|The Fate of His Smile|
|Written by Dr. Kelvin Mah|
An art teacher’s teeth are destined for artistry.
One of the things I love the most about my job is that every single one of my patients has a unique, interesting and meaningful story to tell. However, there are times when a patient tells me about the journey that he or she has travelled, and I find myself instantly thinking: “Yes, that’s the one I need to share with my readers!” The first thing that intrigued me about Edmund wasn’t why he needed my help, but rather how he found out about me in the first place. Not that long ago, Edmund had just completed a cleaning appointment at another practice. As usual, he received a clean bill of health – he’d always been diligent about oral hygiene. But there was something else on his mind: he wasn’t happy with his smile, and wanted to know if some kind of treatment or service was available to help him do something about it. Surely, he thought, there must be more to dentistry than getting your teeth cleaned. However, the response he received wasn’t positive, and he left the appointment thinking that nothing could be done. It was a gloomy feeling. But fate sometimes has a funny way of showing up when you least expect it – and this was one of those occasions!
To shake off his disappointment, Edmund went to his favourite coffee bar, picked up a copy of Fresh Vancouver, read my article on smile makeovers, and realized that there just might be some hope for his smile after all. And so, without delay, he headed straight to Smile City Square Dental. Edward shared with me that he’d been unhappy with his smile for more than 20 years. He felt that his teeth were too short and flat and, to use his expression, were “worn down to the nubs and had become little stumps instead of normal-sized teeth.” They had also become discoloured and yellowed over time. Now that his kids had grown up and left the nest, and he had retired from a long and distinguished career as an art teacher, he wanted to “give himself a gift” by doing something for himself. Even now, I can vividly recall how touched I was upon hearing Edmund’s story. Here was a man who had spent a lifetime putting other peoples’ needs ahead of his own. And now he wanted to receive a meaningful and rewarding dividend for so many years of sacrifice and hard work. In light of this, I felt that helping Edmund was more than a request – it was a duty!
I also asked Edmund about his hobbies, his personality, his goals and his aspirations. Why? Because as an artisan dentist, I view a patient’s smile as an authentic expression of their unique identity. By learning more about who they are, how they feel and what they want, I’m able to envision the special smile that truly belongs to them – the one that exists below the surface, and is just waiting for the right time and opportunity to emerge. Edward shared with me that he wasn’t so much focused on becoming more attractive, but that he wanted to regain the smile he had as a younger man. He felt that the years had caught up to him, and he wanted to get back something he had lost along the way. He wanted, in his words, to simply “be a normal guy again.” And most important, he wanted to enjoy and celebrate his life, whether he was travelling with his wife, interacting with his tenants in his new role as a landlord, or going to his favourite coffee bar (and yes, reading Fresh Vancouver!). He had spent the last 20 years longing for a better smile, and wasn’t about to spend the next 20 years or more doing the same.
Edward and I began enthusiastically discussing possibilities and options. After reviewing some digital photos of his smile and its imperfections, we quickly agreed that the swiftest, most comfortable and most effective way to achieve the smile he truly wanted was through a smile makeover. I started by placing Edmund in a customized whitening program to lighten his teeth, and followed with some gentle re-shaping of his gums to help create symmetry when he smiled. I then applied ten veneers on his upper teeth, which allowed me to precisely ensure that colour and shape matched his complexion and facial architecture. When I finished Edmund’s smile makeover, I’m not sure who was happier with the result – him or me! The transformative possibilities of modern dentistry in the hands of a skilled dentist are truly spectacular; and the impact that a nice, natural smile has on a person’s life cannot be underestimated.
“I had no idea this was possible. For years, I asked dentists if there was something they could do about lengthening my teeth, and they never responded in a positive way. But Dr. Mah was completely different. He not only told me that it could be done, but he made it simple, comfortable and surprisingly affordable. My only regret is that I didn’t do this years ago. Two decades is a long time to live with a smile you don’t like. Fortunately, that’s in the past. The future is now, the possibilities are endless, and I’m really happy with my smile. Thank you Dr. Mah!”