By Douglas Hackleman - September 10, 2019

Twenty-nine-year-old Patrick Neitzel, the younger of Steve and Mary Neitzel’s two sons, has received extensive restorative dental treatment at LLU School of Dentistry.

Patrick begins treatment.

Diagnosed in high school with OCD and Schizophrenia, Patrick had been living on the street homeless for three years, his whereabouts unknown to his parents. His rescue was at the hands of Bridgett and Erin, two deputies of the Riverside Police Department's homeless unit, who had gained his confidence and steered him toward badly needed assistance.

While living on the street, Patrick had fallen heavily into the use of methamphetamine which is destructive to the mouth and its dentition.

The condition of Patrick's teeth upon arrival at LLUSD.

Back in his parents’ home, Patrick was referred to LLUSD by Theresa Cutler, DDS, Escondido dentist to his parents and a teaching alumnus of the School of Dentistry.

When Patrick finally received badly needed dental attention, his intake screening at the LLUSD clinic was by Balsam Jekki, BDS, associate professor, Division of General Dentistry, who saw a very nervous and anxious patient. She referred him to the School’s Advanced Dental Education Program in Prosthodontics where he came under the care of then third-year graduate student, Hatem Alqarni, BDS.

Patrick received reassurance from his mother.

With his gentle touch and reassuring manner, Dr. Alqarni was able to thoroughly assess the condition of Patrick’s dentition and the bony structures of his jaw with advanced imaging techniques before referring him to the School’s Advanced Dental Education Program in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to begin the preparation for dental implants that the young man would require.

With his restoration nearly complete, Patrick poses with Dr. Hatem Alqarni.

Senior oral surgery resident Luiza Portnoff, DDS’14, initially removed a severely abscessed wisdom tooth (#32) that was causing Patrick a lot of pain. And in subsequent visits, her oral surgery resident successors removed all of his thoroughly compromised teeth before returning him to Dr. Alqarni who prepared the patient for the implants that the oral surgeons placed in his lower jaw.

What little was left of Patrick's dentition was removed.

Six months later, Dr. Alqarni affixed a complete, lower, fixed denture to the implants of an increasingly relaxed Patrick, and fitted a prosthetic, removable partial (false teeth) to his upper jaw.

Patrick's restored dentition: full arch implants below, removable prosthesis above.

Rami Jekki, DDS, assistant professor and associate program director, Advanced Dental Education Program in Prosthodontics, has provided clinical oversight and coordination throughout Patrick’s restoration and takes considerable pleasure in the clinical skills of the graduate students and residents who provided the professional services that returned to the patient a pain-free, functional, and esthetically pleasing mouth.

L-R: Dr. Hakem Alqarni. Patrick Neitzel, Patrick's parents, and Dr. Rami Jekki

On April 10, 2019, just having received the upper removable and lower fixed complete dentures from Dr. Alqarni, Patrick held up a mirror and admired his new smile. “They did a great job. I’m really impressed,” he enthused. “They saved my life. I’m thankful for all the help.” He smiled, “I can now eat theater popcorn again.”