I’ve often been asked why I’m an orthodontist. Many assume that I’ve always been obsessed with teeth (I haven’t). I’ve been shaped by so many people and experiences that the answer is actually kind of complicated but here is the best attempt I have to sum it up in one sentence: being an orthodontist is my way of using my talents to give others the confidence to use theirs.
Let me explain a little bit…
Before I had orthodontic treatment, I dreaded school photo day. I know a lot of people hate school photo day; most worry about what they are going to wear, but I had to figure out some way to smile without actually showing my teeth. I even dreaded the soccer team photo day (as if my jacked up teeth were some reflection on the quality of my play). I was so ashamed of my smile that I talked as if I was in some ventriloquist act. My orthodontist, Dr. Lindauer, was a miracle worker. By the time I was finished, I smiled with ease and was comfortable enough to speak at my high school graduation.
I searched for a career that married my desire to serve people with my love for science and I found that career in dentistry. After dental school I spent five years serving as a general dentist in the United States Air Force. It was during these years that I decided to pursue orthodontics. There are so many ways to serve people as a general dentist, but, when I thought about my experience with orthodontics; when I thought about how tangible the effects of orthodontic treatment can be; when I thought about a way to reach both adults and teens; when I thought about how much of a difference a smile can make, it was obvious.
Research has been done about the benefits of orthodontics:
- More likely to have improved self image/self confidence
- Less likely to be bullied
- More likely to be viewed favorably by peers and by teachers
- More likely to be hired for a job
- Likely to earn a higher salary
I didn’t need to read about these benefits in an orthodontic journal. I know it. I lived it. Dr. Lindauer changed my life. The confidence I got from my orthodontic treatment has undoubtedly contributed to my life’s journey. I’ve been so many places, done so many things, and, most importantly, met so many great people.
Orthodontics is my way to serve people. I am empowering people, through beautiful smiles, to realize their gifts and their talents so that, they too, might use them to serve others.