from the snow on Wednesday.
NORA SPRINGS | A contest inspired by making healthy choices in the winter resulted in more than 40 entries in a local school district’s snowman competition.
CLEAR LAKE | The Winter Dance Party was a dream come true for one Clear Creek Elementary third-grader when he received a guitar from headliner Johnny Rogers.
MASON CITY | A North Iowa college student said she had a sleepless night after winning a big lottery prize last week.
MASON CITY | Seventy-five people, including Christians and Muslims, attended the Friday service at Adas Israel after the synagogue received an anti-Semitic phone message last weekend.
MASON CITY | Sixth graders Jackson Gobeli, 11, and Josten Swann, 12, were on spring break Monday, but they sure didn't have the day off.
CLEAR LAKE | Troy and Carrie Tysdahl of Clear Lake were expecting their third child to arrive in June, but the baby boy came into the world early — very early.
HAMPTON | Although he has been blind since kindergarten, that doesn't stop a Hampton student from competing in robotics events.
MASON CITY | A Mason City woman who graduated from Cerro Gordo County Drug Court Tuesday said the program "saved my life."
MASON CITY | Two Mason City women were honored this week for their efforts to stay sober and keep their families intact.
HAMPTON | A Hampton family lent a helping hand -- and a team of mules -- this weekend as an 8-year-old boy with cancer lived his dream of attending prom.
NORTHWOOD | Mason City students recently sponsored a bedroom makeover for a 5-year-old Northwood girl.
CEDAR RAPIDS | Eight-year-old Jonny Cole had a wish. Like most kids his age, he dreamed of riding his bike — a red motocross model with a Spiderman bell — around his Cedar Rapids neighborhood and on the bike path with his family.
MASON CITY | For nearly 60 years, Gloria Sherwood's keys to success have been piano keys.
SHEFFIELD | At age 8, life changed drastically for one West Fork graduating senior.
MASON CITY | A Forest City family has received a vehicle through the Wheels for Work program.
CLEAR LAKE | Vickie Meyer had never met Denny Schnathorst before last Thursday, but she's grateful the Iowa State trooper was there to help.
HAMPTON | Doug and Robyn Pralle of Hampton have started a non-profit to provide free flights for those who need to travel a long distance to receive medical treatment.
MASON CITY | Newman Catholic's Band Festival king Drew Prestholt has overcome many obstacles in his life.
CLEAR LAKE — Twenty months later, Jill Miller of Clear Lake completed her 9/11 themed cross-stitch piece in time for Memorial Day.
Nancy Bleuer of Clear Lake will drive to Iowa City and donate a kidney to a student’s father this week.
CLEAR LAKE | Andra and Van Gould wanted to give their out-of-town wedding guests the real Iowa experience.
CLEAR LAKE | A garage sale to raise funds for a Clear Lake family that needs a wheelchair accessible vehicle for their 9-year-old son is set for Saturday, June 10.
NORTHWOOD | Lowell Gangstad began directing choir at First Lutheran Church in Northwood in 1957 when he was a music teacher fresh out of college.
MASON CITY | Friday was a special day for 15-year-old Carver Moffett of Thompson.
CHARLES CITY | As a Charles City family prepares to say goodbye to their son, it will welcome several new family members through the gift of organ donation.
GARNER | Seeing a Living Donor float in the Duesey Days parade last summer inspired a Garner man to donate a kidney to his company's chief financial officer.
MASON CITY | Henry Vierkant called it one of the best times of his life.
CLEAR LAKE | Troy and Carrie Tysdahl of Clear Lake have a little sign on the front door of their home.
BRITT | Melissa Abele and Monica LeDoux have combined efforts to bring a little extra kindness to the city of Britt.
ROCKWELL | Thursday evening, with numerous family members and My Happy Haven members at her side, Katie Blackdeer was rewarded for her ongoing fight against cancer.
This past week has been busy for Kelsey Grimm.
CLEAR LAKE | A Clear Lake business owner is tattooing baby footprints for those who have lost babies to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, and donating the proceeds through October.
LEDYARD | A couple of weeks ago, many in a small town in Kossuth County learned one of their farmers had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
FOREST CITY | Eleven years ago, Jenny Johnson described the man of her dreams to a friend.
HAMPTON | For nearly the past decade, the Behn brothers in Hampton have released an annual harvest video, where they sing, dance and showcase what life is like for a North Iowa farmer.
BRITT | Amelia Cassels’ favorite part about bowling is “knocking down the pins.”
MASON CITY | A group of Mason City high school leaders is showing deployed Iowans — and several North Iowans — they aren't forgotten during the holidays.
MASON CITY | Mandy Martinson had already spent more than 12 years of her life in prison when she found out she was granted clemency.
HANLONTOWN | For the past four years, POET has lit a tree in hopes of brightening the holidays of North Iowans.
MASON CITY | A Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa registered nurse has returned from Puerto Rico with a grateful heart.
BRITT | While Renee Diemer sat in her swivel chair at Diemer Realty Thursday morning and reflected on her mission trip to Haiti in early November, her voice cracked and her eyes welled up with tears.
MASON CITY | For 9-year-old Elliot Burgos and his parents, every moment is precious.
MASON CITY | Olivia Ozuna smiled as she arrived at the Northern Lights Alliance for the Homeless Monday night.
BRITT | Nine thousand Christmas lights, 12 extension cords and hours — even days — of work.
Contact Courtney at 641-421-0534 or on Twitter @CourtneyFiorini.