Tiffany’s story

141102 Kemp FeatureDr. David Kemp recounts a collaboration that changed a patient’s life

There are endless mountaintop mile-stones I am proud of throughout my 28 years of orthodontic practice. There is one story, however, I am most proud of. Tiffany was a sophomore in college, and, because of the appearance of her teeth, she made a decision to go to a local dentist with money in hand to have her upper teeth removed for denture placement.

The local Affordable Dentures® of Nashville refused Tiffany’s wishes and mentioned there was a better solution. I am very thankful for the dentist who recognized that Tiffany needed something special to happen to help her with her situation. He referred her to the show “Extreme Makeover,” and she applied for a spot on the show. After a short while, the lead producer of the show called Tiffany to tell her that, while her situation with her smile was really bad, he could not produce a full episode for her.

However, he referred her to Dr. Dennis Wells of Nashville Center for Aesthetic Dentistry. Dr. Wells introduced Tiffany to the philanthropic Pinnacle Seattle Study Club of Nashville, which chose without hesitation to take on Tiffany’s case.  We were delighted to have the opportunity to change a most wonderful young lady’s life through our professional abilities. I want to thank Dr. Michael Skinner for his periodontal treatment for Tiffany and Dr. Dennis Wells of Nashville Center for Aesthetic Dentistry for his restorative veneer treatment for Tiffany.

The following is how Tiffany tells her story.

“Every time I would smile or laugh I would cover my mouth. When I was 18 years old, I was starting college, and I decided I wanted to have a fresh start meeting new people at college. I was so embarrassed for anyone to see my teeth, and that made me revert inward. I made a decision I would change this, so I decided to get my upper teeth pulled and a have dentures placed. I was thinking this would give me a better appearance in the community.”

Tiffany’s desires were, “I just want a normal, straight smile, for my teeth to be the same color and not splotchy. I would really like not to show as much of my upper gum, and I would love to have a beautiful smile.”

Tiffany’s interests and logistical issues due to traveling back and forth for care from college were considered when developing a treatment plan. She lived almost 2 hours away at college. The treatment goals focused on correcting her excessive gingival display, asymmetry, occlusal plane, short clinical crowns, and mottled enamel after eliminating generalized gingivitis and achieving oral health. The orthodontic strategy was to treat the patient without extractions. The focus for final position of

141102 Kemp 01Tiffany’s upper anterior teeth was to establish gingival marginal heights with symmetry for esthetic veneer placement. Clarity™ (3M Unitek) brackets were positioned at different heights on the left and right upper anterior teeth to ensure the leveling of the anterior occlusal plane. Variable Prescription Orthodontics (VPO) was used by inverting the brackets on the upper anterior teeth to provide the best possible torque mechanics throughout orthodontic treatment.

We wanted to retract her anteriors as much as possible, making way to provide ideal veneer placement. An indirect orthodontic bonding technique was used to provide accurate progressive placement of the brackets. The gummy smile was also substantially improved by the simultaneous intrusion and retraction of the upper anterior and posterior teeth. Cosmetic crown lengthening was performed to establish more ideal proportions of the anterior teeth as well as to continue to reduce the gingiva display.

Ten years later, Tiffany says, “My goal was to become a lawyer, and I know if you are in the courtroom, you are in front of people, meeting with clients all the time, you have to have a nice smile to be presentable. My transformation journey that Dr. Kemp, Dr. Skinner, and Dr. Wells provided gave me my life back and truly gave me the confidence to become a lawyer.  I finished law school with honors in Memphis and have practiced family and personal injury law for the past 2 years. I have now moved back to middle Tennessee, and I am interviewing law firms for a job in real estate law in the Franklin and Brentwood, Tennessee area.

“This was a life-changer event for me. I now have the confidence to go up to people and be able to talk to them with ease. I do not have to cover my mouth when I smile anymore. I am so much more outgoing. I love to put myself out there. I am not trying to hide, and I am not as timid. This has given me the ability to let my personality shine. I am not embarrassed any more. I still get compliments on my smile all the time, and I never would have dreamed that I would ever have that experience.

“This journey has improved my quality of life in an unbelievable way. I used to keep to myself and was really quiet. Now that I have a great smile, I can put myself out there, and I am not afraid to talk to people. I now can smile freely, and I have so much more self-confidence. This experience has given me the freedom to truly be who I want to be.”

Treating Tiffany and watching her life story unfold has been one of my greatest professional and personal experiences. To see her reach her full potential and hear her tell her story is more rewarding to me than words can really address. This story and the stories of all my patients capture what my idea of being a successful orthodontist is really about — changing people’s lives in a positive way by creating their beautiful smiles.

Tiffany’s video story can be viewed on our website at Click on the YouTube Channel tab on the upper right corner of our website, and click on Tiffany’s Story.

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