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Front Page » November 25, 2004 » The Business Journal » Somebody Caring
Published 3,536 days ago

Somebody Caring


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By KEN LARSON
Sun Advocate publisher

Wendy Smith spent a lifetime struggling with her teeth. Walking into Dr. Vance Fonnesbeck's office was "like walking into a whole new world."

There have been a lot of surprises in Wendy Smith's life the past few months. It all started when she began going to her dentist Dr. Vance Fonnesbeck. After several meetings she went to Dr. Fonnesbeck to get fitted for an upper partial denture and came out a changed women. Besides getting new teeth Wendy ended up getting a complete make-over including a new hair style. Her big day was August 25 when Dr. Fonnesbeck performed an extreme dental make-over including a partial denture replacement on Wendy's missing front teeth. The dentist's team felt that they wanted to add a few extras to create a new image. After replacing her teeth they surprised her with a complete make-over including her hair.

The new look made the staff feel so good, "We thanked her for making our day," said Alice Warren, who works with Dr. Fonnesbeck's team and was part of the make-over efforts, but Wendy responded, "thank you for making my life."

Wendy left the office with a new image and greater self-confidence. She has expressed this experience many times as a life-changing event. "Her enormous and giving heart now matches with her beautiful make-over," adds Warren, who is a professional make-over artist.

In a testimony of the experience Wendy said that "ever since I was a little girl I've had a lot of problems with my teeth. I can brush my teeth three or four times a day and it never fails, I have always had some serious cavities."

She explained that she had a really bad over-bite in her teenage years and ended up with braces, which she wore for four years. "While I had my braces I did everything I possibly could to take care of my teeth." I brushed and water picked two and three times a day. Every time I ate, I brushed.

But when the orthodontist took her braces off her teeth she had another case of cavities. "All my life no matter how good I tried to take care of my teeth, I always ended up with cavities," she says.

The new Wendy Smith. With a new partial denture the staff at Dr. Fonnesbeck's office decided to treat Wendy with a complete make-over, including a new hair style. "My whole face glowed, it made me very happy."

When she walked into Dr. Fonnesbeck's office with serious dental problems he told her that she had gum problems and told her that she need to floss her teeth. "I looked at him really dumbfounded because no one in all my years had ever told me about flossing or had even taken the time to show me how," She explained that the dentist and his staff took the time to show her the proper way of caring for her teeth. "I started to floss and brush the way they showed me and within just a couple appointments they were seeing a change in my mouth," she adds.

"Before I came into his office I felt like I was just a person taking up space," she explains. "I felt real down on myself and felt people looked at me like I was always in the way. They were probably hoping that I wouldn't smile because of how my mouth looked," she admitted.

She says that Dr. Fonnesbeck and his staff took her in and always treated her kindly. "They never looked at me like everyone else did.. They always had bright, glowing smiles in them like it was part of their attire. For me, walking into Dr. Fonnesbeck's office was like walking into a while new world. There was never any stress and nothing was ever too much to handle."

As the work on her mouth progressed she heard compliments from people on a daily basis on how much better she was looking and, "are you losing weight?" or "your teeth look good." People even said that she seemed happier. When she went to Dr. Fonnesbeck's office to be fitted for her partial denture, he placed the "wax try-in" partial in her mouth the whole staff said, "my whole face glowed." "That made me very happy, I wanted to just cry. I was wishing that it was my partial."

The day soon came when she went in to get her dentures. That was the day she could honestly say, "was one of the best days of my life." I walked in a few moments before my appointment and sat down so that someone was aware I was there and then I got up and went and brushed my teeth in the restroom," explains Wendy. When she returned Sally Ann Flores and Dawn Stowe, two of Dr. Fonnesbeck's staff were ready for her and told her, "We're so excited. Today is a great day for you." Two other staff members Alice Warren and Jessie Simms came in and said, "you mean her teeth are not in yet?" Everyone wanted to see what her teeth were going to look like.

"I was the person of the day and it made me feel so good," she said glowing.

She overhead someone saying something about doing her hair and as odd as that seemed she simply thought they were going to curl her hair in the dentist chair. Once her partials were in she was told that she had a hair appointment at Don Marcos on Main Street and Whitney Waterfall surprised her with a beautiful hair make-over. The staff had made arrangements for her to take the rest of the day off from work and her next step was a complete make-over at Mary Kay by Alice Warren.

She later returned to Dr. Fonnesbeck's office to show off her new look. "It was so exciting. It made me feel like a million bucks. It made me feel that I do fit in and I am recognized. People are still falling over me and how great I look. It's like a 180-degree overnight. It's wonderful."

Dr. Fonnesbeck began his practice in Price in 1989 and was Wendy Smith's dentist. He offers Cerec 3D Cad Cam, all porcelain restoration system which creates one-visit crowns and also does one-visit root canals. He also offers the Zoom Professional Tooth Whitening System, as seen on ABC Extreme Makeovers. Zoom is a one-time visit for teeth whitening without wearing uncomfortable trays.

His staff was so excited about helping Wendy Smith change her life that the entire staff traveled to Las Vegas and participated in the ABC Extreme Makeover continuing education training by Dr. Bill Dorfman.

Dr. Fonnesbeck's office will now be working with local plastic and oral surgeons as well as dermatologists assisting others who may be in similar situations as Wendy Smith. Agencies participating in these efforts include Voc. Rehab, the wrap-around program and the women's shelter.

Warren explained that the program offers these women better self-esteem. "They feel better just because they look better. It's just a simple thing like this that could turn their lives around."

Warren explained that no payment could ever make them feel as good as they did by just pitching it. "But it all starts with somebody caring."



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