Ann Arbor, MI — October 16, 2015 — A patient of a University of Michigan School of Dentistry clinical assistant professor hasn’t been singing the blues, or feeling blue for that matter, since he came to Dr. Jeffrey Rodney for some much-needed help. Rodney is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/Hospital Dentistry. He teaches is the School of Dentistry’s prosthodontics clinic.
The patient, Jerry Garcia, (not the same person who led the Grateful Dead before he died in 1995), had palate cancer removed in 2014. Following the surgery, Rodney made an obturator, a medical/dental prosthesis that closes an opening in the palate. “I’m a maxillofacial prosthodontist, so fabricating the obturator was not unusual for me,” Rodney said. “But what was different was working with Jerry to help him regain his voice so he could resume his passion, which is gospel singing.”
Rodney said Garcia, who’s from Adrian, Michigan, was “very disappointed” with how he sounded after he tried singing with the device the first few times. “As a result, my role as a prosthodontist shifted to one of becoming his cheerleader and advocate. I encouraged him to keep trying telling him ‘You can do it’,” Rodney said.
After several months of using the device, Garcia felt comfortable enough to record a CD and sent a copy to Rodney. “It was great to hear Jerry proudly and confidently sing again,” Rodney said.
To learn more about Dr. Rodney and his patient, click this link.