Greg was driving on the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge when he hit a patch of black ice and collided with the car in front of him. In the other car was Cecilly Rudalavage of Ambler, Pennsylvania, a sales representative for Ditron Dental Implants. Cecilly noticed Greg was missing most of his teeth as they spoke and ultimately decided to reach out to Dr. Simon Oh of AC Dental in Fairless Hills.
Who is Simon Oh?
Dr. Simon Oh is a Doctor of Dental Surgery with an education from the University of Maryland Baltimore. He is the honoree of the Marquis Who’s Who 2022 prestigious Humanitarian Award, granted for his charitable work and positive impact on his community. Famous for taking on pro bono cases, he gladly accepted, using state-of-the-art technology and 3D printers. Humbly, Dr. Oh said, “I suppose I’m known for doing a lot of pro bono work.”
Using a 3D-printed model of Greg’s skull, it was determined that he did not have any bone in his upper jaw, making it impossible to wear dentures. “This gentleman couldn’t even wear dentures because he doesn’t have any sort of upper jaw bone at all.” Dr. Oh is one of the few implant surgeons in the Philadelphia area with the skills able to perform this type of surgery. With his team at AC Dental, he took on this case requiring upper and lower implants. “For those patients, I really, really get a lot of fulfillment out of getting them back to where they used to be, build that confidence back up, and really get the most out of life that they can.”
Together with The Dental Lab, Dr. Oh and Dr. Justin Le say created a full arch solution for the maxillary (upper) and mandibular (lower) milled out of zirconia. The Dental Lab’s talented and experienced computer-aid design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) team milled and sintered the zirconia and entrusted the final touches to our seasoned ceramist Tony Liu who brings the case to life with porcelain, stain and glaze. Of the situation, Dr. Oh said, “It’s just really gratifying to not only have the skills to pull this off for somebody in need, but also work with such an awesome team that is so easily convinced to give back.”
Who is Justin Le?
On September 22, Dr. Justin Le, Doctor of Dental Medicine with a degree from Temple University, implemented the final insertion of the permanent upper and lower zirconia implants. He explained prior to the restoration that this is one of many pro bono cases he’s worked on. Ust the day before, he just finished up a case with the Halo Network, an organization that provides a variety of services for children, youths, adults, and seniors. Dr. Le said that he and The Halo Network worked together to create upper implants and finals for a pro bono case.
The Final Restoration
The patient, Greg, had temporaries in for approximately three months up until this point. On one of his sets of temporary implants, the lower implant broke. As Dr. Le removed the resin screws from Greg’s mouth, he explained that the permanent implants won’t break because the zirconia material is solid and strong. Putting in the permanent set, Dr. Le described them as, “exactly as they’re supposed to be,” and noted that they sunk right into the mouth and fitted with ease. To show their stability, he shook the patient to show they weren’t moving despite barely being screwed in.
The final restoration was joined by many people, including Cecilly, CBS News reporter Matt DeMatteo and his cameraman, and The Dental Lab’s very own Managing Partner Tony Cirigliano. When the time came for the big reveal, it was clear to see how happy Greg was. He smiled brightly at his reflection in the mirror and simply said, “Awesome.” He disclosed that after decades of bad dentistry, he was left with almost no teeth. In addition, he started working at age of 14 installing heaters and air conditioning units. He explained that the decades of work took a heavy toll on his body, including his teeth. Greg described his experience with Dr. Simon Oh and Dr. Justin Le as, “100 times better than the experiences I had with other dentists.” Speaking to Cecilly after the reveal, he said, “I wish we met on different terms, but eventually it was worth everything.”
In his interviews, Greg said, “I hit the right person at the right time,” but he ultimately believes it comes down to good karma. “It’s karma. I always try to do good for other people… treat others like you would like to be treated and good things will happen in the end.”
As Greg and I spoke after all the cameras left, he told me he currently doesn’t have a steady job and is busy helping his family. However, with his newly restored smile and new-found confidence, he’s looking forward to applying for new jobs.
How Can The Dental Lab Help?
The Dental Lab played a large role in the final restoration of Greg’s new smile by donating the implants. The Dental Lab and Dr. Oh and Dr. Le are always working together to provide for their community with pro bono cases. The Lab’s Ceramist Tony Liu worked to ensure there was no room for deviation when milling the teeth that Dr. Le described as a perfect fit. Representing the company, Managing Partner of The Dental Lab and head of the Crown and Bridge Department, Tony Cirigliano was humble as he explained, “We’re more the behind-the-scenes folks involved in this whole process. Dr. Le and Dr. Oh forward us the files… and we go ahead and fabricate, mill, sinter, and characterize the final prosthesis.” In his final interview of the day, he simply said, “It’s our pleasure to do.”
You can view Greg's before and after pictures on our Instagram, as well as our behind-the-scenes photos. Watch the full experience here.
The dental lab, AC Dental, zirconia, dentures, implants, restoration, dentistry, crowns, bridges, dental, dentist, patient, doctor, pro bono,
Angel Chang is a Drexel University graduate with a background in Marketing. She has experience with digital analytics, SEO, social media management, content creation, copywriting, and web development.