Peter's lower front teeth were crooked. When he lost a tooth the remaining ones shifted, forcing one of his teeth forward.
"I haven't had regular dental care in years-and it showed," says 60-year-old Peter Gray of Morris Plains, a software salesman whose real love is woodworking. He is currently undergoing treatment at the NJDS orthodontic clinic to straighten his lower teeth.
Peter's teeth had been crooked since childhood. "My parents couldn't afford to get them straightened, so I learned to live with it," he says. "As an adult, I lost a few teeth, and my other teeth became more crooked. Even worse, one of my lower front teeth was being pushed out by the others."
Several years ago, while living in California, Peter needed dental treatment but didn't have much money. "I knew someone who'd had two root canals done at the USC dental school at a reasonable cost. So I went there for my root canal," he says. "I was impressed with the care I received."
Years later, after he moved to New Jersey, he was referred to the NJDS orthodontic clinic by his general dentist. In January, 1997, he had braces put on his lower teeth. They were removed a year later. "I'm wearing a retainer now, and probably will be for life," he says. Initially, the retainer was very uncomfortable. "They never told me I'd have to wear one of these things-if they did, I probably wouldn't have come back!" he jokes. But after a few adjustments, it now fits more comfortably. He'll also need a bridge to fill a large space between his lower back teeth, but says it's a small price to pay for a better-looking smile.
Peter, a divorced father and grandfather (who describes himself as "single,
but looking") is happy with the results of his treatment. He says,
"The orthodontic residents did a wonderful job. They are careful and
conscientious, and take the time to explain everything clearly. I'm still
not the handsomest guy around, but my mouth looks much better."