Our Patients. Our Priority. :  Kourtney’s Story: Amelogenesis Imperfecta

This is a series of blog posts written from interviews with real Ozark Prosthodontics patients. These stories detail their own experiences. In some cases, names have been withheld or changed at patient request. 

Kourtney and her mother, Kristy, are in a dentist’s office near their home in Washington State. It’s only the latest in a series of appointments to determine why Kourtney’s teeth are deteriorating. At this point, hers are so sensitive to touch and temperature, she wears a plastic retainer to shield them from regular air exposure.

Small pieces of her teeth remain in the retainer when she removes it for examination. The dentist sees Kourtney, tearing up in pain, and looks at the mother and daughter in bewilderment. “I have no idea what’s causing this,” he says. 

Shortly after Kourtney turned 18, her teeth began to rapidly decay. First yellow swirls appeared, despite regular brushing and flossing. Then a trip to the dentist revealed 25 cavities in just one year. While her mom became increasingly concerned, dentists couldn’t determine the cause.  Meanwhile, Kourtney’s situation got progressively worse. 

“I was struggling to eat or drink anything. Brushing my teeth hurt like crazy,” said Kourtney.   

At wits end, Kristy took Kourtney to the University of Washington’s complex dental program. There, they finally received a definitive diagnosis – amelogenesis imperfecta, a rare condition was causing the enamel on Kourtney’s teeth to wear away. It was suggested she see a prosthodontist. 

The local prosthodontist suggested Kourtney have her teeth capped; however, Kristy was skeptical. 

“Her teeth were hurting her to the point she said she just wanted them out,” said Kristy, “Just putting caps over teeth that were literally crumbling didn’t seem like a plan we should invest in.” 

Looking for a second opinion, Kristy and Kourtney visited one prosthodontist after another. While some suggested a course of action, none would consider taking insurance. Estimates for caps or inserts ranged in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Then They Discovered OP

Desperate to give her daughter some relief, Kristy started to consider traveling to another country for a procedure at a cheaper cost. Fortunately, while doing research in an online forum dedicated to amelogenesis imperfecta, she came in contact with Dr. McNeel. He said she should give Ozark Prosthodontics a call. Kristy called, and surprisingly, she said she was able to speak to Lori McNeel, OP’s patient advocate, right away.   

“I was just amazed,” said Kristy. “She said it would be complicated, but she was confident she could process our healthcare insurance for Kourtney.” 

Kristy was also surprised to learn the prosthodontists at OP were familiar with Kourtney’s condition.  They had even treated multiple cases of amelogenesis imperfecta. Her confidence in OP soared and they decided to drive to Arkansas. 

“We gave her insurance over the phone and Lori somehow got us approved the next day!” Kourtney said.  “Other places wouldn’t even try, and she was somehow able to do it all over the phone!”   

By the time they arrived in Fayetteville, Kourtney had lost multiple teeth and the ones left had holes in them. The roots of Kourtney’s teeth were also weak, destroying themselves from the inside. After consultation, it was determined that caps would only be a temporary solution. They began preparation for implant surgery. 

“They were all so incredibly kind,” remembers Kourtney. “The night before my first surgery, I got a call from Lori. I was in my hotel room with my family, so I walked out in the hallway where it was quiet.”

While on the phone, Lori insisted she speak with Dr. Mitchell Persenaire. The doctor told Kourtney not to worry. Once he removed all of her teeth and the implants were in place, she would no longer be in pain. 

“I went back in the room crying tears of joy,” said Kourtney. “My mom asked if something was wrong, and I said no! I was happy, because now there was hope! Dr. Persenaire made me believe there will be a day when I don’t hurt anymore.”   

Today, Kourtney is no longer in pain and is able to eat whatever she likes. Her mom says her smile looks beautiful and natural, and they more grateful than ever for finding OP. 

“Grateful is not a good enough word. I would recommend them a thousand times,” said Kristy.  “Whenever we had questions or concerns, we could text Lori. It didn’t matter what time it was, she got back to us right away. That really sets them apart. No other doctor would do that.”

If you have a story similar to Kourtney’s or know someone who is suffering from oral pain issues affecting their quality of life, OP can help. At Ozark Prosthodontics, Our Patients are Our Priority. 

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