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An Investment in Confidence
Written by Dr. Kelvin Mah   

photo after smile makeover

When I refer to smile makeovers as “investments,” I understand why some people might wonder if I’ve forgotten that I’m a dentist. After all, helping people make wise, rewarding investments is the business of a financial advisor or portfolio manager – but a dentist?

Well, I have a couple of responses to that. First, while I may occasionally forget some things (like picking up something on my wife’s grocery list), I’ll never forget that I’m a dentist. Helping people unleash their authentic, beautiful, healthy smile has been my passion for decades. It’s more than what I do. It’s who I am! Second, smile makeovers are investments – without question. What’s more, they aren’t ordinary investments. They’re rock-solid investments that pay generous dividends for decades. But instead of a cheque in the mail, smile makeovers deliver their continuous rewards in a currency that, some would say, is far more valuable than dollars: confidence.

photo before smile makeover

My patient, John, has been reaping the rewards of his “investment in confidence” for nearly a decade – and counting! John’s story goes back to his grade school days, when an unfortunate dodgeball incident claimed more than his participation in the game; it also chipped his front tooth. As a 10-year old, John wasn’t terribly troubled by this. But as he entered his teens and then shifted into adulthood, he began to feel increasingly self-conscious about his smile. Tragically, his dentist never told him that something could or should be done. In fact, he was told to ignore it, and as long as his teeth were clean and he had good oral hygiene, “all was fine.”

But, as you can imagine, all wasn’t fine. Over the years, the edges of John’s chipped tooth began to wear down, and, like so many high achievers who had to cope with excess stress, he developed a clenching and grinding habit that made things worse. Ultimately, John was suffering on two levels. The structure of his chipped tooth was breaking down day by day, and growing unhappiness with his smile was directly diminishing his quality of life. Clearly, John needed and deserved a lasting and transformative solution – and that’s what brought him, nearly 10 years ago, to Smile City Square Dental.

The first thing that pleasantly surprised John was that I didn’t start our work together by focusing on various treatment options. Instead, I started with a conversation about the most important person in the room: John. I asked John about his preferences, goals and dreams. I asked him questions that he’d never heard from a dentist, such as, “What would you like your smile to say about you?” And by paying extremely close attention to his answers – both what he was saying, and how he was saying it – I inferred subtle clues that profoundly helped me understand the nuances and nature of his authentic smile.

teeth before makeover

From there, we explored various clinical and artistic parameters that would reach John’s desired outcome, and reveal his smile’s true “personality.” This included analyzing John’s bite and individual teeth for balance and harmony, assessing the shape and position of his gums, observing the shape of his teeth’s biting edges and corners, evaluating the overall colour of his teeth, and more.

teeth after makeover

When the smile makeover analysis was complete, John and I agreed that the best way to solve both of his smile obstacles – one functional, one personal – was via four ultra-thin porcelain veneers, which I would apply on his upper front teeth, each carefully customized for desired shape, colour and length. Furthermore, since there was relatively little tooth structure to remove, I wouldn’t need to place complete crowns on his teeth. It was a rapid, painless and non-invasive plan to dramatically enhance John’s smile, correct his bite, prevent further wear and, perhaps most important, allow him to make a lasting investment in confidence that would pay dividends for years to come. Nearly a decade later, I asked John the proverbial million-dollar question: Was his smile makeover a wise investment?

“I was very impressed by how Dr Mah took a personal interest in my smile and my quality of life. He demonstrated amazing interpersonal skills that I don’t think are typical among dentists, and really took the time to listen to my needs, and help me understand the process and my options. He made me feel like a unique and important individual – not just another patient. Plus, Dr Mah’s work was so natural and subtle that people didn’t know that I had something done – they just sensed that something about me had improved!

“Since having my smile makeover, there’s been no need for any additional treatments or touch-ups. My speech wasn’t affected in any way, and there was absolutely no discomfort or adjustment period. The veneers are incredibly durable, and they look as good today as they did on day one.

“Best of all , my new and improved smile rekindled – and continues to foster nearly 10 years later – an enormous amount of self-confidence in both my professional and personal life. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and I’m making the most of that opportunity every day thanks to my smile makeover, and Dr Mah!”

The transformative power of modern dentistry is so much more than fixing smiles or performing treatments. It truly is an investment in confidence!

Dr. Kelvin Mah -

Dr Kelvin P Mah is driven to "enrich lives, one smile at a time." He believes in helping people – not merely treating problems – and takes a dedicated, personal interest in the health, wellness and happiness of each individual patient. His award-winning Smile City Square Dental practice reflects an organic and zen-like atmosphere of warmth and relaxation. He is also a graduate of UBC's prestigious Dental School and is an instructor with the Frontier Institute, which offers postgraduate programs in advanced cosmetic dentistry. Learn more about Dr Mah and discover the transformative possibilities of modern artisan dentistry at, and visit Smile City Square Dental on Facebook at


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