A Patient Story: Courage In the Line of Fire

  • *actual patient not pictured

Clay Behrendt has just finished his training to be a firefighter at the San Diego Firefighting Academy here in San Diego. He is currently stationed up north at Mammoth Mountain with the city department and is awaiting a move to the forest service. And while his training and job take a significant amount of dedication and strength, he also found a use for that determination in his personal life…to undergo and recuperate quickly from not one, but two oral and maxillofacial surgeries within a 3 month period.

While training in San Diego, Clay was evaluated by Dr. Richard McLaughlin for braces in order to address an underbite. At that time, Dr. McLaughlin suggested that he needed to have his wisdom teeth removed. However, Clay was surprised to hear that he might also need to have corrective jaw, or orthognathic surgery. The reason was that Clay’s underbite created a misalignment of his teeth, and without repositioning of his jaw for proper alignment, over time his teeth could be permanently damaged or broken. Dr. McLaughlin suggested that he make an appointment with Dr. Grant McGann.

Clay called McGann Facial Design to schedule his “two-in-one” appointment to check his wisdom teeth and have a consultation for possible jaw surgery. Making the appointment with Lauren and Natalia was “super easy and the ladies were super nice.”  His initial impression of the office? It was really clean and everyone was so very friendly. His observation was that this did not feel like a doctor’s office. “You know how no one ever talks in doctors’ offices? Well that is not this office. It felt fun.”

More importantly, Clay was put at ease by his consultation with Dr. McGann. Outside of finding him very tall, he found Dr. McGann to be a “really nice guy, very funny, and thorough”, going over every detail of what the surgeries would entail. He asked if Clay had any questions, insisting that no questions are dumb questions.

Clay was scheduled to have his wisdom teeth removed in Dr. McGann’s office, but the more involved jaw surgery was to be carried out in the hospital. The wisdom teeth were scheduled first and went smoothly as expected. Three months after having his wisdom teeth removed, and after several follow-up appointments, his orthodontist gave him the green light to move forward with the jaw surgery – a Lefort Osteotomy on the top jaw and a Mid-Sagittal Osteotomy on the bottom jaw.

December 3, 2013 was the day. Prior to surgery, he had watched a video of a similar surgery (Lefort 1) on YouTube, even asking Dr. McGann to film his own surgery, but Dr. McGann joked that he couldn’t because his hands were too big! All kidding aside, Clay tells us that the surgery was rough. This was his first experience with anesthesia and his first surgery, so he wasn’t exactly sure of how he would do compared to other patients. Unfortunately, he needed to stay an extra night in the hospital until he was able to keep fluids down. When Dr. McGann visited him, he was encouraged by Dr. McGann’s words – Clay’s surgery was one of the smoothest he has ever done. He let Clay know that the first week was going to be the roughest, but that he would heal quickly because he was healthy and strong. After all, healthy people heal more quickly. And who is more healthy than a firefighter? The next day, Clay felt good, and when Dr. McGann examined Clay’s jaw, he said he was well enough to be discharged with a follow-up after one week. One week later, the swelling was almost gone, to the point where Dr. McGann asked him what he was doing differently – amazing progress! Another week passed, and at his last appointment just before Christmas, the swelling was 95% gone.

While he does need to have another follow-up and he has lost a bit of weight after the surgery, Clay is certain that if he had to do it all over he would definitely have Dr. McGann perform his surgery. He jokes that while being moved to recovery, he asked the nurse if it was “too late to change my mind.” The surgery was tough, no question. As Dr. McGann put it to Clay, it will be rough because the surgery is of the mouth and not the foot. You smile with your mouth. You laugh with your mouth. You talk with your mouth. You eat with your mouth.

Clay says that even though it was tough, the team at McGann Facial Design “made it really easy and not so stressful.” He enjoyed having a younger doctor who talked and joked with him while at the same time looks at the process as a true professional. He “has a good conversation with you, which I liked.” We are naturally glad that Clay had a positive outcome and thrilled to help all patients be as healthy as possible, even if that means chasing fires for a living.

A Patient Story: As Good As It Could Be

  • *actual patient not pictured

Frank Wahl is 90 years old. And he has a long story to go along with his years – both personal and dental. But, he assures us, “I’m sure you don’t want to hear all that at this time.” Years ago, in his youth, he broke off 4 of his front teeth. As a result of that trauma, those front teeth were ground down, and his dentists placed gold posts upon which permanent teeth were attached. Fast forward to his young adult years and his entry into the armed forces. Unfortunately, he developed some problems with those gold-posted implants, and they were replaced by a bridge. That bridge, thankfully, has lasted for over 62 years!

No stranger to extensive dental work, Frank found himself in need of some more help of the dental kind. A piece of tooth had broken off, and it had become painful. His dentist ultimately advised removal of the tooth, and recommended that Dr. Grant McGann handle the extraction. His experience with Dr. McGann is summed up in this simple statement: “I would recommend him to anyone as my local dentist did. I think he is the best dentist.”

Frank started with calling the office to schedule an appointment with the team at McGann Facial Design, and was scheduled to have the work done the very next day. His first impression? “Let me say to start with that the personnel are really, really wonderful people.” He found that the staff treated him well, were friendly, and that the office was “extremely clean and very nice.”

Dr. McGann confirmed that the tooth needed to be removed. As it so happens, Frank has known people to have molars removed; and as he recounts, it was a really terrible deal for them. But Dr. McGann put his mind at ease, making it clear that there would be some pain with the extraction, and that as with any procedure, there were risks associated. But Frank was ready. After having his front 4 teeth knocked out, one back molar couldn’t be that bad! Right?

The extraction was scheduled for the next day. Frank required local anesthesia and received that in the form of a shot. Frank asked about the medications on the instrument tray due to his current medication regimen, and Dr. McGann welcomed the inquiry, answering all of his questions thoroughly and completely. The tooth needed to be broken into two pieces to be removed, but according to Frank, Dr. McGann did it “very fast and really, really knows what he’s doing. I can tell you the truth. He said the pain would last 8 or more hours. But it didn’t last 2 hours and it wasn’t severe…and I had no after effects! It was as good as it could be.”

After the appointment, he was contacted by the McGann team to ensure that he was doing well. Dr. McGann called the next day….all was good and great! Overall, Frank’s experience was as many other patients’ experiences. Smooth sailing. He says of Dr. McGann, “He is a real businesslike person…he came in and did what he was going to do.” And that, as Frank likes to say, “is as good as it could be.”

Sleeping Beauty: A Patient’s Sleep Apnea Journey

  • *actual patient not pictured


Mr. Michael Munsey knew all too well the symptoms of sleep apnea—loud snoring, lack of energy during the day, morning headaches, and restless sleep. Unfortunately, he had been struggling with the condition for years and was finding little success in treatment. His lack of success was not for a lack of effort. In fact, under the care of his ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeon, he underwent sinus surgery hoping to provide some symptomatic relief. Naturally, he was disappointed when the symptoms persisted; and like many who suffer from the condition, his everyday bedtime ritual involved using his continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. The CPAP device is a face mask that provides a constant positive pressure, keeping the tongue away from the back of the throat passage and one’s airway wide open. While the CPAP was effective, sleeping with an appliance on your face every night is less than desirable, and Michael was still in search of a long-term solution. After further consolation with his ENT, he was referred to Dr. Grant McGann, believing that perhaps Dr. McGann’s experience in dealing with this condition could provide an alternative perspective.

Toward A Solution

While Michael was anxious to make some forward progress on his condition, he also considers himself a very careful guy. In other words, he likes to double check almost everything…including his ENT’s advice. Before coming to see him in person, he wanted to know more about Dr. McGann. What made him a specialist? How can an oral surgeon help with sleep apnea? What could he expect from the visit? To help fill in his database of questions, he looked over Dr. McGann’s website to check his credentials, evaluate his experience, meet the staff virtually, and get an overall sense of what was ahead of him. As there was every indication that Dr. McGann might be able to help, the appointment was made with little delay.

On the day of the initial consultation, Michael noted how he was impressed with the office environment, and particularly the kindness of the staff—“very nice folks”, were his exact words. While the kindness of the staff no doubt made the visit easier, he was naturally anxious to hear what Dr. McGann would have to say about his condition. Fortunately, after what he described as a “very thorough” consultation with Dr. McGann, he was pleased to hear that surgical intervention could help. He learned that sleep apnea has a number of contributing factors, and Dr. McGann felt that repositioning the bones of the jaw to increase the size of his airway (orthognathic surgery) could make a positive impact on his condition.

The Correction

The day for Michael’s jaw surgery was set and the case was scheduled at Sharp Memorial Hospital, directly across the street from the McGann Facial Design office. While McGann Facial Design performs the majority of operations in the comfort of their office, a few procedures routinely require general anesthesia as well as a 1-2 night stay; and are therefore scheduled at Sharp Memorial. From a convenience and general safety perspective, this was comforting to Michael, as he had already undergone one previous surgery in his journey to treat his sleep apnea. Despite his natural nerves, Michael noted that he felt very much at ease the day of his operation and when asked why, he indicated that Dr. McGann and his entire staff had essentially prepared him for every step of this journey. Their attention to every detail, from preoperative instructions to a thorough informed consent was exactly what he needed.

According to Michael, this commitment to caring did not end after the operation and subsequent discharge from the hospital. A personal follow-up call from Dr. McGann himself was noteworthy as was the office’s commitment to, what seemed to be, addressing every facet of his care. In the case of Mr. Munsey, this patient commitment became particularly important as he unfortunately developed a post-operative infection. Was this a disruption in his recovery? Yes. Was this a surprise? No, because Dr. McGann had informed him of the small risk of infection prior to the case and that such an infection, if it were to develop, would be treated. Armed with information and antibiotics, dealing with the issue was made significantly easier.


Now six (6) months removed from surgery, so far, so good for Michael as it relates to sleep apnea. No more CPAP. No more snoring. Mr. Munsey is still a careful guy, but he has no doubts now that Dr. Grant Mcgann and McGann Facial Design know their stuff.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that needs careful attention and treatment by the proper specialist. If you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea, call McGann Facial Design today for a consultation.

Click Here  to read more information from the Mayo Clinic on the symptoms, causes, risk factors, complications, tests, diagnosis, and treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

You Can’t Handle The Tooth ~ San Diego Patient Shares His

Dental Care Experience With Dr. McGann

  • Patient Michael Gold

Michael Gold has historically never been a fan of dental care. In fact, it took him years to find a general dentist in San Diego that he fully trusts. So when his trusted dentist told him that one of his teeth needed to be removed after a crown had broken, he naturally felt a degree of anxiety. However, trusting his dentist’s word and despite the tooth not being painful, he knew that he could not avoid the tooth being removed; so he called the oral surgeon recommended by his dentist – Dr. Grant McGann. Michael’s first impression was that McGann Facial Design was an efficient and professional practice. He was told that he could fill out the necessary registration form online before his appointment and procedure (which would be performed on the same day), saving him 20–30 minutes on the day of the visit; and he appreciated the consideration of his time.

Prior to his appointment, Michael was admittedly very nervous and had a natural degree of apprehension. Thankfully, these fears were quickly put to rest by the staff. He was surprised that the office staff actually read the registration form before his appointment! They were friendly and weren’t asking him questions that had already been answered on the registration form – again, a really good sign! Beyond knowing his details, the dental assistants were extremely friendly and answered every question in detail, never making him feel that he was pestering them with silly questions. This level of professionalism continued with his interaction with Dr. McGann, who carefully explained every detail of his proposed treatment plan – the procedure, how long it would take, anesthetic options, and the potential complications (which he thankfully never experienced).

The procedure went just as Dr. McGann had explained. After some carefully placed local anesthetic (only 3 sharp pricks!), and removal of the tooth, Michael was on his way home. But most importantly, he went home feeling safe and comfortable. After receiving a follow-up voicemail from Dr. McGann later that day, Michael felt compelled to share his story. Not only did Dr. McGann call personally to check on him, he left his cell and home number in case Michael had any questions or concerns…he really cared about his patient’s well-being, and Michael was appreciative of that fact. In the end, Michael’s story is not about fear and apprehension, it is about how the care of an entire professional team can turn anxiety into trust and appreciation.

Please contact McGann Facial Design today  at (858)874-8181 to see how we can keep your mouth healthy and happy.

San Diego Mother Shares Her

Oral Surgery Experience With Dr. McGann

  • Favour treated by Fresh Start Surgical and Dr. Grant McGann

Elvia Tinney is a San Diego wife, mother, and nurse. Elvia and her husband Matthew serve as host parents to two children that needed a loving home while receiving facial and reconstructive jaw surgery. In this audio interview, Elvia shares how Dr. McGann, as part of Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, donated their time and talent to treat these deserving children.

Please contact us at 858-874-8181 to learn more about how corrective jaw surgery can transform your quality of life.

Yelp Review Search for “Best San Diego Oral Surgeon”

Brings College Graduate to McGann Facial Design


Jolie Pinkerton

Jolie Pinkerton


Jolie Pinkerton was 21 years old when the infection in her jaw after having her wisdom teeth removed began to impact her daily life. She visited several dentists and oral surgeons in the area and she felt that nobody believed her or could understand the pain she was experiencing. That’s when she went to Yelp Reviews, one of the top internet review sites for dental and healthcare professionals, typed in “San Diego Best Oral Surgeon” and found Dr. McGann and McGann Facial Design patient reviews. After reading the many positive reviews, Jolie scheduled an appointment and the same day she received jaw surgery from Dr. McGann.

Jolie talked about her jaw surgery experience recently and how she’s doing today. You can listen by clicking on the play button below.

Dr. McGann Gives San Diego Thrill Seeker His Smile Back


  • Patient David Sims surfing off the lip in Bali

David Sims, born and raised in San Diego, has always been a thrill seeker. As a young teenager, he came up with the adolescent brilliant idea of surfing down slime in a drainage ditch. That stunt caused him to kiss the concrete and shatter three front teeth resulting in three root canals and three new crowns.

Fast forward to his 20’s – Dave was snowboarding at Big Bear Mountain looking for the biggest jumps. He committed to a jump, lost control in mid-air, and landed face-down on the unforgiving mountain, fracturing his nose, injuring his lip, and breaking one of his root canals.

  • Dave’s toothless thrill seeking grin

Almost 20 years later, Dave was on a surf vacation in Bali, Indonesia when at the end of his trip he was offered a job by a resort owner to come back the following tourist season and manage the resort activities. Dave jumped at the chance to live in a foreign country, surf perfect waves, and run a resort. He packed his life in a few suitcases, rented his San Diego home, and began his new journey.

One week into his new life in Bali, Dave experienced pain from a tooth infection- from an infection in one of his front teeth from his earlier snowboarding injury.  His local dental treatment in Bali worked- for the moment.  After two years of managing the resort and working in the tourist industry, Dave’s entrepreneurial spirit saw an opportunity for family friendly activities to support the tourists vacationing in Bali. To fill this need, he created a Bali Kids Camp providing an all inclusive fun camp for kids, including surfing lessons and his wife’s gourmet cooking for the next three years until they returned to San Diego. Soon after arriving in San Diego, Dave began to experience pain in his teeth again and was forced to find an oral surgeon to treat his continuing problem that was impacting his lifestyle and quality of life.

  • Dave created this logo for his kid’s camp in Bali

Like most people, Dave used the internet to begin his search for a local San Diego oral surgeon to treat him and help him get back to a normal pain-free life. After doing a lot of researching, talking with different dentists,  and reading former patient reviews on Yelp, he discovered that Dr. McGann and McGann Facial Design were recommended by dentists and received top patient reviews, so he decided to meet with Dr McGann and discover how he could resume an active, healthy lifestyle again.

Dave had this to say about his experience with Dr. McGann and the McGann Facial Design team,

Dr. McGann was extremely thorough in explaining my treatment options- before, during, and after my oral surgery.  He even rejected the recommendation of several dentists I’d seen recommending the removal of several teeth. I knew at that point that Dr. McGann had my best interest and wasn’t out to make a quick buck.

After more than a year since Dr. McGann treated Dave with a bone graft to prepare for dental implants and replace his missing teeth, Dave is back to surfing, supporting his wife’s catering business, and creating visual concepts for healthcare companies using his graphic design and art training received over the years.

Before completing this interview, Dave concluded with, “I can smile again without being embarrassed.”

The Story of Beloved’s Fresh Start


Dr. McGann, a San Diego oral surgeon, first met Beloved in 2010, while serving as a volunteer for Fresh Start Surgical Gifts. Fresh Start is a local San Diego organization dedicated to transforming the lives of disadvantaged infants, children, and teens suffering from physical deformities by giving them the gift of reconstructive surgery and related healthcare services.

  • Dr. McGann & Beloved during 1 of 5 facial reconstructions performed by Dr. McGann

  • Beloved, shortly after his first series of surgeries

As a nine-year old boy, Beloved suffered a devastating facial injury from a land mine blast in his native Zimbabwe. Local doctors, without access to modern reconstructive technologies, did their best to stitch together his tongue and lips, taking tissue from his abdominal wall to fashion a mouth. Despite their best efforts, the result was hard to look at, and even harder to live with. Beloved was called terrible names, including “Monster”; but when he returned to school, his face proved such a distraction that he eventually refused to return.

Dr. McGann donated countless hours, meticulous attention to detail, and more than five surgeries to reconstruct Beloved’s jaw shattered by a land mine. And in doing so, Dr. Mcgann restored his smile and confidence to face the world with a fresh start. ~ Elvia Tinney, Host Mother to Beloved

In the aftermath of Beloved’s tragic injury, caring people, organizations, and physicians have been instrumental in restoring Beloved’s injured face, providing him the opportunity to be a normal child and share his inspiring story with others. At the age of 15, not attending school and living with his grandmother, Beloved met Jennifer Trubenbach from Orange County, California. Jennifer, President and Executive Director of Operation of Hope, a nonprofit organization that has performed thousands of free cleft-lip, cleft-palate, and other facial reconstructive surgeries for those in need, worked tirelessly to return to the States with Beloved and convinced surgeons at UCLA to begin the long process of reconstructing his face.

  • Image Credit: People Magazine

After learning of his story and need for continued medical care from a friend at their church, registered nurse Elvia Tinney and her husband, Matthew volunteered to have Beloved live with their family in Mission Viejo. A job change in 2010 brought the Tinney family and Beloved to San Diego. While attending their new church, the Tinneys learned about Fresh Start, a local San Diego organization dedicated to coordinating the resources necessary to transform the lives of children who have suffered facial deformities and injuries, like Beloved. After a series of introductions and consultations, Fresh Start agreed to help Beloved, and began to coordinate across medical specialties – Oral Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Dentistry – developing a treatment plan to further reconstruct Beloved’s face. Dr. McGann was part of this team of volunteer specialists, performing more than five reconstructive surgeries.

  • Fresh Start Surgical Gifts Surgeon Treatment Team

Today, Beloved is 21 years old, living in San Diego with the Tinney family. Elvia Tinney boasts, “He is so proud of his ‘beautiful gems’ – it’s what he calls his new teeth.”  When asked about Dr. McGann’s contribution to her son’s “beautiful gems”, Mrs. Tinney stated, “Dr. McGann donated countless hours, meticulous attention to detail, and more than five surgeries to reconstruct Beloved’s jaw shattered by a land mine. And in doing so, Dr. McGann restored his smile and confidence to face the world with a fresh start.”


* All patients featured have given permission to share their patient care experience.