AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - One local group of oral surgeons is helping combat the negative influence bad teeth can have on a person through the 'Smile Again' program.
Every year, Amarillo Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery provides $50,000 for surgery for a lucky resident.
This year's recipient is Tammie Burch who has been living with bad teeth since she was a child.
Burch is hoping the 'Smile Again' program will help end cruel statements.
"I had somebody make a comment about 'Oh I wonder how many drugs she's done to have a mouth like that'," said Burch. "[It] was kind of a harsh blow for me."
The program is open to the public and free to enter. All it takes is answering a few questions, and submitting a few photos.
Burch found it's not just the opportunity that is special, but also the people who are helping make it a reality.
"Everybody here has been so amazing," said Burch. "From the time that I came in to meet them they've been just amazing. They know my fear of dentists. It's like, when you come in you're family, you're not just another patient."
Burch just can't wait to smile.
"What're you most excited for: to smile, and actually, smile big," said Burch.
Dr. Paul Wilkinson believes the program is all about making a difference in someone's life.
"There's not many things in life where you can say I walked in some place, walked out four to six hours later and my life completely changed," said Dr. Wilkinson.
Ruby Whitfield was the program's first recipient in 2016. She says her life is vastly different following the procedure.
"When you can't smile and be yourself around people, people gotta watch you when you smile and see your teeth and they go like - 'ugh'," said Whitfield. "It makes your self esteem go down, it doesn't make you feel good about yourself."
Dr. Wilkinson says the more people who apply can allow for the oral group to provide more opportunities like this in the future.
"The more the word gets out that this is available," said Dr. Wilkinson. "The more people that apply, the more we can go back to implant companies, labs and say we can market for you if you help sponsor it."
For now, Tammie says she's just ready to put her new teeth to good use by eating a good steak.