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Megan Rickala wipes away tears after Lyell Hogg, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon at the North Iowa Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center, introduces her as the recipient of a free $50,000 dental makeover on Wednesday in Mason City.

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.

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Contact Courtney at 641-421-0534 or on Twitter @CourtneyFiorini.

 

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