Why I Became a Dentist
By Dr. Hale, Hale Family Dentistry
Some may say that it was my destiny to become a dentist. Not only did my father work in the field as a dental equipment technician, but because of reasons unknown, my teeth did not develop as they should. My mother can recall my teeth being misshaped and pointy when they erupted at the age of one. But It wasn’t until age three when I had my first dental X-Ray that it was revealed an unusual sight. The Panoramic X-Ray revealed that several of my adult teeth, which normally develop under baby teeth, were not there.
As my primary teeth began to fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth, some never grew in. Thirteen of them, to be exact. Nearly half of my mouth was missing teeth. Even more, some of my baby teeth did not fall out. Talk about some stubborn teeth! Those were eventually extracted to make room for alternative teeth replacements.
“It was going to be a long journey before I had a full set of teeth. “
This is a digital panoramic X-Ray of a child whose teeth are developing normally in the jaw. You can see that there are teeth stacked on top of more teeth. Those are adult (permanent) teeth that will push through as the child ages and begins to lose baby (primary) teeth. Thirteen of Dr. Hale’s teeth that should have been under his baby teeth were not there.
As the fall of sixth grade began, so did life with braces. I didn’t mind having braces, though; many other kids had them, too. While there were some adjustments I had to make – I was given a mouth guard for football and hockey practice, which was tough to get used to at first, but braces didn’t affect me too much. It wasn’t until my friends began getting their braces off and I still had mine on that I started to become more aware of any differences. In fact, I had my braces on for over 6 years, which is 3-to-6 times the amount of time for minor teeth realignment. I began to realize that my teeth were a little bit different.
Over the course of my childhood, my dedicated dentist, orthodontist, and oral surgeon worked as a team to coordinate my treatment. Between getting my braces tightened regularly, having multiple teeth extracted, then preparing for the final restoration, I was able to learn more about dentistry than the average kid. My dentist was one of the most compassionate people I had ever known, and he made the process seem easy. I didn’t know it at the time, but the dentist who treated me still says my mouth is the hardest case he has ever had.
Despite everything that was done, I spent a lot of time waiting. Waiting on my jawbone, gums, and face to develop. In the end, we elected to do bridges to replace most of my missing teeth, which make up what my smile is today. At 17, I finally was able to smile confidently. Age seventeen is a very young age to have these sorts of treatments done, but the goal was to have my treatment completed before the end of high school and beginning of college.
“I felt like I had a unique perspective on the profession. More importantly, I really felt that I could impact people’s lives in this profession.”
My smile was bigger, and I showed it more often. Throughout the entire process, I couldn’t help but think about the team of dental specialists that helped me. They made it so much easier to smile, and I loved showing off my new pearly whites. Thinking of the impact that made on my smile and confidence, it was an obvious choice that being in the dental profession would be in my future. I felt like I had a unique perspective on the profession, and more importantly, I felt that I could impact other people’s lives just like my dentist had for me. I wanted to help people smile if they’d never been able to do so before. I guess you could say that I was born to do this job.
People that have missing teeth are able to gain a beautiful smile with modern day dental solutions. At Hale Family Dentistry, we offer many options for tooth replacement. Each situation is different, and everyone’s smile is unique. If you are interested in learning about how Dr. Hale can improve your smile, give us a call today.