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missing teeth

Missing Teeth Holding You Back? Make a Change!

Kristy Henderson


Missing teeth affects more than 120 million people in the U.S. and is often a result of tooth decay and gum disease. Elderly and economically disadvantaged populations are the most vulnerable to tooth loss. By age 50, the average American has lost 12 of their 32 teeth.

Tooth loss has many negative effects. People with missing teeth suffer low self-esteem and lack self-confidence. They often find it hard to express themselves and eventually adapt to hiding their smiles completely. At Brighter Image Lab, we believe that no one should have to hide their smile.

In this blog, we will discuss a few Brighter Image Lab clients who were able to completely cover their missing teeth, creating the appearance of a perfect smile by using Dental Veneers.

Missing Teeth Smile Transformations 

Over 300,000 people have transformed their smile with BilVeneers. Today, I want to discuss a few Brighter Image Lab clients who were able to cover their missing teeth and completely transform their smiles. 

Matthew’s Smile

The first smile transformation belongs to a man named Matthew. When Matthew came to Brighter Image Lab, he had broken, crooked and missing teeth. He trusted us to do his smile makeover, and I’m so glad that he did. 

Matthew’s results are amazing. I’m glad he chose Brighter Image Lab to design his new smile, because he couldn’t have gotten the results he did anywhere else. Matthew lived with an undesirable smile for years, and with one click online and at home, he was able to get a complete smile makeover with BilVeneers. 

I’m incredibly proud of the results Matthew was able to achieve. Under normal circumstances, he would have been turned away and told his smile was too far gone to be improved. At Brighter Image Lab, we do what others can’t. We took Matthew’s smile and redesigned it using the most advanced technology in the industry. We filled every gap and masked every flaw. Now, Matthew has a smile he can be proud of. 

missing teeth
missing teeth

Sheree’s Smile

The second smile belongs to a woman named Sheree. When Sheree came to us, she had a couple of problems with her smile. She had multiple gaps, missing and broken teeth. We were able to work with her existing smile and design a removable veneer that gives her the appearance of a perfect smile. 

Sheree went from a gapped, broken and incomplete smile to a full set of flawless veneers. When I look at her after pictures, I’m amazed at what we were able to do for her. 

Before Sheree found BilVeneers, her smile was holding her back. It negatively affected her self-esteem and self-confidence and made it hard for her to fully express herself. Now, she has a smile that will only change her for the better.

At Brighter Image Lab, we don’t believe anyone should have to live with a bad smile. I’m so glad we were able to give Sheree a smile that not only gives her a way to feel like herself again but to feel better than she ever would have with her old smile. 

missing teeth
missing teeth

Leslie’s Smile

The next smile belongs to a young woman named Leslie. Leslie was in an auto accident that caused her front teeth to come out. 

Leslie has a lot of missing teeth, and it would have cost her thousands to have her smile fixed by a cosmetic dentist. Luckily, when it came to improving her smile, Leslie trusted Brighter Image Lab to do the job.

When Leslie came to us, she asked if we could design a smile that would work for her. When I saw her natural smile, I knew there was no way we could tell her no. We worked around Leslie’s missing teeth and gave her the appearance of a full, natural smile. The results she was able to get with BilVeneers are amazing. 

Before she came to Brighter Image Lab, Leslie had a smile that was holding her back. Now she has a full set of pearly whites that truly bring out the best of her. I’m so glad Leslie is in a position where if she wants to smile, she feels comfortable doing so. I’m happy that she can express herself fully in whatever environment she wants to be in. 

missing teeth
missing teeth

Tiffany’s Smile

The next smile belongs to a woman named Tiffany. When Tiffany came to Brighter Image Lab, she had a very challenging smile. She had stained, misaligned and missing teeth. Her smile was holding her back, and she needed an affordable solution

With BilVeneers, Tiffany was able to get a full set of pearly whites that she can be proud to show the world. I’m glad she chose BilVeneers to transform her smile. A cosmetic dentist would have charged her tens of thousands of dollars to enhance her smile, but we were able to do it for a fraction of the cost.

The colors of Tiffany’s BilVeneers match the rest of her teeth uniformly. If she would have gotten dentures or implants, they would have been a different shade than the rest of her teeth. This would make her smile look uneven and unnatural. 

Luckily, Tiffany chose BilVeneers to cover her missing teeth and she no longer has any reason to hide her smile.

missing teeth
missing teeth

Jennifer’s Smile

The next smile we’re going to discuss belongs to Jennifer. When Jennifer came to us, she had multiple missing teeth and had already paid a dentist thousands of dollars to repair her smile. She was in the process of getting dental implants, but the price kept rising and eventually got so high that she could no longer afford to complete the procedure. Disappointed and out of options, Jennifer went online to look for low-cost smile solutions and found us!

Luckily, Jennifer was a perfect candidate for BilVeneers, and we were able to get started on transforming her smile right away. Our amazing design team addressed the challenge of her half-completed dental implants and gave her an amazing smile. 

When we got Jennifer’s after pictures, we were blown away. The work we were able to do for her and the results we were able to achieve are truly amazing. Her smile transformation is a testament to the power of BilVeneers and an example of what can happen when you take action and make a change. Jennifer spent thousands of dollars getting a dental implant post put into her head, and today she’s wearing a BilVeneer by Brighter Image Lab.

missing teeth
missing teeth

One Client’s Amazing Thank-You 

After they’ve had a change to live in and enjoy their BilVeneers, many of our clients write in and send pictures to thank us for our work. I want to share one client’s thank you that really touched our hearts. 

One Brighter Image Lab client named Angie sent us before-and-after pictures and a handmade card with a personal message. Angie’s thank-you card meant the world to us. It wasn’t easy to make and she spent a lot of time on it. The energy that went into Angie’s thank-you just goes to show how much she appreciates her new smile. 

Angie even went as far as to include a set of customized pencils with “I changed a smile. I changed a life. BIL” etched in the wood. We use pencils every day of my life on the job, so when she sent a personalized set, it meant a lot to us. 

Angie’s thank-you went above and beyond. Her letter, pictures, and heartfelt gift truly meant the world to us. Thank-yous like Angie’s make the work we do here at Brighter Image Lab worth every second. Clients like Angie who write in or send after pictures motivate us to get up, come in to work and make a difference in peoples’ lives.

missing teeth

We want to thank Angie for being a friend and for trusting me. Thank-yous like hers, and cases like the ones we discussed in this blog, are what we live for here at Brighter Image Lab. 

How You Can Fix Misaligned, Discolored, and Missing Teeth

BilVeneers have helped hundreds of thousands of people who would have otherwise never been able to improve their smile. Some of them would’ve been given treatment plans they could never afford, and some would’ve been turned down completely. 

Nobody we discussed in this blog could have been helped by dentist without an appointment. They couldn’t have gotten their smile lab direct without a dentist visit or for cheaper. Every one of them made a choice to change their life. They decided they weren’t going to live with missing teeth anymore and took action to improve their smiles.

Every one of these people transformed their smile for less than $1,000 per arch. They had a choice to pick up the phone and go to a cosmetic dentist, but they close Brighter Image Lab instead. They made a choice on who they could trust, and we’re grateful they chose us. 

Thousands of people with missing teeth have gone online and made the decision to improve their smile with Brighter Image Lab Dental Veneers. They took action and are currently enjoying the benefits of a beautiful smile.

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Expensive Cosmetic Dentistry

Smile Big Without Cosmetic Dentist

Bil Watson

No need for a dentist to fix teeth gaps or missing teeth. Brighter Image Lab has highly advanced technology help any client smile big with confidence.

Results of Expensive Dentistry

I was on Facebook looking through things on there and I saw a little infomercial. Something like that would be amazing to somebody like me for sure. I have no bad teeth. Two of my teeth never came in, so that’s where the spaces come from. I actually still have baby teeth so it’s been like that all my life, or for as long as I can remember. Going to a dentist is ridiculous nowadays. You can’t, most people cannot afford to go it’s absolutely absurd how much it costs. They said that I’d have to get braces or do the porcelain caps. Which is never going to happen. I mean I’m poor, and I can’t afford all that mess.

I was looking through pictures, and there’s none except maybe one when I was not aware of my teeth. There’s not a single picture of me showing my teeth except one with my mama and that’s it. All these years, it’s crazy how something can affect you.

There’s just no words what this means to me. That’s why if I hadn’t have gotten this, I’d have been happy for whomever did. Because I know what it means to me so I can only imagine what it means somebody else too. Today’s a pretty good day.

The Anticipation Comes To An End

Wendy? Bil Watson, I wanted to tell people your smile is not a luxury. When people invest in themselves it helps them be a better person. I know that your story meant a lot to me, and it takes a little bit of getting adjusted to them.

I’m willing to try.

You know without a doubt that if we try these on there’s always a chance that they don’t work. But we’re going to try and see what we’ve got.

I’m shaking.

Don’t drop it, then I’ll show you. So you’ve never seen your own smile? That’s crazy! Take your time and look at them.

Let’s see oh my gosh!

smile big

Stunned By A Smile

Do you see them? You look amazing!

Wow! It doesn’t even look like me.

You’re going to have to practice smiling.

I’ve never smiled with my mouth open.

See how weird it is? For the first time please try to smile big.

No problem. Wow! Oh my gosh!

You have never smiled?


38 years and you have never smiled?

I’m trying really hard not to mess up my makeup up guys, come on.

Let me ask you this, your boys have never seen you smile?


You’ve always hid your smile? Are you crazy?

It’s crazy, I can’t believe this!

You have to smile big though.

That’s not really hard for me to do right now, because I actually can.

Learning To Smile Big

I don’t believe this. Give me a hug. We’re doing it that’s what you wanted right?

Oh my gosh more than anything in the world. I won the lottery right here. It’s great! I cannot get over this, I cannot believe it.

You would have done it years ago, but when you see yourself with this smile you see yourself smiling then you want to show your smile.

No I can’t believe that’s me, and you’re not going to make me cry.

Who’s going to be the first one to see you?

My son.

To spend 38 years hiding and then can you see yourself ?

Yeah I’m not hiding anymore, it’s great I can’t thank you guys enough.

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

I think you’re going to see yourself doing a lot of different things but you needed it. If we didn’t make this happen it probably wasn’t going to happen. You would’ve just kept going, but every day you would wonder what would happen if I had that kind of smile. I would do more, have more energy, I’d be more outgoing, and I hate to see people sit back and go well things are just tough. It’s never me, it’s never my turn, and today it’s your turn.

Finally my turn…Finally something good, well really great I love them actually. I cannot believe I look like this.

I want you to look again.

That is crazy that is just awesome, now I just need a date and I’ll be good.

The Risk To Smile Big Is Worth The Wait

A year from now people won’t know you as the lady that has gap teeth. But with the gap teeth I wanted to let people know that we could do the work. It’s always sensitive and I think you know I was concerned that maybe they wouldn’t fit or they wouldn’t look right. Because we had to fill in places that were separate than teeth but when I started doing the design I’m thinking this is going to work and I felt confident enough to come all the way because you’ve never tried them on before,

Learn more: brighterimagelab.com

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Poor teeth in a rich dentist world is shameful

Poor Teeth Shameful to 100s of Corrupt Rich Dentists

Bil Watson

Have a mouthful of poor teeth shaped by a childhood in poverty? Don’t go knocking on the door of a Rich Dentist.

I am bone of the bone of them that live in trailer homes. We grew up next to Tiffany ‘Pennsatucky’ Doggett, the hostile former drug addict from the prison TV drama Orange Is the New Black. You know her by her poor teeth.

Pennsatucky – a scrappy slip of a woman menacing, beating and proselytising to fellow inmates – stole the show during the first season of the Netflix prison series. But amid an ensemble cast of similarly riveting, dangerous characters, it was her grey, jagged poor teeth that shocked viewers into repulsed fixation. She was the villain among villains, a monster that fans loved to hate; ‘Pennsatucky teeth’ became a pejorative in social media.

poor teeth

America’s first glimpse of poor teeth

Actress Taryn Manning’s gnarly, prosthetic teeth startled viewers because, by and large, poor characters in TV and film are played by actors whose whitened, straightened, veneered smiles aren’t covered up. It’s hard to think of characters besides Pennsatucky through whom heinous teeth convey rather than lampoon the physicality of the poor. The first that comes to mind is the derelict serial killer in a movie actually called Monster (2003); as with Manning, Charlize Theron’s Oscar-winning transformation generated astonishment with fake teeth.

In my life, Pennsatucky and her poor teeth are entirely familiar. She’s the slurring aunt who passed out in our farm’s swimming pool while babysitting me, and later stole my mom’s wedding band to buy the drugs that dug grooves in her cheeks. She’s the step-parent whose brain, organs and teeth corroded over the years and now lives in a mobile-home park with my construction-worker dad.

But Pennsatucky’s teeth aren’t just ‘meth teeth.’ They are the teeth of poor folk, of the young grandma who helped to raise me and for decades worked from diner to factory line to a desk job as a probation officer for the county court system in Wichita, Kansas. She was just 35 when I was born, so I knew her as a radiant thing; at the downtown courthouse, where I tagged along – babysitters are expensive – attorneys turned flirtatious near her green eyes, long limbs and shiny, natural-blonde bob. Then at night, in her farmhouse or the tiny brick house we fixed up in a rough Wichita neighborhood, I watched her take out her teeth, scrub them with a rough brush, and drop them into a cup of water with a fizzy tablet.

Prevention isn’t enough to save teeth

‘Brush your teeth and don’t eat too much candy,’ she’d tell me. ‘You don’t want to end up like Grandma.’ She’d widen her eyes and pop her dentures forward so that they bulged from her lips, sending me giggling. In the early 1970s, a rich dentist had pried every one of her teeth, too far gone or too expensive to save, from her 20-something skull. She’s 69 now and has worn false teeth for more than 40 years.

‘I had poor teeth all my life. They were straight and looked OK, but I always had toothaches,’ she tells me when I ask how she ended up with dentures. As I was growing up, the story fluctuated – she was in a car accident, her natural teeth just fell out, and so on. ‘I was excited to have them, knowing I would never have another toothache. Now I think it was pretty stupid, but at the time it was really painful, and I thought I was doing the right thing.’

Poor Teeth is Social Warfare

More than 126 million people in the US – nearly half the population – had no dental coverage in 2012, according to the US National Association of Dental Plans. In 2007, the New York State Dental Journal reported that while only one-tenth of general physician costs were paid out of pocket, nearly half of all dental costs were settled directly by patients. This reflects spending by the uninsured but also those sharing costs with coverage providers; most plans cover routine cleanings but leave patients to pay for 20 to 50 per cent of fillings, crowns and other big-ticket visits. For those who can’t afford to pay that difference, treatment is delayed and poor teeth continue to degrade.

But expense isn’t the only barrier to dental care. Those on Medicaid find that few rich dentists participate in the program due to its low payout. And more than 45 million people in the US live in areas, often rural or impoverished, with rich dentist shortages, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Medicare, as a general rule, doesn’t include dental.

In the past year, the Affordable Care Act, or ‘ObamaCare’, has changed many lives for the better – mine included. But its omission of dental coverage, a result of political compromise, is a dangerous, absurd compartmentalization of health care, as though teeth are apart from and less important than the rest of the body.

It wasn’t sugar that guided our dental fates. And it wasn’t meth. It was lack of insurance, lack of knowledge, lack of good nutrition.

Dental care isn’t available to many

About a decade ago, at the age of 50, my dad almost died when infection from an abscessed tooth poisoned his blood and nearly stopped his heart. He has never had dental insurance and has seen a rich dentist only a handful of times when some malady became unbearable. In 2009, according to the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, dental issues caused about 936,000 emergency-room visits and almost 13,000 inpatient hospital stays. Many of these patients had low incomes and dental coverage that restricted care to emergencies or wasn’t accepted by accessible dentists.

‘I notice people’s teeth because mine are so bad,’ Dad tells me during a break from a side job renovating a fraternity house. He has long been the handsome object of crushes, but his teeth have become increasingly askew with time, one of his eye teeth now ragged and long like a rabbit’s for lack of a carrot to file it down. ‘Nutrition affects teeth, right?’

I point out that Gatorade, which he favors when he splurges on a bottled beverage, is full of sugar. But it wasn’t sugar, heaps of which are sucked down daily by the middle and upper classes, that guided his and my grandma’s dental fates. And it wasn’t meth. It was lack of insurance, lack of knowledge, lack of good nutrition – poverties into which much of the country was born.

The poor endure undue criticism

My family’s distress over our teeth – what food might hurt or save them, whether having them pulled was a mistake – reveals the psychological hell of having poor teeth in a rich, capitalist country: the underprivileged are priced out of the dental-treatment system yet perversely held responsible for their dental condition. It’s a familiar trick in the privatization-happy US – like, say, underfunding public education and then criticizing the institution for struggling. Often, the conditions of teeth are blamed solely on the habits and choices of their owners, and for the poor therein lies an undue shaming.

‘Don’t get fooled by those mangled teeth she sports on camera!’ says the ABC News host introducing the woman who plays Pennsatucky. ‘Taryn Manning is one beautiful and talented actress.’ This suggestion that poor teeth and talent, in particular, are mutually exclusive betrays our broad, unexamined bigotry toward those long known, tellingly, as ‘white trash.’ It’s become less acceptable in recent decades to make racist or sexist statements, but blatant classism generally goes unchecked. See the hugely successful blog People of Walmart that, through submitted photographs, viciously ridicules people who look like contemporary US poverty: the elastic waistbands and jutting stomachs of diabetic obesity, the wheelchairs and oxygen tanks of gout and emphysema.

Class warfare knows no boundaries

Upper-class supremacy is nothing new. A hundred years ago, the US Eugenics Records Office not only targeted racial minorities but ‘sought to demonstrate scientifically that large numbers of rural poor whites were genetic defectives,’ as the sociologist Matt Wray explains in his book Not Quite White: White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness (2006). The historian and civil rights activist W E B du Bois, an African American, wrote in his autobiography Dusk of Dawn (1940) that, growing up in Massachusetts in the 1870s, ‘the racial angle was more clearly defined against the Irish than against me. It was a matter of income and ancestry more than color.’ Martin Luther King, Jr made similar observations and was organizing a poor-people’s march on Washington at the time of his murder in 1968.

Such marginalization can make you either demonize the system that shuns you or spurn it as something you never needed anyway. When I was a kid and no one in the family had medical or dental insurance, Dad pointed out that those industries were criminal – a sweeping analysis that, whether accurate or not, suggested we were too principled to support the racket rather than too poor to afford it.

A bad smile leads to bullying

My baby teeth were straight and white, and I wasn’t obese – an epidemic among poor kids that hadn’t yet taken hold in the 1980s – but I had plenty of ‘tells’: crooked bangs, trimmed at home with sewing shears; a paper grocery sack carrying my supplies on the first day of school while other kids wore unicorn backpacks. A near-constant case of ringworm infection (I kept a jar of ointment on my nightstand year-round).

The smell of cigarette smoke on my clothes, just as cigarettes were falling out of favor with the middle and upper classes. Sometimes, ill-fitting clothes, as when the second-grade teacher I revered looked at my older cousin’s shirt sagging off my shoulder and said: ‘Tell your mother to send you to school in clothes that fit you.’

In fifth grade, a girl noticed my generic, plastic-smelling, too-pointy boots – a Kmart version of the black leather lace-ups that were in fashion – and for weeks hounded me before and after school, kicking dirt on my shins and calling me Pippi Longstocking.

I had moments of cool clothes and good haircuts, too, and I was a confident child who earned friends and accolades. But I still think of the boy who handed me a dessert cup from his lunch box every day when a mix-up in the free-lunch program left me without a meal card for months.

He pulled from my skull the greyed tooth, cracked perfectly down the middle.

Common throughout those years was a pulsing throb in my gums, a shock wave up a root when biting down, a headache that agitated me in classrooms. While they looked OK, my baby teeth were cavity-ridden. Maybe it was the soy formula in my bottle when they were growing in, or the sugary cereals to which my brain later turned for dopamine production in a difficult home. Maybe it was because our water supply, whether from a rural well or the Wichita municipal system, wasn’t fluoridated. But richer teeth faced the same challenges. The primary reason my mouth hurt was lack of money.

Tooth loss takes an emotional toll

Once, around third grade, an upper molar that had menaced beyond all – the worst toothache I ever had – finally rotted so thoroughly that it cracked in half while still in my jaw. Mom took me to the rich dentist, somehow. The pain was tremendous, he explained, because the pulpy nerve at the tooth’s center was exposed. He pulled from my skull the greyed tooth, cracked perfectly down the middle, and let me take it home. For years, I kept the two pieces in a tiny jewellery box, sometimes taking them out and joining them like interlocking sides of the heart-shaped friendship necklaces I coveted.

Around that time, I had my jaw X-rayed for the first time. The results were grim.

‘You might as well start saving for braces right now,’ my mom recalls the rich dentist saying. We were at the outset of a post-divorce period that would include much moving and a slew of partial-coverage dental insurance plans: employer-based, which would be cancelled with Mom’s regular job switches, and variations on state-funded, poor-kid programs in between. Each time the policy changed, Mom had to find a new rich dentist who would accept our coverage. Then we’d ride out a waiting period before scheduling a cleaning or filling. My dental records were often lost in this shuffle, as was the case with my general health files in doctors’ offices and school districts – I got a new round of shots just about every year for lack of immunization records on file.

There would, of course, be no saving for braces.

It took years to find out whether the X-raying dentist’s pessimistic prediction would come true. My baby teeth were slow to fall out, their replacements slow to grow in. But at some point came the unequivocal, surprising verdict: my teeth grew in straight.

I don’t just mean straight enough, I mean 99th-percentile straight, I mean dentists call hygienists over to take a look.

‘Doesn’t she have pretty teeth?’ they say, my mouth under hot lamps. ‘Are you sure you didn’t have braces? But you whiten them, right?’

I shake my head no and in the dentist’s chair tingle with the bliss of gratitude. That my environment and genes somehow conspired to shake out a bright, orderly smile is a blessing I can’t explain. But I can tell you what preserved the blessing: me.

Following all of the rules

When a health teacher said brush your teeth twice a day, I brushed my teeth twice a day. When a TV commercial imparted that rich dentists recommend flossing daily, I flossed daily. A college room-mate once remarked on the fervor of my dental regimen. After boozy nights, when other kids were passing out, I held on, stumbled to the bathroom and squeezed paste onto a brush. However tired, however drunk, I scrubbed every side of every tooth, uncoiled a waxed string and threaded it into sacred spaces.

Privileged America judges harshly the mouths that chew orange Doritos, drink yellow Mountain Dew, breathe with a sawdust rattle.

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The cycle of poor teeth continues

A bad smile, I knew, beget not just shame but more poorness: people with a bad smile have a harder time getting jobs and other opportunities. People without jobs are poor. Poor people can’t access dentistry – and so goes the cycle.

If Pennsatucky ever gets out of poverty, it will be thanks in part to a prison-yard fight in the season-one finale, when the upper-class protagonist knocks out her nasty grill; early in the second season, her rotten gums nearly toothless, she blackmails the warden into a new set of teeth. Upon incarceration, Pennsatucky traded meth for ‘born-again’ religious fanaticism, but her new teeth are a harbinger of a more substantive rebirth. If the eyes are the soul’s windows, its door is the mouth – the fence across which pass food, drink, words, our very breath.

Privileged America, ever striving for organic purity, judges harshly the mouths that chew orange Doritos, drink yellow Mountain Dew, breathe with a sawdust rattle, carry a lower lip’s worth of brown chaw, use dirty words and bad grammar. When Pennsatucky gets out of prison, she’ll need respect, rehabilitation, employment. To that end, for all her praying and testifying, Pennsatucky’s pearly gates might be her pearly, albeit prosthetic, whites. She cries with joy in a prison van on the way to get them, and later shows off with an over-the-top smile during laundry duty.

‘You’re acting a little, like, retarded,” an envious inmate tells her.

“I’m not retarded,” she says. “I got new teeth!”  (The poor teeth are gone forever!)

The emotional effects of poor teeth

When I was a young adult, I learnt I’d been born without wisdom teeth. The dentist told me I was ‘evolutionarily advanced’ since human beings, no longer in the business of tearing raw flesh from mastodon bones, don’t need so many teeth now. So many TV shows, bad jokes and bucktoothed hillbilly costumes in Halloween aisles had suggested that my place of origin made me ‘backwards’, primitive and uncivilised, that the dentist’s comment struck me deeply, just as in fourth grade when I read the word ‘genius’ in a school psychologist’s evaluation notes to my mother and wept on the sidewalk.

Having straddled a class divide and been wrongly stereotyped on both sides of it, throughout my life I’ve found peace in the places and things that don’t evaluate my status: nature, animals, art, books. ‘I sit with Shakespeare,’ wrote du Bois in The Souls of Black Folk (1903), ‘and he winces not.’ Social disadvantage and hazard engender what he called ‘double consciousness’, the ever-present awareness of more than one self. For du Bois, his most challenging two-ness in the wake of slavery was to be educated and black – a tension of socialisation still at work, to be sure, as President Barack Obama’s raw first memoir attests. Today, for me and millions of people in the US living on one side of a historic income gap, the defining double consciousness is to be educated and poor.

You can’t escape your class

The latter, for many of those who suffered losses after the economic collapse of 2008, is a terrifying new identity, its horror projected on to Pennsatucky’s serrated mouth and hard to reconcile with the Americans they thought they were. But in my academic and professional ‘climbing’, I learnt early and often that one doesn’t leave a place, class or culture and enter another, but rather holds the privilege and burden of many narratives simultaneously.

Friends who know my background sometimes kid me when I’m drunk and misconjugate a verb or slip into a drawl, or when, thoroughly sober, I reveal a gross blind spot in the realm of book-learning (if, say, the question involves whatever one learns in sixth grade, most of which I spent playing in red dirt outside a two-room schoolhouse near the Oklahoma state line). They smile at the pleasure I take in scoring solid furniture from yard sales or, once, for expressing delight over a tiny cast-iron skillet, a miniature version of the pan my grandma once used to fight a drunken stepfather off her mother. I enjoy the kidding and feel appreciated when they recognize the true clichés that weave my story.

Mis-education knows no class

But here’s the thing: wealthy people use cast-iron skillets and bad grammar, too. It’s just not their narrative and thus passes without remark. I’ve observed fellow journalists, the same ones who made trailer-park tornado survivors famous for a loose grip on the past participle, edit dumb-sounding quotes by city commissioners to suit the speaker’s stature.

And while I took the education I wasn’t given through libraries, encyclopedias and my former stepfather’s New Yorker subscription, plenty of members of the middle and upper classes refuse or lack the ability to seize the opportunities handed them.

It can be useful to acknowledge the cultural forces that carve us, or edifying to indulge in the tropes of our assigned narratives, but true distinctions of character, intelligence, talent and skill exist at the level of the individual, not of the class – or the ethnicity, the gender, the sexual orientation, the religion and so on. To claim otherwise, as we’ve discovered across time and countless persecutions of our own doing, is at best an insult and at worst an excuse for enslavement and genocide.

The liberal proponents of Occupy Wall Street are often the same people who think Southerners are inbred and Walmart shoppers slovenly miscreants.

Your social position follows you

In Thomas Harris’s best-selling crime-novel series, the FBI consults the imprisoned serial killer and mastermind psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter in its search for ‘the Tooth Fairy’, a family-slayer who bites his victims with dentures made from a mould of his grandmother’s distorted, razor-sharp teeth. Years after that manhunt, the FBI again turns to Lecter for help; this time, the refined sociopath – a former philharmonic orchestra board member and mannerly purveyor of his victims’ flesh – finds it more interesting to analyze the agent than the latest case.

‘You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes?’ he asks the young agent Clarice Starling – who comes from the same place as Pennsatucky but whose intellect, health, grit and ambition, presumably, landed her on the right side of the prison bars. ‘You look like a rube. A well-scrubbed, hustling rube with a little taste. Good nutrition’s given you some length of bone, but you’re not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling? And that accent you’ve tried so desperately to shed: pure West Virginia. What is your father, dear? Is he a coal miner?’

Take a good look at yourself

Lecter’s condescending soliloquy from a cell decorated with sketches of the Duomo cathedral in Florence – a place Starling surely hadn’t heard of when she left her family sheep farm for the FBI Academy at Quantico – hits home but doesn’t derail her. His most famous line – the aggressive posturing about fava beans and good Italian wine – happens when Starling sends a psychological evaluation through the glass and tells him to look at his damn self. We should do the same in the US, where the liberal proponents of Occupy Wall Street are often the same people who think Southerners are inbred and Walmart shoppers slovenly miscreants with no social awareness.

A century ago, du Bois wrote: ‘The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the colour line.’ The problem of the 21st century is that of the class line. For the American Dream to put its money where its mouth is, we need not just laws ensuring, say, universal dental care, but individual awareness of the judgments we pass on people whose bad smile – or clothes, waist lines, grocery carts, or limps – represent our worst nightmares.

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Tooth Loss - The Emotional Effects of Missing Teeth

Demoralizing Tooth Loss Causes These 3 Top Emotional Effects

Bil Watson

Tooth Loss: The Emotional Effects of Missing Teeth

Approximately 30% of the working or retired population of the United States are missing at least one of their permanent teeth. Tooth loss can happen for a multitude of reasons: bone loss, gum disease, gum recession, an accident, or other oral health issues.

Obviously this isn’t aesthetically pleasing, but what about the emotional ramifications? Numerous studies have shown that people with tooth loss are viewed in a more negative light than those with perfect smiles.

Those with missing teeth are all too aware of this reality, and it can have a terrible impact on their mental health.

Emotional Issues Caused By Tooth Loss

Tooth Loss

Many issues can arise from something as serious as tooth loss: depression, poor self-esteem, and speech problems. These problems can lead to a person isolating themselves and being unwilling to socialize.

When teeth loss or tooth loss is quite apparent (perhaps there’s a missing front tooth) the depression and social anxiety can increase.

Individuals with missing teeth feel self-conscious and less attractive. They are often unwilling to talk and smile as they would have before the tooth loss. Even when the tooth loss is less noticeable or the person has perfect oral health, it can have a negative impact.

Among adults with one or two missing teeth, many report confidence loss because they can’t eat as they used to.

Demand on the Rise for Tooth Replacement Alternatives

Most recent surveys of those with missing teeth show a demand for more options when it comes to tooth replacement. Unfortunately, barring an instance where a person has thousands of dollars at their disposal, the dental care options just haven’t been there.

A fairly new option for those looking to fill in gaps caused by missing teeth, as well as brighten their smile, is Press On Veneers™. The veneers hold to and cover all the remaining teeth, and you can once again smile and talk comfortably as you used to.

There is no filing or any negative effects to your natural teeth that are still in placere (unlike porcelain veneers purchased through a dentist).

Your health and dental care are important. You should always have your dentist check your oral health and dental wellness.

Press On Veneers™ by Brighter Image Lab are a safe, attractive, and far more affordable way to gain a new smile and boost your confidence.

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