Two gifts

This week I received two special gifts.

 

Not the conventional gifts of chocolates, cookies or cards that are commonly given by patients.

 

These gifts came totally unexpectedly, unannounced and unaccompanied by a card.  In fact the givers don’t even know they gave them.  But they were among the best I have received this year so far.  Real live success stories.

 

The first came from a young woman.  She is 20 now and has a small baby.  She carried herself with a confidence that in some ways surprised me. 

 

When I first saw her she was frightened and in pain; sent down to see me by the dental therapist in her home community.  She was pretty enough even with the obvious lack of development of the mid-face till she opened her mouth.  Her teeth had never been cared for and were so decayed and covered by debris that she did not smile.  Her teeth were not only badly decayed but were a jumble; a malocclusion that was so severe from poor jaw development that we wouldn’t even be able to make her decent looking false teeth if we went that route. 

 

This week I received two special gifts.

 

Not the conventional gifts of chocolates, cookies or cards that are commonly given by patients.

 

These gifts came totally unexpectedly, unannounced and unaccompanied by a card.  In fact the givers don’t even know they gave them.  But they were among the best I have received this year so far.  Real live success stories.

 

The first came from a young woman.  She is 20 now and has a small baby.  She carried herself with a confidence that in some ways surprised me. 

 

When I first saw her she was frightened and in pain; sent down to see me by the dental therapist in her home community.  She was pretty enough even with the obvious lack of development of the mid-face till she opened her mouth.  Her teeth had never been cared for and were so decayed and covered by debris that she did not smile.  Her teeth were not only badly decayed but were a jumble; a malocclusion that was so severe from poor jaw development that we wouldn’t even be able to make her decent looking false teeth if we went that route. 

 

In a case such as this, successful treatment depends on attitude, determination and a willingness to change some ingrained habits of hygiene(or lack thereof).  I didn’t know if she could do it but everything depended on it.  We would do our best to get her treated if she kept up her end.  She needed more than what her insurance normally paid in a year.  She needed to see the Orthodontist within the year and she didn’t meet the criteria because of the extent of her decay and her poor hygiene.  We would have to plead her case with the authorities and get the rules bent. 

 

She understood the extensiveness of the treatment she needed enough to leave our office in tears.  She knew that she would have to meet some pretty rigid standards if we were going to advocate for the treatment she needed. 

 

The changes didn’t happen overnight but she came back to be treated.  Little by little we made progress.  We requested special considerations for her from the regional dental officer and got them.  She overcame her fear and had fillings, root canals, more fillings and oral hygiene instruction till we knew that she knew what to do.  She began the long process of getting ready for braces and maxillofacial surgery.

 

This week she came back for her regular check-up.  She came in with a smile, showing off her braces.  She is cavity free this year.  She is flossing, brushing and keeping those braces shiny, even investing some of her own funds for the preventive products we could offer her to help strengthen her enamel.   

 

We didn’t get to see her small baby – the band would spare no funds to send her nursing baby down with her.  As she left we asked if she would like an infant toothbrush to take home for her baby.  “No thanks,” she replied. “Don’t worry though.  I have about five of them.”

 

The second gift also walked out of the office smiling.  He is a big guy; not so old, only seventeen I guess, but he has thick black hair down to the middle of his back and a full beard.  He is the kind of guy you might be afraid to pass walking down the street if you judge by his looks.  In reality, he is one of the most polite gentle young men I know. 

 

A few years ago he came in with his father, his teeth pretty much a jumble in his mouth too.  His dad wanted his son to have better teeth than he did.  So we started work on getting things straightened out.  But kids from homes where the parents have split up can have a real hard time complying with the consistent wear that a retainer type of appliance requires.  So it went with him – missed appointments, poor brushing and instructions not followed very well; walking in late because he had to get himself to our office. 

 

Finally we suggested to him that he come in with his parents and we would discuss discontinuing his orthodontics.  This time mom came in with him.  She promised that she would take control of getting him to the appointments seeing that he brushed and of making the payments.   So we gave him one last chance.

 

The chance we took with him paid off.  Today we removed the braces from his beautiful teeth; straight with no cavities.  It was good to see him leave smiling.

 

That kind of satisfaction, seeing good things come about in kid’s lives and having a part in it, makes me love the work I do. 

Advertisements

Comments Off on Two gifts

Filed under Dental

0 responses to “Two gifts

  1. Yay you!

    These are wonderful stories. They made me get tears in my eyes. Thanks for all you do.

    : )