Oxnard woman smiles again after winning free makeover
All Alyssia Lopez wanted was just a salad for lunch. But for the 28-year-old Oxnard woman to eat grilled chicken and crunchy greens, she needed two days of surgery.
Earlier this month, Lopez underwent two 90-minute surgeries for his upper and lower jaw at the Grand Ventura oral and facial surgery offices in Ventura.
âA saladâ¦ just to relive that,â Lopez said. “It’s like you never know what you’re missing out on until you can’t have it anymore.”
Prior to the procedures, Lopez only had four teeth, which made most meals a challenge. Two days later, she smiled again.
âIt feels good to be me and not worry about what someone is going to think if I smile,â Lopez said on Friday. “I even forget to grab my mask now because why do you want to cover it? It looks and feels so good you don’t want to cover it anymore.”
An ‘incredible opportunity’
Lopez entered the Grand Ventura oral and facial surgery competition in the fall of 2020 along with hundreds of others. She was selected in March as the winner of a free smile makeover worth between $ 50,000 and $ 60,000.
Lopez works in a mental health facility that cares for patients with alcoholism, drug addiction and other abuse issues.
Dr Hessam Siavash, of Greater Ventura Oral & Facial Surgery in Ventura, said Lopez was selected because she had a vision for how she wanted to improve her life, family and community.
“That was the whole theme of this case. We are offering (…) a second chance, changing people’s lives,” Siavash said.
Lopez said his partner Vanessa Archibeque sent him an advertisement for the Second Chance Contest via Facebook Messenger. Lopez was recalled in December.
âI had to submit a lot of photos, my information and why I want this. Honestly, I forgot I even did it,â Lopez said, adding that the pandemic started before it had. news.
She described the operation as an “incredible opportunity”.
Lopez has a 10-year-old son and plans to marry Archibeque next August.
Living his life with almost all of his teeth missing has given him low self-esteem.
âI was too embarrassed to even have a party where everyone was paying attention to me,â Lopez said. âEven my son’s parent-teacher conference, I’ll just do it over the phone rather than doing it in person.â¦ It embarrassed me like I didn’t want to do this.â
Lopez said she was “nervous, excited and thirsty” before the operation because she was unable to eat or drink for at least nine hours.
Siavash said Lopez’s medical procedure replaced decayed and missing teeth with dental implants.
âIt’s a big deal,â Siavash said. “The advantage of these dental implants is that we can make her smile again.”
” We are impatient “
Lopez said she wears dentures with a special type of glue to keep them in place. Glue would seep down her throat sometimes and she didn’t have enough money to fix it.
âI always threw up,â Lopez said. “… Sometimes I didn’t want to do it because of its horror.”
Siavash said Lopez’s lack of access to good dental care was one of the main reasons she only had four teeth and had to wear dentures at 28.
âIt has repercussions later in life,â Siavash said. “When you lose teeth you actually lose bone, you lose your support structures. So your lips are sunken; your facial aesthetics change. So a lot will happen to her in the next 15 to 20 years if she does. don’t. do anything about it. “
Dr Saj Jivraj, of the Anacapa Dental Institute at Oxnard, who installed Lopez’s teeth, said there would be slurred speech immediately after the surgery.
âWe change the whole mouth,â Jivraj said. “We are warning patients. The beauty is that the mouth is very adaptable. In four to six weeks they are back to normal.”
Lopez has received temporary teeth and will be getting permanent teeth in about four months, Siavash said.
When the permanent teeth are installed with the implants, patients are told to eat soft foods like salmon, Jivraj said. Implants use a regular toothbrush and a water pick to clean the teeth and undergo cleaning and hygiene checks every six months.
âWe are not going to look back; we are going to look forward,â Jivraj said. “We’ll find a solution that works for you. All they have to promise me is take care of their teeth.”
Lopez said his recovery was painful earlier this week, but improved on Friday.
âIt’s still an adjustment,â she said. “I’m still learning to speak, and it’s different. I have swollen cheeks and all that. But it feels good and it looks pretty good.”