New 'snap-on' appliance brightening smiles

December 26, 2011 4:55:20 PM PST
Self-confidence can be a fragile thing. Losing it can affect nearly every aspect of your life. A Houston area man who's fallen on recent tough times knows that lesson first-hand. But a Houston dentist is helping him regain what he's lost while at the same time restoring his smile and brightening his holiday spirit.

The last couple of years have been rough for Mike Anderson. First, he lost his job. Then, he lost his smile.

"I was helping a couple, an older couple, move out of an apartment and I kinda got tangled up with a China cabinet and it came back and hit me in the face and knocked out three of my three front teeth loose," Anderson said.

Unemployed, living out of his truck and without a good smile, he lost his confidence.

"I believe when you're in a professional environment, you have to have a professional appearance. And I believe having missing front teeth is something that is gonna hinder you," Anderson said.

He sought help from dentist Dr. Terri Alani. She told him about something called Snap-On Smile, an appliance that fits over your teeth and snaps right in.

"You can eat, you can speak, you can chew. You can do just about anything," Dr. Alani said.

After donating her services, Dr. Alani had Anderson come in for a fitting. She took X-rays and made an assessment of what needed to be done.

The wait for the final product was probably be the hardest thing for Anderson.

"You can't do anything when you don't have confidence in yourself. And that's the main reason I want to get this done -- so that I can get a job again and get my apartment back and my car back and get everything I once had in my life," Anderson said.

A few weeks later, his Snap-On Smile arrived and it was an emotional moment for doctor and patient. He says he now has to re-learn how to smile, because it's been so long since he's done it.

"This is just absolutely amazing what this can do for your self esteem. I'm gonna tear this city up now," Anderson said.

"It's probably the most gratifying thing that we do in our office," Dr. Alani said. "Hopefully, he will get into the workplace, be able to interview, be able to have the confidence that he needs to find a job, become employed and be able to live his life on a daily basis waking up every morning feeling good about himself."

"It's an amazing feeling, definitely. I don't have to be self-conscious anymore, not about my smile," Anderson said.

Anderson has not landed a job yet, but he says he believes his chances are much greater now with his newfound confidence and smile.

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