How important can cosmetic dentistry be to an individual?

One of our patients…I’ll call her Jane…was in her mid-60s and had been a patient of ours for over 25 years. On a 1 to 10 scale, Jane’s teeth were a five. She wanted to have teeth in the eight to nine range, but she was insistent that when we were done her teeth would not look fake and that no one would know that she had cosmetic dentistry done.

When we were completed, both Jane and I, along with the rest of the staff, felt we had achieved all her goals. Her teeth did look great, but they did not draw attention to themselves. So one day when Jane was socializing with friends, one of them came up to her and said “My God, Jane, you look terrific, what have you done? Did you have plastic surgery?” Well of course when Jane came back into the office and told me the story, we all had a good laugh over it. Yet later, when I was thinking about it, the truth was I believed that Jane was carrying herself differently. She was standing tall and proud and she was more confident.

I think this is one of the nicest compliments we’ve had about our dentistry because it showed that not only did we achieve all the goals we wanted, we even went beyond and achieved goals we didn’t originally consider. Your smile is always with you throughout life. It is one of the first things people notice about you, and one of the things you can actually change about your own body.

Another story which deals with the importance of your smile was told to me many years ago by a patient who needed extensive dentistry, and who had already invested quite a bit of money at another dental office. In order to have the treatment done, he had to sell his sailboat. Many years after that, during one of his periodic prevention visits, I said to him, “Bill, I’ve always felt badly about the fact that you had to sell your boat to get your teeth fixed. Has it ever bothered you?” He turned to me and said, “Never. Every day I smile, talk and eat using my teeth. I only used my boat occasionally. It was one of the best investments I’ve ever made.”

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