Incredible Health

US Navy vet gets new smile after sniper blew out his jaw, tongue in Iraq

  • (Kirby pictured left)

    (Kirby pictured left)  (Fox 5 Atlanta)

  • Dusty Kirby was on guard duty when he was shot in the face on Christmas Day 2006.

    Dusty Kirby was on guard duty when he was shot in the face on Christmas Day 2006.  (Fox5 Atlanta)

Since being shot by a sniper in Iraq on Christmas Day 2006, U.S. Navy veteran Dusty Kirby hasn’t been able to eat hard food or even smile with a full set of teeth. Now, nearly 10 years later, everyday tasks like eating, talking and breathing are easier after 32-year-old Kirby, of Canton, Georgia, underwent jaw surgery at a New York City hospital in April, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.

“As soon as I woke up, I could tell a difference,” Kirby told the news station. “And it was just fantastic.”

During the procedure at Lennox Hill Hospital, surgeons broke Kirby’s jaw in several places, realigned it and reassembled it. The surgery followed 30 previous procedures necessitated after a bullet blew out his teeth on the left side of his mouth, about one-third of his tongue, and about 5 inches of his jaw. The injury left Kirby with only two teeth for chewing, as well as a misaligned jaw and chronic pain.

“I watched him suffer all of the time,” Gail Kirby, his mother, told Fox 5 Atlanta.

Recently, a few months after his latest jaw surgery, he was fitted for dental implants.

When Kirby received his new teeth, he traversed the city smiling ear to ear.

“I can’t put that into words,” Kirby told the news station. “It’s awesome, every bit of it.”

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Next, the veteran is set to get a final set of dental implants, which will look more life-like, Fox 5 Atlanta reported. Then, finally, Kirby will feel whole again.

"He's going to be able to best that he can be now,” his mother told Fox 5 Atlanta, “and that's all I ever really wanted for him.”