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Last January, just before I was heading to San Antonio for Creative Memories’ Leadership Conference, I broke the three-toothed bridge on the upper left side of my mouth. It was really hard to meet a huge bunch of new people — mostly leaders in our company — with this cavernous gaping hole in my mouth. And it was even harder to pose for all the pictures people were taking of their teams and their friends, knowing that if I smiled my “normal” smile, said cavern would open up again.

Between insurance, schedules, and costs insurance didn’t cover, the repairs have taken a long time. For awhile I despaired of ever having my old smile back. Replacing what I had with the same thing was cost prohibitive with my change in insurance coverage. But my dentist is a miracle worker (cute, too), and he created a reasonable alternative and worked very creatively with my insurance company.

Today I went in for the final fitting of my new “appliance”, and my old smile is back! I can now emphasize more completely with horses with bits in their mouths, as I have a roof full of metal and clips that feels very weird when I eat, but I can smile broadly with the best of them.

One of the best parts is the timing: Tomorrow I will be venturing up to Sacramento for my very first Close To My Heart corporate event and, as Mom told me many times, “You can never have a second chance to make a first good impression!” I am grateful to Dr. Barnes and his team, and especially to the wonderful St. Paul’s Church Tooth Fairies who helped make this possible. You do good work!