|Lisa’s Smile Transformation - Rejuvenation Inside and Out|
|Written by Dr. Kelvin Mah|
Meeting new people is one of the perks of my job, among many others, but when I get to know more about my patients, I’m often blown away by their stories and how interesting their lives are. It’s so amazing to listen to the hardships and triumphs they’ve experienced and realize the strength that radiates from each individual! That was definitely the case with Lisa, one of my latest patients.
Lisa contacted me after coming across a previous article that I’d written for Fresh Vancouver Magazine. We recently held a contest looking for a great candidate for a dental transformation, and she was a clear winner! When she got in touch, her story touched my heart and I knew, then and there, that this was the person I wanted to help. Here’s an excerpt from her letter:
At this point in my life I would love nothing more than to be your next smile transformation story and I'll tell you why! I have had to make do with what little dental work I can afford and my smile is nothing what it used to be like. I find myself avoiding the camera, smiling with closed lips, and my self-esteem is affected due to the look of my teeth. For several years I was involved in a very unhealthy lifestyle of drug addiction, however I am so very grateful and proud to say I have just celebrated two years of being clean and sober! Having my smile fixed would mean the absolute world to me!
After reading Lisa's compelling letter, I knew that I could truly help to make her dreams a reality. I brought her in for a consultation so that I could meet her and have her tell me her story in person. What I heard was a fascinating account of a life fraught with ups and downs.
When Lisa was young, she had a gap between her two front teeth that bothered her immensely. Her parents and her dentist told her that if she was patient, the gap would eventually close, but she instead chose to have it fixed cosmetically. Because her father had such a great dental plan through his work, everything was covered. However, as she grew up and finished school, she was no longer covered by his benefits and could only afford to cover very small portions of the work needed to maintain her smile. When she came to see me, I could tell right away that she was very embarrassed by her smile and that she wanted to make a change. It’s also important to know that Lisa is recovering from her past lifestyle, a success in her life that she and her family members are extremely proud of. I learned that she had overcome some past difficulties and was ready to continue her renewed life path.
By having an in-person consultation, not only could Lisa and I get to know each other on a more personal level, she could get to know the philosophy behind the work that I do. Remember, I don’t believe so much in the, “here’s the problem that I see and this is what I can do” philosophy, I want to know, “what do you want and why”. After delving a little deeper, we started on a plan for her smile transformation right away, knowing that we had a great opportunity to help change her life for the better after all that she has been through.
After collecting Lisa’s clinical records, we looked them over and started discussing our options for her smile. To say that she was excited is an understatement! Planning a patient’s smile truly is a collaborative effort; after all, she’s the one that will be flashing this smile on a daily basis! When we started talking, I discovered that her biggest concerns were the gaps between her upper front teeth and the shortness of her two front teeth. After coming up with a concrete plan, we got to work.
We started by whitening her teeth using Zoom Whitening. This option is ideal because we could brighten Lisa’s smile in a single visit. What a huge difference this alone made and Lisa was ecstatic immediately. We then reshaped the gums around her upper front teeth with a special laser. This often overlooked and underutilized technique is a critical step to really boosting the appearance of a smile. For example, if our teeth are artwork, then the gums are the frame surrounding them. The appearance of the "frame" will either enhance or detract from the "artwork". By carefully modifying the "frame" around Lisa's teeth, we significantly enhanced her smile.
Afterwards, I began closing the gaps between her front teeth by using a tooth-coloured filling material, as it would provide the result we wanted while keeping the procedure very conservative. This completed our treatment and brought Lisa’s smile transformation to a close, making a change for the better.
Upon revealing her new smile, Lisa was so excited with anticipation. As soon as she saw the results we created just for her, her eyes opened wide and she enthusiastically exclaimed that she absolutely loved it! It really went to show that detailed consultations, preparations, and treatment, combined with a patient’s willingness for change, are worth it and make all the difference in the end.
Lisa was so deserving of the treatment that she received. Not only has her smile been rejuvenated, her life has been as well. She’s now on a path of reinvention and discovery, enhanced by the bright new smile I was able to help her with. Once again, I was reminded of my mission to “enrich lives, one smile at a time” and how fulfilling it is to honour it.