SAN ANTONIO -

A San Antonio man who could not otherwise afford dental care will be receiving a new set of teeth on Thursday morning, thanks to dental employees who helped raise money to cover the cost of dental restoration.

Chris Tillotson, 28, said he has not smiled in years, after his teeth began to seriously decay in 2006. Tillotson said eating was especially problematic, because chewing often resulted in dental breakage or pain.

“Most part of my prime, I haven't been able to smile,” Tillotson said. “I've always wanted to get this fixed, but it's just the price of dental, with no insurance. It's ridiculous.”

Upon hearing of Tillotson’ s case, the staff at Clear Choice Dental created a fundraising team called “Miles for Smiles,” which aimed to raise $40,000 to cover the cost of Tillotson’ s dental surgery. As part of their fundraising efforts, the group participated in a 200-mile relay race through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and accepted donations for their efforts.

Dr. Alfonso Monarres was one of the 12 team members who participated in the race and will perform Tillotson’ s surgery on Thursday.

“The most amazing thing is to see their personal transformation,” Monarres said. “To see how they become different human beings. How they change their lives, they're happy people again."

Team members raised enough money to cover the cost of materials, but will donate the labor needed for Tillotson’ s dental restoration.

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