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3 on 6™ From a Patient's Perspective: Stephanie Saunders

In the summer of 2020, during a global pandemic, my life was completely changed. That's when I met Dr. Randy Robert's of the Utah Smile Clinic. This is my story.

I've always had problems with my teeth. I had a beautiful smile as a young adult, but spent years in dental offices getting root canal treatments, crowns, fillings, braces as an adult, etc. all in an effort to maintain my smile. Back in the early 2000's I started losing teeth to severe decay. One by one my back molars had to be pulled. I was an emotional wreck, but I adjusted and started using the teeth I had left to chew with. With that, medications, smoking, and a not so good lifestyle, my front teeth started breaking off. By 2015, I had lost all but five teeth on top, and seven or eight on the bottom.

A dentist created a partial denture for me but I hated it! I couldn't eat with it, and it was so uncomfortable! Eventually that partial put strain on my remaining upper-right front crown, which broke off and prevented the partial denture from fitting.

I went over a year without any front upper teeth and didn't know what I was going to do. Not being able to smile or eat, I didn't want to go out in public. This was one of the most mentally and emotionally difficult years of my life.

At this point I hadn't done any research and didn't know anything about the various full mouth restoration options, but I knew I wanted implants. That's when I came across a Facebook special that a local dentist was running. I went in for a consultation and ended up having the rest of my upper teeth extracted. I had 6 mini-implants placed, and got an upper snap in denture. Right after the dentist placed my implants, he retired. This pushed my upper completion off for nearly a year, so it was a long, long process.

I finally adjusted to my new upper smile, but now my lower teeth were bad and I didn't have a dentist. After vlogging my journey on YouTube for a few months, I decided to start a denture/implant support group on Facebook. As the group began to grow, I met more and more people that paid dentists to restore their smiles only to have bad experiences. Their stories scared me to death.

In 2018, I continued to learn, do research, and help others with their dental journeys. I had heard of the 3 on 6™ process, but didn't really know anything about it. In the summer of 2019, I had a girl in my group that received 3 on 6™ treatment and had nothing but positive things to say about it. She had her upper arch restored at a Smile Clinic office in Arizona. She shared her entire journey in my support group, and her teeth turned out beautifully! As she shared her story, myself and others became very interested in the 3 on 6™.

That's when another lady in the group traveled to the Smile Clinic office in Utah to see Dr. Randy Roberts. She had full mouth 3 on 6™ done by Dr. Roberts and explained to him that she discovered the treatment through my support group. Intrigued, he also decided to join my group.

In the summer of 2020, I messaged Dr. Roberts because I was interested in learning more about this procedure. I told him that I was considering the 3 on 6™ for my lower, but that I didn't think I would be a good candidate. I knew I had lost a significant amount of bone in the back of my lower jaw, on both sides. He asked me to send pictures of my lower teeth over to the office, so I did. After reviewing my pictures, the office manager called me and told me I was a good candidate for the 3 on 6™. Shocked and still terrified, I needed some time to think about this.

Losing and restoring your upper teeth is one thing, but losing and restoring your lower teeth is another. Having my lower teeth done meant I would be losing the rest of my natural teeth. I was terrified! Hundreds of thoughts raced through my head at this point. What if I have the surgery, he pulls all of my lower teeth and something goes wrong. What if he finds he can't get the implants in because of my bone loss? What if he can't get the bridges to stay on due to the severe bone loss in the backs? What if I end up in dentures the rest of my life?

I explained my fears and hesitation to Dr. Roberts, and he promised me everything would be alright. He told me he would take good care of me, and I trusted him, so I scheduled surgery for October of 2020.

Even after having made up my mind I was still very anxious and scared. Fear of the unknown I guess. I flew out to Utah for treatment and the night before my surgery I almost canceled my appointment. I decided though that I would go forward with it. I had high hopes but was prepared for a disappointing result. This was no reflection on Dr. Roberts as a dentist. I simply had seen too many bad implant surgeries in my Facebook group and thought there was no way any dentist was going to be able to get teeth to properly fit in the back of my lower jaw. My gum line basically was non-existent.

On October 6th, 2020 I went in for lower 3 on 6™ surgery at the Smile Clinic in Utah. I was comfortably sedated and don't remember much about the surgery itself other than it was painless. When I got back to the hotel and recovered from the sedation, I went to the mirror. Still scared, I had the first look at my new lower teeth. Wow! Just wow! It looked and felt like I had all of my natural lower teeth back. I was so happy! My teeth were perfect, and this was only my temporary teeth! I could breathe again. I often say I feel like I went to sleep with six and a half broken, infected, and abscessed teeth and woke up with all of my natural lower teeth again.

stephanie vlog youtube
Stephanie vlogging her smile journey on YouTube

I slept most of the day after my surgery. Day 2 wasn't too bad, just some mild discomfort. Day 3 I think was the worst day, which is usually the worst day for everyone who goes through implant surgery, but it still wasn't terribly bad. I took 800 mg Ibuprofen for the pain and alternated with Ketorolac 10 mg. Both of these are anti-inflammatory medications, so they not only relieve pain, but also help to reduce swelling. By day 5 I was pretty much back to normal. In fact I had to keep reminding myself I had just had surgery so that I wouldn't accidentally chew on my teeth. After 3 on 6™ surgery you are supposed to maintain a soft diet while the implants fuse to the bone.

I came back to Kentucky and healed for about five months before returning to Utah. In March of 2021, I got my permanent zirconia bridges placed. They are beautiful! I love my new 3 on 6™ smile! So much in fact that I'm having my upper mini-implants and snap in denture converted to a 3 on 6™ in January of 2022. I will then have a full 3 on 6™ smile!

facebook live
Stephanie hosting Dr. Randy Roberts in a Facebook Live event for her support group

Dr. Randy Roberts and Smile Clinic and the 3 on 6™ treatment he pioneered have changed my life. The confidence that I now have when I smile is incredible! I can eat anything I want with no pain, no worry of teeth breaking off, no multiple visits back and forth to the dentist for extractions, root canals, crowns, or fillings. Since my 3 on 6™ surgery, I continue to offer support, both personally and through my group on Facebook, to those that are losing their teeth and needing full mouth restoration. I am also a dental advocate now and help others who are interested in the 3 on 6™ procedure. I am always available to answer any questions and help guide others on their journey to a new smile.

Stephanie and her beautiful smile

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