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The summer before your senior year in high school, you’re sent out to a portrait studio with a bunch of your classmates, asked to don a fancy drape, and smile. Senior portraits are supposed to be exciting, but for me they were a nightmare. I’d always hated my smile, and I knew this photographer would be no different than all the others, chanting what I’d heard every picture day for 12 years: “Come on, give me a real smile. Show your teeth!”

Between the gap in my front teeth and my crowded, crooked bottom teeth, I’d been avoiding “real smiles” since I could remember. In pictures I was always lips-shut, which usually made me look even more awkward and uncomfortable than I already felt. Either that or I was just a pair of eyes peeking over my hand, that kind of covering becoming a reflex every time I laughed. My parents couldn’t afford braces when I was younger, and though I tried to convince myself it was only cosmetic, my hesitance to show my smile became a hesitance to smile at all. Eventually, my mood began to match. I never looked happy, so after a while, I didn’t feel happy either.

In my senior portrait, I don’t look like a radiant young woman excited about her future. I had plenty of dreams and aspirations, but they didn’t show through. Not like they do now.

Today, I am a confident college graduate with a smile as big as my accomplishments, thanks to Birmingham Orthodontics. When I saw those senior pictures, I saw that self-consciousness had completely taken over the passionate person I really was deep down. I was unsure about getting braces as an adult, but though I’d told myself I couldn’t afford them anyway, I got the courage to try. Birmingham Orthodontics helped me choose the right kind of braces and worked with me and my parents on financing—we had no idea how affordable they could be.

I learned through the process that Dr. McCarthy had founded Birmingham Orthodontics precisely because of cases like mine, to reach out to parents and kids who wanted to take the best possible care of their teeth but couldn’t afford to do it. When he had been a military orthodontist he knew that he and so many of those around him couldn’t pay for braces, so he wanted to change things. Now almost 25 years later—offering no down payment, equal monthly payments, and an interest-free in-house financing plan—he was (and is still!) doing just that. Birmingham Orthodontics enabled me and my family to move forward comfortably; I finally felt like someone was looking out for us.

As a videographer, I still spend most of my time behind the camera, but I’m certainly not shy anymore. With the confidence braces have given me, I chase down my dreams every day, facing each challenge with a big, beautiful—and absolutely real—smile.

At Birmingham Orthodontics, our mission is simple:  we create smiles.  Not only do we straighten the crooked grin, fix the bite, and adjust the jaw, we also brighten yearbooks, help young people come to like their looks, and give adults the confidence they have wanted for a long, long time.  We also believe in our staff. Our culture of continuous learning has allowed us to host monthly training sessions for each team and bring in leading industry consultants to help keep us ahead of the curve.  Contact us for a free consultation, or any questions you might have.

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