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This gift something to smile about

This gift something to smile about

by Paul Brinkley-Rogers
The Columbus Dispatch
December 25, 2002

The spirit of Christmas descended on a Hilltop household yesterday in the person of Dr. Brian Kvitko, a Clintonville dentist who came to make new dentures for 92 -year-old George Snyder--free of charge.

Snyder, a former mechanic, has been unable to eat his normal diet for more than two months because his lower partial plate disappeared while he was being treated at Ohio State University Medical Center for a broken hip.

The hospital was not sure how Snyder's teeth vanished, a spokesman said last week, but would try to replace them. The hospital asked Jerry Snyder, George Snyder's 73-year-old son, to send paperwork to a customer-service representative.

But then Kvitko called.

He arrived at the Snyder home yesterday carrying a box of supplies he would need to make a cast of Snyder's gums. He worked in the kitchen for more than an hour, finally holding up the cast in triumph for a pleased Snyder to see. Snyder's upper plate was loose, Kvitko said, so he decided to replace that, too.

"It's been a long time since I had a good meal." said Snyder, seated in a wheelchair. "It has been that way since October. I want to thank this dentist very much."

Kvitko, 47, said his staff and technicians volunteer sometimes to help in needy cases. He said he learned about George's plight from a story in Saturday's Dispatch. Also helping are Dr. John Sexton, Kvitko's associate and dental technicians Rich Ohde and William G. Wilson, who will make the teeth and the metal framework.

Kvitko is a member of Options, a statewide program that does volunteer community work and is sponsored by the Ohio Dental Association.

"I sometimes make house calls," said Kvitko, who was raised in Twinsburg in northeastern Ohio.

"When I was little there was a time when a doctor would make house calls.... I went to school to do dentistry and make a living, but at the same time I believe in care."

Kvitko said he and a technician will return to Snyder's house on New Year's Day with a preliminary work-up of the new dentures to make sure he is comfortable with them. A final version is to be ready a couple of days after that.

Meanwhile, Dr. Daniel E. Jolly, director of general practice residency at the OSU College of Dentistry, said the staff did not lose a panoramic X-ray of George's gums. It went astray after the hospital wheeled George back to his room after taking him to the college for examination, Jolly said.

Such problems would not happen if the hospital would replace its malfunctioning panorama machine, he said.

"Their panorex is broken. This kind of thing happens because the hospital has failed to purchase a new one. We have been urging them to do it," he said.

Told about Jolly's assertions, hospital spokesman David Crowford said the hospital plans to replace the panorex by the end of January at a cost of $80,000. Dentures are probably even more important for a patient's image than they are for eating, Jolly said.

"I have had people come back from the death bed" when they get new teeth, he said.

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