Every patient that we are privileged enough to treat in our office has a unique story and no two cases or experiences are the same.
Every so often we come across a patient whose orthodontic journey really stands out. That would be an understatement for Sam; a young woman who recently finished her treatment with us. She was already in braces when she came to us and she is a true testament to how much orthodontic treatment can transform a patient’s entire life. Sam gave us her blessing to share the story of her journey here, and how orthodontic treatment has impacted her life.
Sam’s story begins years ago. Growing up, Sam hated her smile. Her mom always told her that she “had a small mouth with too many teeth.” She hated smiling with her teeth, so much so that she didn’t even smile in her senior photo. That’s a regret she has always had. Once Sam got to college, she learned to accept her teeth. She overcame her insecurity, embraced her crooked smile and even became confident with it. Despite this, she always knew that someday she’d be in a financial situation to afford treatment and would finally be able to get “that perfect straight smile” she always wanted.
Fast forwarding several years, Sam had the opportunity to start working for a dental practice in Massachusetts. She admitted that, due to her dental issues, she had avoided seeing the dentist for most of her life. The doctors and team she started working with helped her to learn the importance of proper oral health and this set in motion a journey of restorative care culminating with the beginning of her orthodontic treatment.
The Dentist Sam worked for was certified to do Invisalign and the 6 Month Smiles braces system. He told Sam she wasn’t a candidate for Invisalign, but he could do 6 Month Smiles for her. Sam’s orthodontic experience began very traumatically with the extraction of four bicuspids without enough novocaine. Complications from those extractions caused her a lot of stress, anxiety, and discomfort. The process made her feel “so ugly and insecure all over again” and caused days on an emotional rollercoaster.
As she progressed down the road of 6 Month Smiles, Sam was having two-week adjustments that caused her almost constant discomfort and she became more and more unhappy with her teeth. About 7 months into treatment, the alignment of her front teeth was so bad that one tooth was rotating backward and almost out of her gums. Her dentist was unsure of how to address the issues and was googling how to fix Sam’s front teeth! This is when she realized she needed to seek another opinion. She “pumped the brakes on treatment and lost all respect and faith in the doctor”, (the dentist she was still working for).
Sam sought a second opinion from an orthodontist in the area who told her he could reverse everything and fix it but she’d need to come completely out of braces and get back into them in a “proper system.” Since it was a complete start-to-finish comprehensive orthodontic case, she would also be faced with a full treatment fee. Sam was devastated. “I felt so defeated and I was so mad at myself because if my doctor ever said to me that there was a chance he couldn’t finish my case then I never would have gone through with the whole process.” She left feeling like an experiment gone wrong and was left to deal with it on her own.
Luckily for Sam, her best friend Alexis is part of the Koz team and encouraged her to come down from Massachusetts to see what Dr. Jeff had to say and to learn about the Damon System braces used here in the office. Sam did her research and told us “I was very happy with what I found – an honest and caring doctor that puts his patients above everything else.” After her initial consult with Dr. Jeff and the team, Sam had her 6 Month Smile braces removed and Damon System braces placed the same day. Like many of our 18-30-year-old patients, her biggest fear about addressing her smile was always about being able to afford it. She remembers that first visit to our office and said “The financing you guys offered me was absolutely incredible. Your staff did such an incredible job of meeting those needs for me and I am forever grateful for that!”
We wanted to know how this journey had impacted Sam’s life. She recounts, “Dr. Jeff and his team saved me and my smile! At that point it didn’t matter the drive or cost because I truly believed in him, his team and work. The first time I ever came to the Kozlowski office I was just overwhelmed by the kindness and support that Dr. Jeff and his staff provided me. They brought my hope back and helped me to regain confidence in braces and also in doctors. I was in and began my smile recovery journey.” She shared that shortly after starting treatment with us she no longer continued working for the general dentist and that she believes everything happens for a reason. “This whole process has not only lead me to my dream of having a perfect smile, but it has also set me on my career goal of becoming a hygienist and making sure patients receive the proper care and honesty they deserve.” She’s passionate about protecting other patients from having the experience she had from agreeing to treatment with a general dentist who was certified to utilize an orthodontic treatment “system” but had no actual training in how to move teeth – a common issue with general dentists performing orthodontic treatment.
A year later, Sam just recently got her braces off and we were lucky enough to capture that special moment on video and we are thrilled to be able to share her story with you. So we will leave you with the video, some photos, and Sam’s last thoughts –
“I still can’t get over the support and kindness you guys provided me through this whole process. It truly is unbelievable and humbling to know that there is a team out there that goes above and beyond to meet the needs of the patient instead of just trying to gain their money. My smile now is positively perfect! I am in such awe of how it turned out and can’t express my gratitude enough. I am finally smiling all the time again and everyone around me has noticed such a difference in my attitude and just how much happier I am. It’s amazing! It’s funny because I will still catch myself not smiling with my teeth because I’ve been so accustom my entire life to hide my smile and I finally don’t have to do that anymore and it’s just so surreal. I really just want to thank Dr. Jeff and his amazing team for providing me with that perfect smile that I honestly believed I would never have, and it’s just an amazing experience and I am so thankful to have been able to share it with you all.”
Congratulations Sam! We cannot wait to see the impact you and your amazing new smile have in this world!