People always wonder and at times even ask why I chose Orthodontics as a profession. For me, the answer is simple – personal experience from when I had my own braces. If you knew me back then, I could be categorized as reserved, shy, introverted, and a very awkward teenager. Not to digress, for those who know me now – this is a far stretch of the imagination. The description of myself brings me to one of the most emotional parts of being an Orthodontist. I feel it is my role to help individuals uncover their true selves and encourage self-esteem.
The other day I was consulting with a teenage female patient and I was asking questions to determine why she wanted braces. As she pointed to her teeth that she disliked, she became introverted and put her head down. She felt comfortable to say she was being teased by her schoolmates about her teeth. Words quickly turned into tears and I asked if she had shared her experiences at school with her parents. She shook her head.
Her father, who happened to be sitting next to her, was completely oblivious that his daughter was being teased at school. He himself began tearing up. Having been through a similar experience as a child with crooked teeth, I was devastated. Here was young girl with a bright future who would find it impossible to reach her true potential because she did not have the confidence to smile and hold her head up high for fear of being ridiculed.
Don’t worry, there is a positive twist to this story – the young girl now has started the process of braces. She is already starting to smile more often. As an Orthodontist, I am in the position to help people achieve the smile that they want, but more importantly the self-esteem, confidence, and the happiness that comes along with it. Each one of the four hundred plus patients that I have treated all have one thing in common – they have experienced this change within themselves.
I can list the biological benefits of straight teeth all day – but for me, the most important part of my job is being able to help people smile, laugh, and live a life with confidence – young or old.