I will admit to being one of those people that smiles and laughs a lot. Over the years though, my smile and laughter faded and were concealed by a covered hand due to crowns and a bridge making me not so confident to do either. I was referred to Dr. Merriman’s office by a friend. She knew of the struggles I was continually having with a previous dentist of 15 years, regarding crowns and a bridge falling out numerous times, cracking or just breaking in two. I had become self conscience about my smile due to the fit, the unnatural look, and the gap from the crowns/bridge to the gum tissue. I was constantly having headaches and worrying one of them would fall apart or out. My bite had been adjusted throughout the years in such a way that I could not bite down on my teeth fully due to the crowns/bridge not being placed properly, but over the years I just got used to dealing with it, never fully understanding they were falling out or cracking due to an improper fit in my mouth. This past dentist was not a cosmetic dentist. Now I, with my mouth, gums and smile know the difference. Meeting with Dr. Merriman for an assessment was educational and humbling. His gift of first listening, then making a plan to suit my needs and concerns were much appreciated and priceless. He, as well as his staff, patiently answered my questions as we began to talk about the phases of the restoration process. This was a big decision for two reasons. Initially, I thought both dealt with cost, but I have come to understand the decision is also to restore peace of mind and confidence. My evaluation was first, the other dentist of 15 years was not a cosmetic dentist and I had spent a lot of time, and money, on what? Work that adjusted my mouth in a way that I could not bite fully on either side, and allowed my smile to be unsightly, embarrassing, as well as the bridge and crowns falling out at inopportune moments to the point I had to carry dental cement as a staple in my purse. My bad. Second, was I now going to spend more money to have Dr. Merriman fix the issues with my teeth, or was I going to stay as I was, having headaches, being anxious as to when the next issue would come up (or fall out), and continuing to fix issues as they came up. One way or the other, it was more money. Either a little money at a time not knowing when the next thing would happen, or was I ready to just get it done right this time? I opted to get this done properly this time. Finally. Throughout each phase, I was given the answers I needed to make informed decisions. For me, this was not a fast process and took many trips to the office, but Dr. Merriman made it as enjoyable as one could with this process. He was always thoughtful, concerned, informative, and oh so thorough throughout each phase as decisions needed to be made. My smile which was once faded, has been restored. I believe in the beginning of this process, my thought was ‘just make my teeth work’. But, as I look back to the ‘before’ Dr. M, it is much more. I smile without the embarrassment of showing my teeth or placing my hand over my mouth. The anxiousness of wondering what is going to break next, is gone. I’m not sure if this makes sense, but my teeth are now balanced in my mouth. I no longer have those headaches and that cement I used to carry is a thing of the past. But, as I said previously, the restoration process not only restored my smile and laughter, but has restored my confidence in my smile, and a peace of mind I had not realized was missing until I walked through this process.