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Vanity vs Happiness

/ / Sass Savvy & Success

Sometimes the line between vanity and happiness is a little blurry.

A recent dental appointment made a dream come true and ended a frustration I’ve had for years.

Eyes and Smiles

The first things I notice about a person are their eyes and their smile.  As I’ve aged my teeth have shifted slightly forward in my mouth and one front tooth got crowded back somewhat.  That tooth was always in the shadows and, to me, looked dead. I was self-conscious in photos to the point that even pics with my grandchildren were taken begrudgingly.  Call it Vanity, but I love to smile, always have, and to now dislike my smile, was disconcerting.

I’ve recently moved back to the city I lived in for 30+ years.  Realigning with my favourite professionals was a high priority.  My dentist was a high energy woman who knew her stuff – I’d trusted my children’s mouths to her so I looked forward to being back in her capable hands.

She did a complete analysis as I’d been out-of-town for 11 years.  I can’t remember her question but I pointed at my tooth and looked grumpy (her hands and a tool were in my mouth so words were not possible).  She read my look immediately and in her boisterous fashion acknowledged my predicament with a comment that she could fix that, no problem.  Still unable to speak I rubbed my fingers together to suggest her solution would cost more money than I had to spend. Not at all was her reply!

Fix My Smile

Completing her examination of my dental situation, she proceeded to explain what she could do to fix my smile and make me happy.  Something about fronting up my teeth, realigning the teeth… all with her great skill as opposed to orthodontics or expensive porcelain caps.

I do have a dental plan.  It covers 70% and has a yearly maximum but 30% of a multi-thousand-dollar dental bill is still quite a bit of cash so I’ve never really followed up on my displeasure.  I just avoided photos whenever possible.

I love this dentist however and threw myself into her hands.  An appointment was available the following week. I was so excited I texted my daughters the minute I was home.  Flat responses came back immediately – they’d never seen any problem with my tooth or my smile so what exactly was Dr. C going to do?  Gotta love the people who love you so much they never see the warts.

Happiness / Vanity

Here is where I return full-circle to the Vanity/Happiness part.  Wanting to get healthy teeth “fixed” is Vanity, pure and simple.  However, my happiness was attached, really attached, to the “fix” and I counted down the days until my appointment.

Two hours in the chair, flat on my back, mouth wide open while an energetic woman with a face mask and latex gloves worked and checked and worked some more and checked from every different angle in the room – and then raised my chair, took her assistant and stood directly in front of me and told me to smile.

They both grinned back – that grin that tells you they really like the job they’ve just done.  And then I was handed a mirror.

Smiling Now!

I smiled at my refection and then laughed.  I was thrilled with the results!  My teeth were not Hollywood starlet perfect but my smile was back and I liked it.

I smiled at that mirror.  I smiled at my dentist and her assistant.  I smiled into the rear view when I returned to my car and I smiled at myself again in the bathroom when I got home.

I had taken a before-picture earlier in the day and I took an after-picture right away.  I sent the early one to my daughters first and then, accompanied with an all-caps TA-DAAAA!, sent the after pic.  Sent to my daughters because they would be excited for my glee even if they hadn’t seen any issue before.

How About You?

So there is my story of Vanity meeting Happiness.  Do you have a small imperfection you’d like to correct?  I’m not talking major face lifts or lipo, just something small.  So small maybe no one else notices and then, yes, it might qualify as Vanity.  If your results could create the Happiness I felt after getting my teeth done though, I think you should make a few inquiries.

For those of you who are wondering, after the Dental Plan kicked in I paid $350.  This sort of happiness is worth $350.


Before: my apptmt was early so my hair was still wet from the shower
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Darla M. Sands
2 years ago

I’m so happy for you! My husband received antibiotics as a baby to save his life. They stained his teeth, which was a fair trade-off. Be well!

2 years ago

While I think you had a lovely smile before… what an amazing difference after! Kudos on investing in your personal happiness 🙂

2 years ago

I’ve never met you but I still love your smile in BOTH pictures. That said, I’m all for doing small things that bring you joy. Even if non-one could see the difference but you (and yes, I can see the difference… but you still have a great smile in picture 1), it’s still OK to have done it! I’m dealing with a similar challenge (body image, not smile)…no-one notices but me and I’m contemplating getting it “fixed”. The joy in your post makes me more confident in exploring it (and yes, cost will be factor for me as well). Keep… Read more »

2 years ago

Your dentist did an awesome job. I can see the difference. Everything I would have done right now would be major. lol

2 years ago

Wow! What an amazing transformation. My teeth have shifted since I’ve aged too. I use to have perfectly spaced teeth, now I have a gap in my two front teeth and I don’t like to smile for photographs either. I don’t have the great dental insurance you have, so I just live with it.

Johanna Castro
2 years ago

I agree about the fine line between vanity and health, but I think when happiness is concerned it’s a no-brainer. The first thing people notice is your smile and now yours looks just wonderful. Well done for being brave enough to get things fixed 🙂

Leanne |

I was a dental therapist/hygienist for many, many years, so the first thing I notice is people’s teeth (and my own!) I think the money you spent was worth every cent – your end result is such an improvement on where you started. Many people wouldn’t notice, but having straight teeth and a confident smile is such a confidence booster – good on you for being brave enough to trust your dentist and to make the leap!
Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM 🙂

Jennifer Jones
2 years ago

You’re so brave! I need dental work badly but I’m terrified of dentists. I know this has affected my life as I’ve forgotten how to smile after years of feeling self conscious. Well done on finding the courage. And it cost you such a small amount for a big boost in confidence #MLSTL

Lori Jo
2 years ago

Good for you! This is not vanity, it is truly something that bothered you for a while. We can remain selfless for many years, then the time comes to treat yourself to some “tweaks” that bring you joy! So happy that you did this for yourself, it looks wonderful and your face is joyous – don’t justify the money, it is priceless 😀 My blog is all about “Find Your Flair, Be You!”, drop by for some fun “you” stuff when you can. I will be divulging some of my “tweaks” soon.

Lori Jo – 50 With Flair

Christie Hawkes
2 years ago

Our smiles are so important. If your teeth were keeping you from a genuine smile, I’m all for the dental fix. Your after picture looks great by the way, she did an excellent job, and you have a beautiful smile. Enjoy! (I found you post on #MLSTL.)

2 years ago

Wow, I never saw the flaw but can sure see the difference! Good for you!!!!!

Kristin Alicia
2 years ago

Your smile looks beautiful! If it makes a big difference to how you feel, then it is definitely worth it. My son doesn’t like to smile in photos because he doesn’t like his teeth. From my perspective, he looks perfect, but I know we all have our own lenses we see ourselves through.

2 years ago

I did exactly the same thing about 15 years ago. I had never been happy with my teeth, even though I had braces when I was a teenager. Long story, but one day I decided to do something about it. Like you, I hated having my photo taken and always felt self-conscious. Most people wouldn’t have noticed, the same with your before photo – I didn’t notice. but I did and it affected my self-esteem. I was so happy with the result and like you, smile all the time. Yes, perhaps there is a little vanity in all of us… Read more »

sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
Reply to  Agnes

Oh thank you Agnes, it is nice to feel good when we smile isn’t it? Thanks for linking up at #MLSTL, I read your post before I saw your link. Have a great day and it is a pleasure to have you part of the wonderful women who join our link up. xx