One of the most important ways we can express ourselves is through our smiles. If you think about it, many of our other facial expressions wouldn’t be possible without our mouths, either. With so much attention drawn to this area, it’s no wonder that if our teeth aren’t something we are proud of, we’d prefer to hide them, which can negatively impact our self esteem and cause us to experience feelings of anxiety and depression. Kristy Hickman was just such a person. For years, she suffered with bad teeth, hiding them as much as she could. She was self-conscious and felt ashamed of her mouth and it all started with an infection.
Hear Kristy's Story:
“As a teenager, I had a beautiful smile and good teeth,” Kristy says. “Then after I got pregnant with my daughter, I noticed my bottom teeth and gums were turning green and darkening to black. Eventually, my gums started receding on top and then teeth started falling out. I went to another dental office and saw a doctor because I was having excruciating pain in the back of my mouth and they basically said I needed to have some teeth pulled. From x-rays they took, they said I had a raging infection that had been going on for about seven or eight years, possibly dating back to when I’d had my wisdom teeth removed. They pulled out some teeth and gave me some antibiotics, but the infection continued to spread. Life changes caused me to lose my dental insurance and the infection got worse.”
After a while, Kristy was able to reinstate her health insurance and felt more than ready to get the ball rolling to get her teeth taken care of once and for all. “My boyfriend and I saw one of Dr. Kremer’s testimonials on TV and I just felt really comfortable right away. I didn’t just need a cleaning or a cavity filled; I needed serious work done and I felt that they would take care of my needs.” Dr. Choti was “very sympathetic to my situation and very compassionate,” says Kristy of Dr. Choti. “When you go into a dentist’s office and you have teeth like I did, you have a lot of anxiety and wonder what the dentist will think of you. Dr. Choti completely overlooked that and was simply there to help, not judge. With bad teeth, you don’t want to smile or go out in public and you definitely don’t want anyone to see the teeth in your mouth, but I had to continue to work and be out in public. Dr. Choti doesn’t care about what got your teeth to that point, she just wants to help you get better and move forward. She got right down to business, told me what needed to be done, and even offered to take the teeth out for me that day. She was ready to do whatever she needed to help me.
In addition to an outstanding first encounter with Dr. Choti, Kristy was also impressed with the office environment and front desk staff. “When I first walked in, the girls at the desk were super warm and friendly and made me feel welcome. For someone like me, who needed what I needed, that was important to me. All the anxiety of walking in there just sort of melted away and I felt comfortable and safe.”
Soon after her initial consultation with Dr. Choti, Kristy was ready for the procedure. Dr. Choti extracted several of Kristy’s teeth and fitted her for dentures. Finally, after many years of hiding her smile, Kristy felt like her journey had come to an end. “Dr. Choti and I were joking around after I had the last impression (for the dentures), saying silly things to make sure the teeth fit properly like my ABCs and the word ‘Mississippi’. It was so hilarious. That’s the kind of doctor she is! She’s very fun and thorough and I get the distinct impression that she’s proud of her work.”
“Dr. Choti gave me my smile, self-esteem, everything back. I feel like me again.”
After Kristy had her new teeth fitted and was leaving the office for the last time, she remembered that she had a very important errand to run. “I have two very beautiful children who have been through this whole entire thing with me,” says Kristy. “When I left Dr. Choti’s office, the first thing I did was drive over to Enloe where my son works and as he came up to the car window, I gave him a big smile. His jaw dropped and he said, ‘Oh my god! I forgot you were doing that today! I don’t even have any words! Just…beautiful!’ He was so happy for me and he’s getting married this fall, so I’ll have a perfect smile for the photos! I’m just so happy now. I’m not embarrassed when I walk outside, or go to work, or to the grocery store. It’s been a life-changing experience. Dr. Choti gave me my smile, self esteem, everything back. I feel like me again. I feel human and not like something or somebody that people can look at and judge or pity. If you have an opportunity to go to Kremer, schedule a consultation and see what they can do for you. It’s a very comfortable, safe environment, and they are compassionate and sympathetic to what you need. They are NOT just dentists. They serve a purpose and they need to be recognized for what they do for people like me. They change people’s lives. And it’s from the bottom of my heart that I thank them for what they did for me. It sucks I have to wear this mask now because I have such a beautiful smile!”
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