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Moving More Than Teeth

What do you see when you see a child or adult wearing braces or Invisalign?

You see a child or adult wearing braces or Invisalign.

Obviously, orthodontists move teeth. I learned this in extreme detail during my orthodontic residency and have moved hundreds of thousands of teeth in my career. With years of experience there came the ability to lose the “tunnel vision” about the teeth and wake up to what I was hearing from Patients:

“I used to sit in a certain spot in the board room so people wouldn’t see my crooked tooth…”

“If I had gotten my teeth straightened sooner, so many key moments in my life would’ve gone differently…”

“I knew it was time when the kid in my store turned to his Mom and asked about my vampire tooth….”

“I got braces for my kids, now it’s MY turn!”

“I want to see my teeth straight before I die…(see here for the story)”

One’s teeth and their smile have a significant connection to their self image, self esteem and self confidence. Most importantly, braces open mindset doors of possibility.

Chances taken. Mountains climbed. Races won. Doors opened. Weight lost. Relationships begun. Goals achieved. Habits broken. Habits begun. If their teeth could be straightened (thought impossible by many Patients in the beginning) the other “what if?” possibilities in life now seemed possible.

I have seen children (and adults) seemingly grow an inch in confidence immediately when their braces are put on. The next appointment, their hair style has changed, makeup makeover complete, wardrobe spiffed up a bit.

That’s why we use the word, “transformation” rather than “treatment”.

Before their transformation, a child or adult is often very self-conscious. So self-conscious that they hide their smile. They may hide their smile without thinking about it. They may do so by placing their hand over their mouth or by smiling without showing their teeth.

“I just took my first front smiling photo in 30 years!”

“It’s so awesome to see Mom smiling so big in photos now and she’s not even done yet!”

“I just wanted to be able to smile at my disabled brother as I cared for him…”

When I see a person hide their smile, I ask myself, “Where else in their life are they holding back?”

My greatest worry is a Mom and/or Dad looking at braces as a luxury when the emotional benefits of orthodontic care are often so profound.

On my journey as an orthodontist, I came to realize what it really is that I do.  It’s about more than moving teeth; my job is to make people feel better about themselves and give them the mindset that if giving them a world changing smile is possible, anything is possible.

Changing the World, One Smile at a Time. It’s a mission I’m grateful to have.

~ Dr. John