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Peru, IL 61354-1597
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WHY A SMILE CAN BE SO IMPORTANT, Story from "Soul Surfer"
This comes from an article in the Editor's Corner, written in the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics, a story about how a great smile can be so important.....
Along with the clinical presentations, The Damom Forum featured a celebrity guest speaker: the utterly remarkable Bethany Hamilton. At age 13, while surfing off Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany lost her left arm just below the shoulder in an attack by a 15-foot tiger shark. Most of us would have been reluctant to go back in the water at all, but Bethany resumed surfing less than a month after the near-fatal incident. Now 22, she is regarded as a strong competitor on the world professional surfing circuit. Her story has been told through her book, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and fighting to Get Back on the Board, and a subsequent feature film, Soul Surfer, and she has developed a worldwide following.
When Bethany took the stage in Phoenix, I expected a stock, rah-rah "inspirational" speech. What I witnessed instead was a genuine, down-to-earth young lady completely devoid of any airs or attitudes-one whom any parent would be proud to have as a daughter. She modestly recounted the horrendous encounter with the shark in an onstage interview by an Ormco executive. Later that day, several of us orthodontic editors were invited to private interviews with Bethany, and this was where she really impressed me. The session began with a review of her orthodontic treatment by Dr. Patrick Turley of Manhattan Beach, California. Pretreatment records showed a Class III dentition with severe upper crowding, ectopic upper canines, and an anterior open bite-all resulting in a decidedly unesthetic smile that detracted from her natural beauty. Her face and smile now, several years post-treatment, are gorgeous; it's the kind of treatment outcome that would delight any orthodontist.
During my interview with Bethany, she told me that she had always been self-conscious about her smile and that, prior to treatment, she usually covered her mouth when she was talking or being photographed. I cringe when I hear that from any young person, boy or girl, who has an otherwise beautiful face. With some hesitation, I asked Bethany if she had been embarressed about her crooked smile or her missing left arm. She put me at ease with a giggle, saying that she was never self-conscious about the missing arm, but that her "ugly smile"- in her words-was almost socially crippling to her. When you see her now in her promotional photos, dressed in elegant evening gowns, she displays a radiant smile emanating from a naturally attractive face, overriding any other aspect of her appearance. She is a remarkably beautiful young lady, inisde and out, and her smile caps off that beauty.