Interview with Michael Barnhart
What would you do if you discover oral cancer in your mouth? Will you doubt possibility of rehabilitation? Will you be scared that your life quality will significantly change? Michael Barnhart is a delightful gentleman and ZirTeeth® patient for almost 4 years since he has been evaluated for tongue cancer. He is now completely rehabilitated oral cancer survivor with prosthetic reconstruction on both arches. In our story, Michael will share his experience in battle with cancer and how ZirTeeth® has restored not only his smile, but also his everyday life.
Jelena Ugrenovic: How long do you have ZirTeeth® Permanent Bridge Solution?
Michael Barnhart: It has been over 4 years since I battled tongue cancer with metastatic disease to lymph nodes on my neck. I have ZirTeeth® a little bit over 3.5 years.
BATTLE WITH CANCER
JU: How did you first suspect you had tongue cancer?
MB: 4 years ago I was teaching one class trying to do a demonstration to the audience. I lost my ability to see on one eye and when I came home it got worse. I have visited my doctor and she examined my eyes but instead she found abnormality in my lymph nodes and she suspected cancer. Biopsy confirmed her diagnosis.
JU: How did you lose all your teeth?
MB: Unfortunately, I lost all my teeth overnight due to my illness. They had to be extracted as a result of tooth damage and risk of osteo-necrosis from radiation therapy. I had a lack of speech and inability to swallow.
JU: What was the best solution to rehabilitate your mouth?
FULL MOUTH RESTORATION WITH ZIRTEETH®
MB: Denture was not solution in my case because it would cover my salivary glands with an appliance. ZirTeeth® was the best solution to prevent bone loss, pain and discomfort I felt. Thanks to the blessings of the sky, the dental implant procedure returned me to normal life.
JU: Did you feel some pain during the procedure?
MB: Not at all. There was no pain, only swelling.
JU: Do you have a full mouth of dental implants?
MB: Yes, I have totally 8 implants placed and two full arch fixed bridges to replace my full set of teeth. My speech and masticatory function are rehabilitated thanks to ZirTeeth® zirconia dental bridge.
JU: When you compare your chewing experience before and after procedure, what would you distinguish?
NORMAL LIFE QUALITY
MB: My nutritional status has suffered as a consequence of therapy since I wasn't able to chew before the dental bridge. Mastication is even better with ZirTeeth®, I can chew much harder than with my natural teeth. I can eat everything I want.
JU: Do you take care of your ZirTeeth®?
MB: Besides brushing for everyday hygiene routine I use Waterpik to clean the area between my gums and bridge. Additionally, I visit Dr. Benjamin once a year to remove both bridges and clean everything thoroughly.
JU: Would you say that the mission of your mouth restoration was successful after illness?
MB: Mission is accomplished. I am so satisfied with my quality of life despite the fact that I lost my teeth due to illness. I can eat everything and talk normally. Other people say that I have a beautiful smile. All thanks to ZirTeeth®!
JU: Thank you, Michael for sharing your experience with us!
By ZirTeeth’s Outreach Coordinator Jelena Ugrenovic