Lamberth and Shirley Mitchell: Losing Teeth, but Keeping Spirit and Faith

A 65-year-old Person County man is successfully treated for a rare head and neck cancer, but the treatment side effects damaged his teeth and gums. He may have lost his pearly whites, but not his spirit or his faith.

Lamberth Mitchell
For six weeks prior to his surgery, Lamberth received daily hyperbaric chamber treatment that forced oxygen into the damaged gum tissues to aid in pain relief and healing.

For most of his 65 years, Lamberth Mitchell’s teeth were one of his best assets. These days, their absence is the center of attention.

For nearly 10 years, following successful treatment at UNC Hospitals for a rare cancer at the back of his throat where the intake of food and air meet, Lamberth of Roxboro, N.C., has lived with gum tissues damaged by the treatment that saved his life.  Poor circulation in those damaged tissues cause pain and loosen teeth. In whole or in part, many of Lamberth’s pearly whites fell out.

“The good news is I’m alive and cured,” Lamberth said. “The bad news is I lost my teeth. The good news is my team at UNC continues to take good care of me, and we can fix this.”

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Date: July 17, 2013