'I am so grateful': 2 Idaho veterans head to operating room for free oral surgeries

Posted at 6:38 PM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 08:53:23-04

IDAHO — Last November, we told you about two Idaho veterans who were gifted with $50,000 reconstructive oral surgery free of charge.

Now the day has finally come for them to step into the operating room.

Terri Todd and Philip Nielsen are getting free smile makeovers through Whitewater Oral Surgery and Smiles for Soldiers.

“I never ever thought that I would win something or get something like this,” Nielsen said. “You just can't tell how much I appreciate it. The words aren’t there.”

Philip Neilsen

Both veterans have dealt with damaged teeth for years, which has caused them trouble with eating and even just smiling

“My teeth started going bad when I was overseas in the service, way back in the ’50s. I, fortunately, had some good dentists help me out but they’ve been falling out and hurting and I’ve just been having trouble,” Nielsen. “I can't go to restaurants and eat, I will end up with food on my chest.”

After surgery, that will change for both veterans.

“This is just our way, Whitewater Oral Surgery has been able to provide something small to say thank you,” Dr. Eric Nelson of Whitewater Oral Surgery said.
Terri and Dr. Nelson

Todd says shes grateful to not have to use paste every day for her false teeth, and what she is most looking forward to after recovery has not changed.

“That's a no-brainer there. Goodwood Ribs,” Todd said. “I do want to thank all of the doctors and everybody that looked at me and picked me and that are going to put me through this and give me some teeth that I'll be forever grateful for.”