• October 15, 2020

New smiles change lives

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Without question, everyday life feels chaotic. The pandemic, financial pressures, school challenges, the election, stress, the news, the home to-do list. Life feels like a slog.

The pressure points for dentists are no different than the rest of us, but there is an almost magical reward that dentists alone enjoy: reinventing people.

Recently, a national news radio business show carried the story of a woman who suffered a childhood accident that damaged her front teeth. The consequences trapped her in snap judgments and poverty for her young adulthood, cutting off job opportunities and consigning her to dead-end jobs and poverty.

Ryanne Jones’ decayed teeth continued to deteriorate. Aiming for higher-paying jobs to support herself and her baby, she raised her sights on better, professional jobs. But in interview after interview, she lost out. A friend with connections in one prospective workplace relayed that the interviewer pegged Jones as a meth addict because of her thin build and rotten teeth. She called her broken teeth a “billboard.” She was ashamed of her appearance and, due to limited means, saw no way out.

Then her grandmother offered to loan her $2,500 for dental work. “This is my chance up,” Jones said.

After her teeth were pulled and she was fitted with dentures, the future changed. Interviews turned into jobs. Experience turned into better jobs. She received compliments on her smile. Her chance to leave poverty arrived. Looking back, her dentures were the singular thing to put her – and her son – on a new trajectory.

Ryanne Jones was reinvented.

This is the reward of dentistry.

As these days make many of us feel overwhelmed and undermotivated, remember you are unique: you hold the key to reset someone’s future and have the talent to deliver a new smile to a broken spirit. That is a gift.

Listen the story of Rayanne.


CDS presents Front Desk, a column addressing issues facing dentists and staff members experience in the office.


Front Desk is prepared by Stephanie Sisk, Assistant Director of Communications for the Chicago Dental Society.

Photo by Kassidy Sherburne /


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