I have only lost 4 teeth in my life. All of the other kids were raking it in from the tooth fairy, but I only got to experience that a few times. My mother and grandfather had the same situation, so I guess it was in my “genes” to have weird teeth.
My childhood dentist explained that I was missing 24 teeth … adult teeth to push out the baby ones. My two front teeth were adult ones, and so they were bigger than the rest, which only made it worse. The rest of my teeth were small and unimpressive. I did get braces as a teenager, but that didn’t do much for my smile. I grew up being very self-conscious about my teeth and chose not to show them easily.
There are worse things though. When I was 24 years old, I was in a sledding accident that broke my back and left me paralyzed and in a wheelchair for life. It took a while, but I eventually got used to my wheels, and actually came to appreciate all of the good things that it brought me.
Three of those good things were Dr. Chapman, Dr. Ingalls and Dr. Johnson. Dr. Kevin Chapman, an orthodontist, had been a friend of mine from church since before the accident. After the accident, he supported me and my family in many ways, and to this day is one of the most generous people I know.
A few years after the accident, I had a painful bout with a couple of my “baby teeth” that had ground down to almost nothing. I went to the corner dental shop to get them pulled, which ended the pain, but left a gap in my already sparse dental line-up. They recommended dental implants to take care of my problem, not only the now-missing teeth, but the other baby teeth that were not long for this world … or my mouth. I was excited at the thought of having a smile I could flash proudly. I told Dr. Chapman about my experience, he invited me in for an appointment to review my situation. This is how I met Dr. Johnson and Dr. Ingalls. They were the other members of the study team. Dr. Ingalls was my oral surgeon, and helped me lose a few more teeth and put in the implants, and Dr. Johnson took over my dental care and the cosmetic work for the crowns that would go on the dental implants. Dr. Chapman put me back in braces to get everything in the proper position and the journey began.
Fast forward a few years and I now have that smile I am proud to show. The interesting thing is, I felt far more self-conscious about my teeth than I do being in a wheelchair. So, I feel like I have been given a miracle! It’s like walking again, only it’s in the form of improved self-confidence and pride … and a smile!
I am a professional school counselor and work with middle school students at a local charter school. Having a full, nice looking set of teeth has already made a huge difference in my career. It is much easier to speak with students, parents and staff. It is easier to flash a big smile while meeting someone for the first time, which makes that first impression so much stronger. I also do a lot of public speaking, and as you can imagine, it helps my confidence there as well.
I can not thank these doctors and their teams enough for what they have done in my life. I know that there were others involved in this project as well that I have never even met. I am thankful for them too! I will be forever grateful for this gift, and although I may not be able pay it back, I will pay it forward in every way I can with generosity, encouragement and thankfulness.
“I felt far more self-conscious
about my teeth than I do
being in a wheelchair.”
With sincere gratitude,
“Dear Dr. Johnson,
It is my pleasure to send new patients to your practice. I know they will always get excellent treatment from you and your staff.”
“Dear Dr. Johnson,
My new smile is incredible. Thank you.”
“Dear Dr. Johnson and Staff,
It is always a pleasure to recommend your services because we know the effort and dedication you extend to your patients. We have the good fortune to experience it with every visit. We are grateful for all of your expertise you have shown our family and friends.”
Michael and Patricia M.
“Dear Dr. Johnson and Maxine,
Just wanted to say ‘thank you’ for all the kindness and care you have shown me!”
“Dear Dr. Johnson and team,
Thank you so much. We appreciate your quality of care and kindness and wouldn’t think of sending people we know to anyone else. You’ve got a wonderful, talented team.”
Jeanne and Terry T.
“Dear Dr. Johnson,
Thank you so much for your kindness and fixing my teeth. The time you spent with me meant so much. You deserve a special spot in heaven! Thank you also to your sweet and caring team. Our family appreciates all of you.”
“I am so happy with the crowns you put in. I wish I had done it sooner.”
“When I think about all the team has done for me and the families I work with it warms my heart and reminds me that there really are people who truly care about others! Thank you all for your support and providing me with wonderful dental work and services.!! I recommend you to anyone who mentions the work, teeth, dentist, mouth, pain…The ones who listen always call and thank me for recommending you!”