Oregon City man gets new smile to celebrate new life

A local man got a new dream smile all thanks to some dentists who say his life-changing story touched their hearts.
Published: May. 16, 2023 at 9:46 AM PDT
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OREGON CITY, Ore. (KPTV) - An Oregon City man is getting a second chance with his smile, thanks to a dental surgeon and dentist who are fitting him with dental implants, free of charge.

Michael Marchi, 35, was missing all but four of his lower teeth and had damaged upper teeth, due to more than a decade of addiction to meth.

“I’m the type of person where, if I would have a drink or two at a bar, some meth sounds real good after that – and most people’s mind doesn’t go there,” Marchi said.

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“I tried to get clean a bunch and I just couldn’t do it,” Marchi added. “I’d get like three or four days, maybe five days clean and then the guilt and the shame would hit, the depression, boredom - all of it and I’d go back out.”

He spent time in and out of jail, and Marchi said he wasn’t much of a father to his two young daughters, at the time.

It was a final chance with Multnomah County’s START treatment program, said Marchi, that turned his life around. The special court is a rigorous drug treatment program that serves as an alternative to prison. It’s designed for addicts who commit repeat property crimes.

Marchi has now been sober for more than eight years and works as a mechanical insulator, but his teeth were a reminder of his difficult past.

“I never showed my teeth, when I talked, I’d always try to cover my mouth,” Marchi said. “I would never smile with my teeth in pictures.”

He couldn’t afford to spend $50,000 or more to replace his teeth, and his partial dentures didn’t work for eating.

Last summer, Marchi said he was scrolling through Instagram when he saw an ad for free mouth restoration. The service is provided by Beacon Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, which has been selecting special candidates for free procedures for a few years now.

“By giving somebody back their smile, to me, is a gift that I think everybody deserves and if this is a small way that we can give back to our community, then that’s what we’re going to do,” said Dr. Brandon Reher, who performed the surgery to insert metal rods into Marchi’s jaw, which the implants will eventually attach to.

Marchi found out he was selected for the surgery this past fall.

“I’m grateful – I can’t believe that I was picked; I’m still in disbelief,” Marchi said.

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Marchi hasn’t yet been fitted for the permanent implants, as his jaw needs time to heal. His new smile will be finished sometime this summer.

“It’s been life-changing,” Marchi said. “I can already tell.”

To learn more about Beacon Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, click here.