A BRAVE squaddie who completed three tours during his military service with the Royal Scots is receiving the ultimate wedding gift – having his smile rebuilt by a team of dental experts.
Bosses at cosmetic dental practice Vitaliteeth in Edinburgh stepped in after learning Neil Raeburn, who suffers from Fibromyalgia, would be too embarrassed to smile at his big day on October 17.
Now he will get more than £8000 of state-of-the art treatment for free over the next six months, to ensure he gets photos to remember when he ties the knot with long-term partner, Kathryn, 28.
Neil, 30, had already undergone some basic dental treatment at Ocean Drive NHS dentist in Leith, which is next door to private practice Vitaliteeth. When both practices were taken over by new owners recently, they carried out a review of his case.
At that point they learned that the former soldier, who served in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Iraq over his five year army career, is now battling Fibromyalgia, surviving on a small military pension and was becoming increasingly upset by the thought of being unable to smile for his wedding pics.
Adding to Neil’s woe, recent reforms to the Department of Work and Pensions resulted in the removal of his specialist vehicle which enabled him to drive, impacting the young veteran’s independence and confidence.
Una Moran, Relationship Manager and Patient Coordinator at Vitaliteeth, said: “When we heard Neil’s story during the case review, we didn’t hesitate.
“For a man to have served his country so selflessly to find himself in this situation is dreadful. As soon as it was brought to the attention of our team everyone agreed straight away that we wanted to help.
“Neil is a lovely guy with a young family and should be looking forward to everything about his big day – not worrying about how he won’t be able to smile.
“We are determined to make sure that he has the broadest, brightest grin for his wedding and will be beaming in photographs that he can cherish for the rest of his life.”
Neil will marry his long-term sweetheart, Kathryn, at the Queen Charlotte Rooms in Leith. The couple, who met through friends, have two sons aged eight and two.
Delighted Neil said: “I owe so much to Una and the team at Vitaliteeth as they have been unbelievably kind and supportive in making sure that I get this incredible gift in time for my wedding.
“My teeth were a huge concern for me and considering my circumstances and commitments to my young family, it seemed the only feasible option was to be lumbered with dentures for the rest of my life.
“I am excited for the treatment, but most definitely nervous, as the Fibromyalgia which has affected my oral health also significantly sharpens my pain sensors.
“But now that I have been able to get to know the team it has helped to put my mind at ease and the thought of cracking a beaming smile on the day I marry Kathryn makes me so happy.”
The work will be led by Dr Atif Bashir, principal dentist and clinical director with Be Dental, a Scottish dental group which already owns highly-respected practices in Falkirk as well as in Moodiesburn and Possilpark, Glasgow.
Those are combined practices catering for NHS patients while also offering hi-tech cosmetic dental treatments privately. They recently acquired neighbouring surgeries Vitaliteeth and Ocean Drive Dental Care – which have 13,000 patients between them.
Vitaliteeth is on track to become one of Scotland’s foremost cosmetic practices and already has the latest drill and pain free treatments, including a hard tissue laser. It also offers patients the chance to attend an anxiety clinic to put them entirely at ease about treatments including implants, veneers, smile makeovers and adult teeth straightening.
Also involved in Neil’s treatment will be Lisbon-based Dr Diogo Viegas, one of Europe’s most renowned implantologists, who will insert the hi-tech dental implants which will be the foundation of Neil’s new smile.
During six months of treatment he will also have several problem teeth removed, have restorative ceramic crowns fitted and undergo teeth whitening.
For further information visit: http://www.vitaliteeth.co.uk/.