Being a teenager is tough. It’s even tougher if you have buck teeth and pimples. I was always the butt of jokes and for no reason at all, apart from appearance, people would tease me and make fun of my teeth. Naturally, my lust for life slowly disappeared as the all the name calling stripped away my confidence and little by little I recoiled into my shell and shied away from social interactions.
My usually fun-loving happy-go-lucky personality disappeared and I became an introvert that stayed inside a lot of the time. Fortunately, as I got older my pimples disappeared, although I still had the problem of teeth. This underlying issue was always in the back of my mind and I could never truly relax at work or at social gatherings. In fact, I tried to avoid them at all costs, as I didn’t feel comfortable in the slightest.
Then on my 24th birthday, my mum and dad surprised me by taking me to consultation with the dentist to see what could be done about my teeth. After the consultation, I was in tears. The thought of me having straight teeth, normal teeth was almost unfathomable. I couldn’t even imagine what I would look like. The road to straight teeth was long and I had to put up with wearing aligners for a bit over a year. But it was worth it. Let’s fast forward then to now.
I can’t begin to tell you how much my life has changed since undertaking this procedure. At first, it was hard to adjust my mental state as the old shy me still lingered in the background. In my head, I was still the buck tooth girl from high school. Little by little my attitude started to change as my confidence grew – it didn’t happen instantly, but was a gradual thing.
Before, my teeth were the first thing people noticed about me. Although they wouldn’t say anything, I could tell that they were trying to be nice and not stare at them. Now my teeth are noticed, but in a more positive light. It took me a while to get into the habit of smiling after all the years of trying to hide my teeth. As soon I realised that my smile was no longer going to send people running, I did it more often and I received smiles back. It’s amazing the power of smiling and receiving them back. My confidence started to grow and I felt my personality return.
I started getting compliments from the opposite sex. At first, I didn’t know how to deal with people saying nice things too, as I was the subject of ridicule for so long. I would coyly say “thank you” and remove myself from the situation as soon as possible. I didn’t know if they were serious or not. As time passed and I started learning to love myself more and more, my personality started to shine through and life got a hell of a lot better. I would spring out of bed eager for the day, excited to what life had on offer for me.
My new found social life expanded my horizons as I grew more and more confident each day. I made a lot of friends through work and various social activities. My schedule between work and fun was full. The more I was able to bring my personality to the forefront the more people would want to be in my company. I think people like to be around people who are comfortable in their own skin.
Deep down I was always the person I am now, but I was hiding, probably a defense mechanism because I didn’t want to be hurt and ridiculed, so I would walk with my head down, mouth closed and try not to interact with anyone. It’s hardly inviting body language and it’s no wonder I didn’t have many friends or a social life. Now I can walk with my head held high and big, bright smile.
Not a day goes by when I don’t meet a new person. I always get comments on how beautiful my smile is. In the wake of my dental procedure, I have since got a promotion at work due to my new found confidence. I always worked hard and did my job well, but always went unnoticed as I was shy and recluse. I now have a fiancé who I met through a friend at work. My life is on track – my work, my love life, and my social life. I feel like a more rounded human being. Don’t get me wrong, I was always this person, although I kept them buried deep within as I didn’t really think I deserved to be her.
Sometimes we just need a little nudge in the right direction to get back on track and for it was cosmetic dentistry. It really changed my life and I wondered how my school life would have been if I had straight teeth. I don’t have any regrets as going through that ridicule has made me more empathetic towards other people. But I would never go back.