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Grand Rapids woman wins life-changing free smile makeover

Kimberley Ivy, 56, had all her teeth pulled because she wasn't absorbing nutrients well after a weight loss surgery nearly 20 years ago.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Grand Rapids woman will soon get a brand new, $50,000 smile for free. It's part of an annual program done by Advanced Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Studio. 

Thursday's announcement was a surprise for Kimberley Ivy, 56. She's been struggling with her dental health for years now, but that's all going to change soon. 

Dr. AJ Lytle and Dr. Mark Jesin delivered the big news. Ivy says she didn't see this coming at all.       

"It doesn't even feel real because when I seen the Facebook post, on the contest I just said 'What the heck,'" she said.

Ivy applied for the Smile Again Program because she's lost sixty pounds since getting dentures a few years ago, which no longer fit her and make it hard to eat. All her teeth had been pulled because she wasn't absorbing nutrients well after a weight loss surgery nearly 20 years ago.

That stress plus the tragedy of losing her young grandson has been almost too much to bear.

"When they say 'stress kills,' I believe it because it's trying me, but I refuse to let it," she says.

"It's hard because it's my mom so I want her to be happy," Jaydon Ivy says.

Ivy is a retired Grand Rapids school bus driver, and she's working again driving limos and party buses to help take care of her grandkids. She wants a new smile to help her feel confident again for them and for herself. 

"My birthday is Christmas, so this'll be my present," she says.

"To give a gift to her like this that she couldn't otherwise be able to afford is very special," Dr. Jesin says.

More than 400 people applied this year for the makeover, which is a custom-made implant of new teeth. With a new smile, she hopes finding love again could be possible and she's excited to eat some of the things she hasn't had in years, like salad and steak.

"I just want to feel younger again," Ivy says.

She's a few months away from the life-changing surgery. After the holidays, Ivy will get her scans and prep work done before the surgery early next year.

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