Dental Patients

Trust Your Smile to an AACD Member Dentist
Dental Patients

Congratulations to our Smile Story contestants who have received smile makeovers.

Amanda Kessler, with treatment by Dr. Tanya DeSanto, with lab work by Craig Galbraith, CDT Amanda Kessler, with treatment by Dr. Tanya DeSanto, Amanda Kessler, with treatment by Dr. Tanya DeSanto,
Jennifer Streeter, with treatment by Dr. Ryan Michelson, with lab work by Quint Whipple, CDT Jennifer Streeter, with treatment by Dr. Ryan Michelson Jennifer Streeter, with treatment by Dr. Ryan Michelson
Kenneth Hoegler, with treatment by Dr. Paul Mikhli, with lab work by Dwight Rickert, CDT Kenneth Hoegler, with treatment by Dr. Paul Mikhli, Kenneth Hoegler, with treatment by Dr. Paul Mikhli,
Megan LaRue, with treatment by Dr. Michael Weiss, with lab work by Wayne Payne Megan LaRue, with treatment by Dr. Michael Weiss Megan LaRue, with treatment by Dr. Michael Weiss
Renata Gick, with treatment by Dr. Arun Narang, with lab work by Trevor Laingchild, RDT Renata Gick, with treatment by Dr. Arun Narang Renata Gick, with treatment by Dr. Arun Narang

Read more about each contestant's story below.

Stay tuned for more updates regarding these life-changing makeovers! Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest.

AACD Smile Story Contest

Contestant Smile Stories

Amanda's Story

Iím not sure I can fit my story into 2000 characters, but Iím going to try.! When I was 3, I climbed up a slide and fell directly on to my mouth, my front tooth was completely knocked out. With that being said, all I wanted for Christmas was my front tooth, and I made that wish for 6 years. When my front tooth finally came in and it was time for me to get braces my x-rays revealed that I had a damaged root, it more or less looks like an awesome lightning bolt.! While the shape of my root may be unique it complicated my orthodontic process as we were told my journey with braces would be slightly longer because the provider feared that if my teeth moved too quickly the root would detach resulting in the death of my front tooth. I had my braces put on during 7th grade and while most kids are embarrassed of their new metal mouth accessories, I was SO excited.

For me, it wasnít about having wires jabbing me in the back of my mouth, or smiling and people seeing brackets, you see for me it meant that I was on my way out of hiding. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me ďwhy donít you smileĒ I wouldnít need to be entering this contest. I have a very outgoing, bright, and bubbly personality and the opportunity to have the confidence to show a smile that matched would mean more to me than a million dollars. You may be asking yourself why I am entering this contest if I have already had treatment to fix my smile, and that brings me to my story that is far too long and complicated for 2000 characters but I am going to wrap it up in a nutshell and pray that I cover all the bases well enough to make me qualify as a finalist. As I stated earlier I had my braces put on in the 7th grade what I didnít mention is that I was 19 years old before they removed. When my provider stated that the process was going to be a little slower than most due to my damaged root, she did not mean that it was going to take 6 years. I will say that my provider did not have anything to do with me wearing braces for the full 6 years.

Because this story is very public, I am going to try to keep all of the personal and complicated reasons of my 6 year orthodontic treatment as general as I can. If you, as the judges would like to know more in depth than I will be open book, just behind all the scenes. The extended treatment of my braces was due to a series of events that were completely out of my control. It was not for my lack of wearing my rubber bands, or brushing my teeth, or from me missing appointments. I loved going to appointments! It meant that I was that much closer to beautiful teeth! During my senior year of high school, I moved to Tennessee to live with my mom. I started seeing an orthodontist in the area and after 8 months I had one more appointment to go to, I was ecstatic! At that appointment I was going to have my braces taken off and be fitted for my retainer. There was no more gap, my teeth were no longer bucked, they were straight, and I felt†beautiful!

I never made it to that appointment, due to reasons that fall into the personal and complicated category, I moved back to Illinois. I began searching for a provider that could make a retainer and remove the braces, my search was not as easy as I thought it would be. I was told from two providers that because they were not the orthodontist that I began my treatment, or saw me throughout the course of my treatment, they would not remove the braces. The third provider in my area that I called gave me hope, he saw me in his office gave me a consultation and requested $1800.00 to remove the braces and fit me for a retainer. As a senior in high school, with no dental insurance I did not have that kind of money. I began calling around the area again thinking I would find a provider to finish making my dreams come true. After 6 months and no luck finding a provider I took matters into my own hands. The wires were starting to cut up the back of my mouth, the rubber band chain was causing me a whole lot of pain and at that point in time, I saw my next step as the only way out.

I went into my kitchen, boiled a pair of pliers, and through tears I carefully removed the rubber band chain, then the wires, and then the brackets. To my surprise my smile was beautiful.!! I was confident and I smiled each and every day, at everyone!!! My ride on cloud nine was short lived, despite my best efforts to maintain my new smile. When I say best efforts, I mean exactly that. I purchased teeny tiny rubber bands and when no one was around I placed them around my teeth as a mock retainer to keep my smile as long as I could. Itís been 4 years since I removed my braces and after about a year of rubber bands my top teeth had returned to their original state, bucked with a large gap between. I havenít showed an open mouth smile in three years, it took a lot of words of encouragement for me to take the picture you see before you today. I am a very blessed individual, I have two beautiful children that present me with a million reasons to smile every day, yet the embarrassment I feel at the thought of someone seeing my teeth convinces me to keep my mouth closed.

I feel as if I have not used enough words to beg, plead, and show you how much I want a new smile and I have sat behind this keyboard for thirty minutes trying to figure out what exactly I should say to stand out and make you understand my desire and need for a new smile, but I have come to the conclusion that there are no words to describe how badly I want or even feel I need a new smile. For me, you wouldnít just be giving me a new smile; you would be re-creating my life. I hope Iíve done my smile story justice in the space I have been allotted. No amount of space would express my gratitude toward such a generous, and life altering opportunity. Thank you for giving me the chance at confidence and for the time you have taken to read my story.

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Jennifer's Story

How can I tell people that I am more deserving of this wonderful contest than all of these other clearly deserving people? I canít. I can only pray for a miracle and hope this contest is around in the future for all of those who do not win this time, as we are all clearly in need.

Hello Iím Jennifer, Iím a single mother and I MISS SMILING! I used to be a smiley, confident woman. Now I never truly smile, not in life, not in pics. I believe it has made it hard for me to be the person I want to be. The person I am deep down. 2000 characters is not enough space to tell you all the problems my teeth have caused me and all the work I need done. I wanted to show you a picture, but I lack confidence so much I couldnít bring myself to do it.

It began with bad genetics, then pregnancies that took a large toll on my health and an abusive ex who chipped and cracked already weak teeth. Itís a daily struggle to deal with the pain. Now I stare at my feet when I walk and I donít look people in the eyes when I talk. I lack the slightest bit of confidence as you can see in my pics. Iím often sullen, staring off in space and not smiling. Every time I start to smile I have to check myself so I donít feel embarrassed. It turns almost every happy moment into a sad one. How can you be truly happy if you canít smile?

Iíve gone to school and worked hard against all odds to get to a position where I can take care of my family on my own without assistance. My 2 children have the same genetics and both need braces. Their dental care will, as always, come before mine. I do not have the finances to cover all 3 of us. The amount of work I need is extensive and costly. I have come a long way and successfully overcome many obstacles, yet I canít overcome this. Not on my own. Please consider the miracle this would be for my family. The confidence that a nice smile would bring could open up a lot of new doors for us. Thank you for your consideration from the bottom of our hearts.

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Kenneth's Story

My smile is the greatest embarrassment in my life. I have given up hope of ever finding help.

I was abused by a dentist as a foster child subject to the welfare system. I was never believed by my parents when I would tell them of my ordeals. In addition, I am, unfortunately; not helped by any of the numbing agents used by dentists. No exaggeration at all!! The pain of dental procedures is a hideous nightmare. I have had to prove, by suffering; this fact to several dentists through the years. I must be asleep for anything to be done for my teeth.

This is my only hope of ever being able to smile in public and know that people are not repulsed by the terrible condition of my teeth, I can't even see the expressions people have as I am nearly blind. I can only imagine what others have said about my dental appearance. All I pray for is the chance to hold my head up with dignity just as my Seeing Eye dog does when we are out together. His teeth are in perfect condition. Winning this contest would truly change my life and at the same time make a long-cherished dream of mine come true. PLEASE!
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Megan's Story

My name is Megan LaRue. I am 41 years old & mother to 4 children, ages 16, 14, 14, 11. Four years ago I was diagnosed with Systemic Scleroderma. A rare progressive autoimmune disease that compromises my skin and internal organs. There is no cure, only medications to treat organs as they begin to fail. Mortality is anywhere from 5 to 30 years. There is no way to know how quickly it will progress & which organs it will effect first. Thus far my complications mostly exist around my esophagus, colon, kidneys, hands, mobility, severe fatigue, & facial discoloration. And then there is my teeth.

Scleroderma causes secondary conditions. I also have Sjogren's. Four years ago I had a healthy, beautiful, straight, white smile. The last 2 years my dentist was mystified at how quickly my teeth were deteriorating. I no longer have any enamel on my teeth, I have cavities pretty much on each tooth. My teeth are basically eroding away, yet my dentist says my roots & gums are fine, so he couldn't justify pulling them out to get dentures. I tried bonding, but it doesn't last.

A year ago my husband lost his job & his new employer does not offer dental coverage, so now everything for me is an expense. I've been going to a local dental school for my regular cleanings. Two months ago a cavity became infected & I had to have it pulled. It cost $450.00, the rest are soon to follow. My face has started to change & I am so self conscious about it. I keep my hair long and around my face & wear lots of makeup to conceal what this disease has done to me. But I can't cover up my teeth. I won't smile & I put something in front of my mouth when I speak. I married my high school crush and soul mate just 2 months before I became sick. I feel so ugly around him now. All I truly treasure these days are moments spent with my husband & children. They make me want to smile, I just wish I could. Please consider me a finalist in your contest. Thank you.
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Renata's Story

My name is Renata, I am 48 years old, and I have a rare genetic disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Because of this disorder, I had to have my teeth surgically removed several years ago. Due to issues associated with EDS, I cannot wear dentures...they shred my gums because the tissue is quite soft. It is difficult to deal with the physical pain of dozens of dislications daily, but the emotional pain and depression of not even being able to smile is devastating.

I try to be optimistic and happy, but it is challenging when you have no way to smile anymore. I don't go out to dinner or to movies, because I don't want people to see me try to eat. I am having trouble finding a job as self confidence. A smile makeover would mean the world to me. To be able to eat a salad again, or chew food without feeling like everyone is watching me. Thank you for your consideration...and giving me a ray of hope.
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