BOISE, Idaho — A Board-certified oral surgeon in Boise said he never imagined he would be operating on someone as near and dear to his heart as one of his most recent patients. That patient? His grandmother.
Through a full-arch restoration treatment, an oral surgeon extracted his 97-year-old grandmother's two remaining teeth and inserted dental implants that anchor a fixed denture of fully-functioning, permanent teeth.
"And when she woke up from anesthesia she was inviting every single person she talked to to her 100th birthday party," said Dr. Scott Bobst, DDS, Boise Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center.
It's the first time since 1936 Helen Payne has seen herself smile with a full set of teeth.
As she admired herself in the mirror, Payne said, "Pretty lookin' old lady." The room erupted in laughter.
Her new smile only helps to ensure her and her grandson's humorous relationship never stops.
"She'll start giggling, I'll start giggling. Pretty soon we'll both start giggling and we just can't stop," said Bobst.
Before the surgery, Payne lived with only two teeth that were decayed.
"I looked at myself in the mirror and I got the giggles, and I thought, 'Wow, what a weird-lookin' person that is.' And so I called my grandson, he came, and I think he kinda laughed too, but he invited me to come into his office."
Back when she was growing up in the 1920s and 30s, dental hygiene was a different ballgame.
"When she was younger when she did get cavities, they would just pull teeth back then," said Shirl Bobst, Payne's daughter and Dr. Bobst's mother.
Payne had been lacking teeth for decades, making it only really possible to enjoy soft foods.
"From a health standpoint, ya know, being able to chew and eat a better diet-- I think-- is really important for her," said Dr. Bobst.
But now, as she nears her 100th birthday party, "I don't have to laugh at myself now," said Payne.
She can both eat cake and laugh with confidence
"Thank you," said Payne, to her grandson.
"You're welcome," said Bobst.
"I have you to thank," said Payne.