An Open Letter to Our Dentist

Dear Dentist,

What on earth were you thinking (besides your bottom line) when you tell my happy, healthy, cavity free 15 year old you can “fix” her teeth with veneers?!

You tell her she will look “better”.

This child, whom I have nurtured for 15 years; told endlessly she is beautiful, unique, intelligent, talented. I have raised her to believe a woman is much more than her exterior. This child I have raised to believe, I thought, that perfect teeth are not what makes a good woman.

I have taught this country kids to value kindness, hard work, courage, flexibility, willingness to learn and friendship over appearances.

And in one brief moment; your marketing ploy worked. My confident, pretty, happy kid believed you. She needs her teeth “fixing”.  Suddenly she has “always hated those teeth”, she is “mature enough to make this decision” and she “can’t see the big deal it’s just two teeth.”

That is in fact the big deal. She doesn’t need fixing. She is perfect the way she is. She doesn’t have a cavity. Her teeth are healthy.

She is 15. We all have things we don’t like about our bodies. And part of learning to love ourselves is learning to accept those things. To love ourselves inspite of our imperfect body image.

Not to “fix” 2 teeth because they are a “bit too pointy” and “a bit funny”.

This is a child. There has never been any mention of cosmetic correction of these teeth. In fact I’ve never heard her mention her teeth as one of the things she doesn’t like about her body.

Veneer means “to face or cover an object with any material that is more desirable.”  What on earth could be more desirable than her own, cavity free, healthy teeth?!

This kid isn’t in the unfortunate position of having a n awful horse’s mouth, or something that attracts attention or causes her to be bullied.  Her teeth are straighter than mine.

She wears glasses. Has big boobs too. So let’s be a bit careful here.

How on earth do we build resilient, body confident kids when you offer to “fix” their appearance at a check up?

What message does this send?

I notice you didn’t over my almost 18 year old son the same deal.

“Fixing” two teeth with veneers will not make my daughter happy.

Happiness doesn’t come from perfect teeth.

My girl is the most beautiful, loving, caring, witty and intelligent child. She plays footy, soccer, goes to speecha and drama lessons, she wrestles in the mud with her brothers and swims in the dam and the river with her friends.

A new girl at her school posted a thank you on her Facebook this week for being a great friend and making her first few weeks at school easy.  That is what makes ag great woman. Not perfect teeth.

No one will remember her for her perfect teeth. They will remember her for her kindness. Her love of life, her wit and her integrity.

Consider the impact you have on girls by implying the need “fixing”.

One very cross Mum.


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