Could cosmetic dentistry help survivors heal from domestic abuse? Research shows that going to the dentist can vastly improve both physical health and self-perception. People who regularly visit the dentist are far more likely to find financial and romantic success, just a few of the endless benefits of a perfect smile.
But even south Florida dentist Dr. Steven Roth couldn’t have predicted the magical reaction his care would evoke from a recent patient.
Recovery from Domestic Abuse
Kariza Fernandes’ husband beat her beyond recognition. Sadly, he trapped her in a van and threw her out of the vehicle as he accelerated.
She woke up in the hospital and immediately got a sense of the damage she had sustained when she saw everyone staring at her. A look in the mirror revealed what Fernandes described as a “dead person walking.”
The violent abuse had completely destroyed the magnetic smile people associated with her. She was left with a broken jaw, broken nose and five missing teeth.
Fernandes’ jaw was wired shut throughout the next few months to prepare her for several surgeries that would repair her facial wounds. The next step was reconstructing her teeth. Fortunately, a friend of hers knew exactly who to call.
The Rewards of Making Someone Smile
“When I heard about Kariza’s case, I’m like, I would love to do it,” Dr. Roth told CBS Miami. “Dentistry is an interesting art,” Roth said. “When you have the reward of making somebody smile and making them feel good about themselves, there’s nothing better.”
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In a single operation, Dr. Roth resurrected this domestic abuse survivor’s smile. In fact, he was so successful, it appeared as though no visible traces of the attack remained.
When Dr. Roth showed Fernandes the results of the cosmetic procedure, she was so overcome with emotion that she could barely speak. Only tears of joy streamed down her face.
The Importance of a Healthy Smile
“It was the time that I valued the mirror the most in my life, when I saw my smile back,” she said.
Dr. Roth was moved by her reaction. After all, few patients look at him with such gratitude and joy during an appointment.
“As a dentist, we always hear, ‘I hate the dentist,’ or ‘I hate going to the dentist.’ It’s nice when someone comes out smiling and feeling better than when they came in.”
Dr. Roth’s stunning work is a reminder of how important a healthy smile is. A healthy smile can boost confidence and overall emotional state. The operation restored Fernandes’ self-esteem. It allowed her to see the bright future ahead.
“One smile, one tooth can change a person’s whole character, personality, feelings,” she said. “I looked at it as a rebirth. I was reborn again”
Helping Other Domestic Abuse Survivors
Fernandes’ transformation ultimately inspired her to go back to work as a fashion designer. Now, she donates a portion of sales from her clothing line to organizations that help victims of domestic abuse. According to CBS Miami, approximately 75% of domestic violence wounds effect the head, neck and mouth, so it’s safe to say Fernandes donations could very well help other victims bring back their smiles.
“If we all had Kariza’s charisma and her inspiration the world would be a better place,” said Dr. Roth. “And let’s make it that way. Let’s focus on the positive. Let’s bring people forward and help each other. The world would be a lot better.”
Fernandes is not the only victim of serious violence who has been transformed by Dr. Roth. A firm believer in charity work, he once donated a whole month of his services to reconstructing the smiles of war veterans.
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