I was asked to record a short message about my experience of being the lucky winner of the High Street Practice – Gift of a Smile competition, which seemed easy enough but it was such a short window and I had so much to say. So I thought I would put into words my experience.
I remember reading the paper and seeing the competition and thinking, wow, what a fantastic prize I would love that. I know everyone dreams of winning a lovely holiday or a shiny new car but a smile, now that was different and something I would dearly love, but didn’t do anything about it.
The following week I saw the advert again and I thought to myself I would really love to win that prize and I could not stop thinking about it. 2012 was an important year for me, my daughter was due to graduate and it was my 50th birthday both big photo opportunities. All I could think about was the competition and if I had nice teeth I would be able to smile in the photo’s rather than the usual grimace that looked like I was chewing a wasp. The competition stated that you could nominate someone or nominate yourself. I decided I would rather selfishly nominate myself, so I completed my entry and sent it off never expecting to hear any more.
It was a rare weekend when my daughter was home from university when I received my letter telling me I was one of the finalists in the competition. I was so excited and when I told my daughter I was a finalist in a competition to have £10,000 of dental work she said she was really surprised that I had applied but also very pleased for me as she knew how unhappy I was about my teeth.
I was invited to visit the practice to have a dental consultation as part of the competition process. I had not been to the dentist for quite some time and was worried about the poor condition of my teeth. I must admit I was really nervous.
I recall being greeted by some of the nicest staff who were so excited for me and I was soon totally at my ease. I was shown through to the dentist and that was when I first met Jaspal Sandu the man who was behind this fantastic competition. He carried out a very thorough examination of my mouth and teeth. He asked me lots of questions about what I did and didn’t like about my teeth and what my expectations were. He was lovely and made me feel totally comfortable to be able to speak about my teeth and the problems I had.
I must admit I did enjoy the examination as it not only covered the condition of my teeth but also the health of my mouth and we spoke about mouth cancer which was not something I had previously thought about. The x-rays that were taken revealed the true horror my teeth and I remember thinking that there was a lot of work required and I could not expect to win. If nothing else, I had had a very thorough examination and discussion about oral health and left the practice feeling very upbeat as it had been a most pleasant and informative experience.
I remember quite clearly the day I received the telephone call to say that I was the winner of the competition. I have never won anything before and this for me was just the best prize I could have won, I was ecstatic. Then the reality kicked in and I thought, what was I doing, I hate going to the dentist and my mind was filled with horrible thoughts of drills, injections and discomfort. I then thought about the dental practice and how lovely everyone had been and how comfortable I had felt. The practice had been so professional yet caring and it was this thought that re-assured me and made me realise how very lucky I was.
A treatment plan was created for me that entailed teeth whitening, replacement white fillings, new crowns, and a replacement bridge.
Never once in all my appointments did I feel uncomfortable or in any pain. In fact I really used to look forward to my appointments as I could very soon see the improvement with my teeth. I recall on one occasion I was so comfortable and relaxed that Jas had ask me to open my mouth wider as I was actually biting down on his finger as I was drifting off.
I must mention the lovely Alex who replaced my fillings. She has such a passion for what she does and really takes such a great pride in her work. She is such a credit to the practice.
I cannot tell you what a difference having this treatment has made to me. I was always reluctant to smile as I thought people would be looking at my teeth, but now I smile at any given opportunity. As for having photographs taken I can now step forward without any hesitation giving my biggest cheesiest grin. Not a day goes by when I don’t give myself a great big smile in the mirror just to make sure that it was not just a dream and yes I do have a great smile.
I am very fortunate to have won this prize and not a day goes by when I don’t acknowledge that fact. I can only encourage other people who have been worried about having dental treatment and perhaps like me had neglected their dental health to visit the dental practice to find out how they can help you. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised and might even leave with a smile on your face.
I would like to close by saying a big thank you to all the staff at the practice; you have all made my experience an amazing one for which I am truly grateful.