A close-up of Patricia's teeth reveals the large space between the bottom teeth in the front of her mouth. The space between the bottom teeth is now completely closed.
"Before I had braces, I hated my smile," says 55-year-old Patricia Yaruzzi of Scotch Plains. "Now I love it. I'm not afraid to smile any more."
Patricia's problems began some 30 years ago, when her jaw was fractured in an accident. During the healing process her teeth shifted, creating a large gap between her front bottom teeth. "I went to many dentists over the course of many years, but they all said braces wouldn't do anything. They wanted to put a false tooth there instead."
In November, 1996, the mother of four (and grandmother of 10) came to the NJDS orthodontic clinic at the suggestion of a friend. "The resident, Dr. Larry Wang, said he thought braces would help me," she recalls.
Patricia's condition is not uncommon. Teeth frequently move following an injury to the jaw. "I felt we could greatly improve her appearance by shifting the bottom teeth around to close the gap," said Dr. Wang. "There would still be a space, but it would be moved to the back. Once the braces were off, a bridge could be made to fill the space."
Over the course of a year, Patricia continued her treatment, coming to the clinic for monthly visits. "Some people made fun of me," she says. "They'd say, 'You're getting braces - at your age?' But I didn't listen."
Even before her braces came off, Patricia noticed an immediate improvement in her smile. It prompted her to improve herself in other ways. Through diet and exercise, she lost 90 pounds, and is now a trim size 4. "When my teeth were ugly, I felt ugly," she says. "Now my teeth look great, and I don't feel ugly any more." Her bottom teeth are now straight, but the top teeth are a bit uneven. This will soon be corrected to improve her smile even more.
She will need to wear her retainer at night to keep her teeth in place.
But she feels her new smile was well worth it. "I am so pleased with
the results. Dr. Larry did a fabulous job!"