Robert Porter, 31, of Belmont has always been a bit of a daredevil.

Head injuries. Broken bones. Torn knee muscles. Stomach pain. He even had to leave the military seven years ago because of an injury. Now he’s living with the consequences. The head injuries he suffered led to a seizure disorder, sometimes as many as 60 seizures in three days. During those seizures, he was prone to grinding his teeth, which caused a lot of damage.

In addition to badly damaged teeth, Porter has suffered 17 abscesses during those five years. The pain was so intense that he drained many of the abscesses himself and pulled out a couple of his teeth.

Porter says he couldn’t find anyone to help him. The insurance he had with his disability coverage wouldn’t pay to fix his teeth. Other dentists he checked with weren’t willing to put him under general anesthesia to remove what remained of his teeth because of his seizures.

At times, he says, he was looked at like he was a drug user because of the state of his teeth. When he did find a dentist willing to work with him, he couldn’t afford the cost.

Meanwhile, nobody would hire him because his teeth were so bad.

Three years ago, Porter got engaged, but he maintained he wasn’t going to get married until he could smile in his wedding pictures.

He was assisted locally by his primary care provider, Paul Mazur, M.D., who recommended he contact Waldo County Dental Care. There, he met Mandy Hood and Michelle Gallant, members of the dental team, who connected him with their network of area voluntary dental providers.

This unique partnership allowed Porter to receive help from local dentist John Lewis, D.D.S., and Bruce Spaulding of Coastal Prosthetics Dental Lab. They were also able to connect with Phillip Higgins, D.M.D., who extracted Porter’s remaining 22 teeth at Eastern Maine Medical Center.

While Spaulding was making his dentures, Porter spent several hours in the lab and remembers Spaulding saying he was going to make the dentures out of the strongest material available. While Porter is still getting used to his new dentures, he is quick to add, “It’s a better pain than feeling sick from the infections.”

Porter is hopeful with his new smile he might be able to get a job where he doesn’t have to do heavy lifting but instead gets to interact with people.

His fiancée is thrilled with the new smile and after three years, they have set a wedding date for June.

“Honestly, these guys, Mandy, Michelle, the dentists, my doctor and Dr. Spaulding, have been great," Porter said. "I can’t thank them enough for how much they’ve done. They are very good people and I would recommend them to anyone.”