Refugee gets the gift of a new smile

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Raymond's new smile (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Raymond's new smile (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

For most people, a trip to the dentist isn't something to smile about.

But one young man here in the Valley couldn't have been more excited about getting into the dentist's chair. That's because 23-year-old Raymond Gallup has waited his whole life for a smile makeover, and now, it's all being done for free. And, it's all thanks to two Valley doctors Dr. Brent Boyse and Dr. Sheldon Sullivan.

When we arrived at Arizona Maxillofacial Surgeons in Queen Creek Friday, the teeth molds were laid out, the x-ray scans were up, and Raymond was all smiles. He says today is a dream come true. "I'm going to smile all the time; I'm so excited for this," Raymond tells us. "I'm just beyond words, so grateful to these two gentlemen who have donated this time and work on my son," says adoptive mother Jenny Gallup.  

The procedure took four hours and will correct missing and impacted teeth Raymond has suffered since childhood.

"Raymond was adopted when he was seven years old from Sierra Leone, which at the time was very war-torn," says Jenny Gallup. That time spent in an orphanage caused Raymond to have teeth and gum problems brought on, in part, by malnutrition. His mom says they tried different procedures over the years, but nothing gave Raymond long-lasting results. 

Raymond says he made the appointment for a consultation with the doctors after watching one of their commercials on TV. But, after Dr. Sullivan, Dr. Boyse and their office staff got to know Raymond, they decided to perform the entire procedure for free. "Sometimes you come across people who deserve things," says Dr. Boyse. "And Raymond is a very deserving person, and we're happy to help Raymond out." 

Beyond the aesthetics of having a new smile, Dr. Sullivan points out that the health of Raymond's teeth, gums, and his confidence and self-esteem are also important factors. "What's going to happen with Raymond is his life today will be changed forever. Raymond's oral surgery ended at 3 p.m., and he's said to be recovering well. We will follow up with him in the coming weeks for his big reveal.

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