Deb’s Story

“The Nicest Smile I’ve Seen in Years!”

 “Oh, my God,” Deb Russell gasped, almost in shock. “Am I ever glad I spent the money!” She wasn’t talking about a fancy car, classy outfit or expensive pair of shoes. She was talking about her brand-new mouth. I’d unintentionally left her “before” picture on the consultation room computer the day she’d agreed to talk to me about her full mouth reconstruction. When she walked in the room, that picture was the first thing she saw. And she couldn’t believe what she was seeing–because she was seeing her teeth the way other people had been seeing them for a long, long time.

I asked her what had been the motivation to redo her entire mouth. “I had been having more and more discomfort,” she says. “Food was constantly getting stuck between my teeth, making my whole mouth sore. I had gotten to the point where I was mentally ready to do something about it.”

For Deb, getting to that point took years. Bad experiences as a kid had fostered a terrible fear of dentistry. But as time wore on, one thought was more powerful than all the bad memories put together. “I just WASN’T going to have dentures,” she says. “Above all else, I wanted my own teeth. I wanted something permanent in my mouth, no coming in or out. Period.” Something permanent was going to entail implants, crowns, and more than just a couple dental visits. For a dental phobic, it was a lot to swallow.

Deb ended up using a combination of nitrous oxide and oral sedation to help control her fear. But it took something more than that, too: namely, trust. And that’s what she wants other dental phobics to know.

“First, you need to sit down and talk to your dentist. You have to be confident in him or her. Once you feel THEY can do it, you can too.” A wonderful bonus was that there was no pain with the implants, she says. Plus, redoing her teeth gave her extra incentive to stop smoking. “I don’t want to stain them,” she says. “I floss them everyday now.”

The added maintenance has been worth it. “I have a whole different mouth. I see myself differently now, and so does everybody else.” Perhaps the best example of that happened several months after her dental treatment was finished. “I was in the grocery store, and stopped to talk with a friend. Across the aisle, a gentleman kept staring at me like he knew me. I stared back, but had no idea who he was. Finally, he came up to me. ‘Young lady,’ he said. ‘You have the nicest smile I’ve seen in years.'”