Veteran Marine receives new set of teeth

Robert Trego says new smile will help gain opportunities, change life


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A United States Marine Corp veteran got a new set of teeth from a local dentist Wednesday.

Robert Trego received his new set of teeth after he suffered a gunshot wound while he was on deployment in Iraq in 2008.

Trego served more than four years as a Marine Corps Infantryman.

After Trego was wounded, the hospital had given him an antibiotic called Clindamycin that caused his teeth to deteriorate.

"They started falling out and I kept getting abscess after abscess," Trego said.

Trego sad it all went downhill from there. he developed an addictions to drugs and became homeless for some time.

Even with VA benefits, Trego was unable to afford dental care.

"I've been writing letters to dentists asking for help or a payment plan because I haven't been able to eat in so long, much less smile," Trego said.

Dental Place of Jax dental surgeon Dr. Nicole Bunch heard his story and wanted to offer her services to help the veteran, who said his new smile will turn his life around.

"I wanted to give him a blessing," Bunch said.

Trego's pastor contributed about $600 and Bunch donated nearly $5,000 in services and products.

For Trego, the procedure meant more than just teeth.

"Confidence...I can smile," Trego said. "I haven't smiled in so many years."

Trego is sober now and on the right track. He said his new smile will help him gain more job opportunities and change his life for the better.

"All I can think about is now I have to bust my butt. Now I don't have any excuses at all. There's no holding me back now," Trego said. "It's sad that people judge skin-deep, but when you look good and feel good, you can attain anything you want."

Bunch is also very happy she could help Trego.

"Absolutely wonderful. I feel like he can do anything now," Bunch said.