By Lynita Johnson
Your wedding day; it's the happiest day of your life. It's a day little girls dream about--hoping for the "white knight in shining armor," the "fairy-tale" ending and the "happily ever-after." But that wasn't the case for one Valley woman who goes by the name of Sweetheart. After her blissful day, soon her marriage would turn into a nightmare.
Sweetheart endured 12 years of abuse by the hands of her husband. Her bubbly personality, confidence and smile were all but gone. As she reached her limits, this mother of twin boys finally found the strength and courage to leave.
This is not an uncommon situation in Arizona. According to the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, each year 100 Arizonans die from domestic violence related homicides while thousands of women and children seek refuge.
Focused on becoming a better mother, and breaking the generational cycle of abuse for her boys, Sweetheart entered the New Life Center which offers shelter, safety and services to families looking to end the cycle of domestic violence. The centers comprehensive 120-day program empowers families to achieve short and long-term goals.
"Give Back A Smile"
As part of the New Life Center's program, Sweetheart became aware of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry's "Give Back A Smile" program. Through restorative and cosmetic dentistry, the program assists in rebuilding the lives and dignity of survivors of domestic violence.
Sweetheart had endured traumatic oral injuries during her marriage, suffering extensive damage to many of her teeth. She was so embarrassed she would cover her mouth when she smiled.
Yearning to regain a part of herself she had lost, Sweetheart placed her name on the waiting list to participate in the "Give Back A Smile" program. After nearly two-and-a-half years on the list, Sweetheart was finally paired with Scottsdale dentists Dr. Rod Gore and Dr. Erik P. Svans.
A Positive Impact
Gore and Svans Dentistry worked with Sweetheart regularly over a two-year period to repair the damage and give Sweetheart her smile back. "Providing a life-changing experience by improving self-confidence through a new, beautiful smile is incomparable," says Dr. Gore.
And, thanks to their efforts, Sweetheart uses her new, big and wonderful smile at her new job where she greets and welcomes shoppers into a local retail shop. Sweetheart has also found a safe, long-term and stable home for herself and her boys. "I feel blessed and just happy," says Sweetheart. "I forever owe Gore and Svans Dentistry for the new me."
Lynita Johnson is a freelance writer and public relations manager at Spark Design.