PEABODY — Balloons, banners and confetti greeted Scott Murphy when he walked into the Coastal Dental Arts in Peabody Monday afternoon.
It was his first visit to the office — and one that would change his life.
Murphy, a 44-year-old Peabody resident, won $30,000 worth of dental care in a contest hosted by Coastal Dental and its owner, Dr. Peter Brzoza. The goal was to provide extensive dental care to someone who couldn’t afford it, and who deserved a better smile.
He had no idea he’d won the grand prize before walking in. When his eyes landed on a giant fake check in the office’s waiting room, tears began rolling down his cheeks.
“I can finally show my teeth again in smiles,” Murphy said in front of the display.
Murphy graduated from Peabody High in 1996 and was a part of the 1993 Super Bowl football team. He’d been able to hide the missing teeth in the back of his mouth for years, but his front teeth recently began to break at the root and fall out. Now, only eight teeth are left in his mouth.
In an essay submitted to the contest, Murphy said his teeth cause him extreme anxiety every time he speaks. He hides them in any way he can and said he has the lowest self-esteem of his life.
Murphy was also in a medically-induced coma for 10 days in 2007 after a mountain biking accident. He had ruptured his mesenteric artery and was given a 20% chance to live.
While he’s since fully recovered, his teeth made him feel like he wouldn’t have a good life. He thought he was out of options when it came to fixing them until Monday’s visit.
“This is exciting. This is life-changing,” Murphy smiled. “I can eat a steak now without issues and all that good stuff.”
Brzoza will remove the broken roots of Murphy’s missing teeth and put in titanium implants that will hold a full mouth of working teeth.
The contest also awarded $3,000 worth of work to a runner-up and $500 in work to a third-place winner.
“We feel that we have such a strong ability to help some of the people who can’t afford it because dentistry, at the end of the day, is expensive, especially when we’re talking full mouth enhancements,” Brzoza said. “It feels good that at least one person will get help.”
It’s the first time Brzoza has done the giveaway. It’s also the first time his colleague Brian Downey has seen a dentist in the area do something like this.
“(Coastal Dental’s) staff is very caring for their patients and just people in general,” said Downey, who works with Brzoza’s office to provide patients with Invisalign products. “It’s really from their own values that they wanted to do this, and they’re doing it because they care about helping people in need.”
More than 60 people applied to the contest. Brzoza doesn’t know yet if he’ll hold it again, but he does plan to do more giveaways.
On Sept. 23, the office will host an Invisalign event where patients can receive $1,000 off treatment. It also hosts monthly raffles for teeth whitening and other services or fun giveaways.
Murphy said he’s grateful to Brzoza and his team.
“I’m going to keep paying it forward,” Murphy said. “I already help people across the street, I hold doors, I shovel people’s driveways. I use the term ‘pay it forward’ a lot because that’s just how the world should be.”