An Open Letter to My Daughter’s Dentist

Dear Dentist,

What on earth are you thinking?! Besides of course your bottom line, when you tell my happy, healthy 15 year old you can “fix” her teeth with some nice veneers?!

When you tell her she will look much better?!

This child, whom I have nurtured for 15 years, this child I tell everyday she is beautiful, unique, intelligent, kind, talented. Who I try and convince that traits like perfect teeth don’t matter, this girl in one instant you have undone my efforts.

I have explained to this child looking like a supermodel does not make you a good woman.

I have taught this child to value kindness, hard work, courage, flexibility, health and  friendship over trendy clothes and skinny bodies. And in that one moment your marketing ploy has worked. My usually confident, happy child believed you.

She needs fixing. She has “always hated those teeth”, she is “mature enough” to make this choice and she is hating on me for blocking it.

My daughter does not need “fixing”. She is perfect. She has no cavities. Her teeth are fine. Healthy. You compliment her on her diet, say she must eat healthily.

We pop in for a check up and you try and sell her veneers?! She is 15. We all have things we don’t like about our body. And part of growing up is learning to love yourself. Learning to accept that you don’t have to conform to this perfect photo-shopped image of a girl in a magazine.

No we will not “fix” her.  I notice you didn’t offer the same to my 17 year old son.  Why IS that?

Let’s get this straight. My daughter doesn’t have a huge defect. She has 2 teeth you say are a “bit too pointy” and a “bit funny”. And you suggest veneers will help her look better?

Let’s examine veneer as a definition: “to face or cover with material that is more desirable”. What could be more desirable that her own healthy teeth? She has an amazing smile.

How on earth do we build kids with great body images, good self esteem and who are comfortable and confident in their own skin when dentists are offering to “fix” girls teeth.

What message does this send?

Fixing my daughter’s teeth will not make her healthier or happy. Happiness comes from purpose, from being a good person, from having great friends, from helping others. From self. It comes when you accept yourself, pointy teeth and all.

My girl is the most beautiful, kind friend, she is witty, funny, she gets great grades. She is confident. She plays soccer, footy, goes to speech and drama, she wrestles in the mud. She loves her horses and her dogs. She kisses me hello and goodbye. A new girl at her school posted on Facebook that she has made her first few weeks so much better. She is polite. She is funny. She works hard. And I think, mostly she likes herself.

No 15 year old loves her body. But, we were doing okay. Until you suggest there is a problem that needs fixing.

Please consider your impact.

Media does enough damage to body image, well-being and mental health.

No one is perfect. But please, you don’t need to find our “flaws” and point them out.

Apologies for the long ranty blog.

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