Infected teeth threaten young woman's life

June 8, 2007
Dentist doing work free, but donations needed for material and lab work.

WASHINGTON--Amanda Bates, 24, wants to train marine mammals. Unfortunately she suffers from dental problems that keep her in constant pain, prevent her from being able to attend college or even from having a social life typical of a young adult. If the dental problems aren't corrected, Bates could die.

"I can't smile, I'm so sore," said Bates. Bates said the pain makes her constantly fatigued, yet she is unable to sleep more than a few hours a night because she wakes up frequently. "It's so incredibly difficult to deal with. It's pain 24 hours a day."

Bates suffers from several painful infections in her mouth caused by severe tooth decay from genetic acid reflux disease. About half of her teeth are decayed down to the nerve. The damage to her teeth is so extensive that she is unable to consume foods and beverages (hot or cold), eat normally, or even brush her teeth without pain or agony.

In the past several months, Bates, already slender, has lost even more weight. Her jaw has collapsed and this has caused a chain reaction that affects the neuromuscular alignment of her whole body and posture. These issues, if left untreated, could lead to septosemia and death.

Dr. Shila Yazdani, a dentist who specializes in neuromuscular and cosmetic dentistry, has begun treating Bates pro bono. Over the next several months, Dr. Yazdani plans two phases of care for Bates, who has limited medical or dental insurance.

The first phase is eliminating active infections in Bates' mouth. This will consist of deep cleanings, root canals and other treatments designed to relieve pain temporarily. The second phase consists of restoring her teeth with porcelain in a correct neuromuscular position.

"Porcelain is comparable in toughness as enamel and will restore Amanda's mouth back to health and function she has been lacking for a long time," said Dr. Yazdani. 

This will then make Bates more receptive to treatment from medical doctors for other medical problems and will be the start of a normal life for Bates.

"I wish I could just do normal, everyday things like brush my teeth without crying over the sink, or sleep all night," Bates said. "I just want to get my teeth fixed so they won't hurt anymore."

The second phase, however, cannot begin without lab support to craft the porcelain restorations. "Without the second phase, Bates' relief will be temporary--lasting only about two to three months until the teeth decay again," Dr. Yazdani said.

While Dr. Yazdani has been able to negotiate discounts for Bates, the cost of the materials and lab work still is expected to range between $20,000 and $25,000. Dr. Yazdani is hoping the media will publicize Bates' plight in an effort to raise the money quickly.

"The condition developed a year ago, but X-ray evidence revealed that the deteriorating condition is happening at an alarmingly rapid rate in recent months," said Dr. Yazdani. "Every tooth in Bates' mouth suffers from decay. It's very important that she receive help soon or she could have more problems down the line if the infections get into her head and neck."

Dr. Shila Yazdani, an Iranian-born dentist, has had extensive continuing education and training as a specialist in neuromuscular and cosmetic dentistry. Her practice is in Washington, D.C.