Dear Dr. Jennifer Cha,
"If you ever encountered a Genie in a Bottle, and granted you one wish ... What would it be?" my friends asked. While most of them quickly said for a big win in a lottery and/or fame. I wished for my four front teeth to magically reappear.
I was either 14 or 15 years old when my family in the Philippines decided to take me for a dental visit to fix my cavities on my front teeth. Little did I know it was the day that my life would change.
The dentist pulled four of my front teeth. It is now almost 30 years later.
Many times in my life, I have blamed my parents and my relatives for their ignorance; for butchering my mouth at a very early age. However. I came to acceptance that it is not them. It was poverty and ignorance.
Thirteen years ago, I was hopeful and consulted few Dentists in CA. At the end ... They all told me they would not be able to help me. I clearly remember one Dentist examining my mouth and simply saying. "I cannot help you, I'm not God.”· After many attempts of looking for solutions and after many no's, I decided to just give up.
That is when my fear of Dentists escalated, as well as my fear of receiving another “No”.
I envied people who have beautiful teeth. People who can confidently smile with no hesitations. I wanted to speak freely and laugh out loud, without having to have any fear, anxiety and shame. I was afraid of being judged.
Back in 2008, I found some courage to consider visiting a dentist again. After all, it is the year I got married. I remember being absolutely scared and nervous going through the wedding knowing that my guests might notice my ugly smile.
I decided once again to be brave and drive to the Dental Implant Institute. I put my name on the piece of paper and sat quietly. Only to leave few minutes later, the fear got to me once again.
7 years later, April 2015, I am back at the Dental Implant Institute. However this time. I convinced myself to finally pursue it.
After many months of research and reading. I found that Dr. Cha's expertise and experience have a proven track record. What also got my attention is that all the reviews say that “Dr. Cha is a very caring and gentle human being."
April 8th, 2015- My first appointment with Dr. Cha after 13 years of not being with any dentist.
There was only one thing going through my head. Will I hear the word "NO, we cannot help you?!" Dr. Cha came to the room, she ordered the 3D X-ray and she started examining my mouth. Nervous and anxious, Dr. Cha said "Yes, we can do it". I could not believe what I was hearing. She repeated again. "Yes we can help you”. It will be a challenge and long process but she was able to do it.
I finally found my hope. Tears started falling from my eyes.
It was May 26; I had my dental implant surgery. It went on for about 3 hours. Dr. Cha was indeed very gentle and caring. I did not feel any pain at all during the surgery. She made it comfortable for me by continuing to reassure that everything will be just fine.
December 15- Almost 7 months after the surgery. I got my permanent or shall l say my "Amazing Smile".
Or. Jennifer Cha did not just give me a beautiful and amazing smile.
She gave me my confidence. She gave me the freedom to speak and smile without shame and fear. Most importantly, she gave me a reason to continue to believe that with hope and patience, you will get a new beginning.
To Dr. Jennifer Cha, from the bottom of my heart: Thank you! Thank you!
To Edwin, who's always attentive, Maraming Salamat! Thank you also so much for making sure I'm always taken care of.
To Nathan and all the staff of Dental Implant Institute, Thank you so much!
With a Happy Smile,
(Now my husband says I cannot stop smiling 🙂Annalie,