Ready to smile again

Lafayette News January 28-February 3, 2004

Lafayette dentists to help 3 women enjoy new looks with ultimate smile makeovers

When Barbara Feighner reflects upon the past year, she talks about a tough time. With a matter-of-fact tone that she chalks up to her stoic nature, Barbara looks back on the final months of 2003 as ones of change. It was a time when her father – Roy E. Feighner – lost his battle with cancer. And, it was a time when her brother – Roy A. Feighner – was hospitalized and placed in a medically induced coma after falling ill with influenza and an extreme asthma attack. “Through most of November and December, I was either at the hospital or the mortuary,” Barbara said recently. “It was a tough time.” During those difficult months, Barbara and her daughters, 9-year-old Shania and 12-year-old Rebecca, relied upon the paycheck she pulled down as the stock room manager at the Pottery Barn Kids store at the Flatiron Crossing Mall. Barbara also relied upon the support she received from her friends and co-workers at the store. Little did she know that behind the scenes her friends were working to bring a smile back to her face.

Through a detailed letter, Barbara’s co-workers shared her story with Drs. Gordon West and Gregory Keene of Lafayette’s Centaur Dental. Explaining her father’s death, her brother’s illness and Barbara’s need for cosmetic dentistry, her friends helped to paint a picture of a woman ready for a transformation, one that could be achieved through the Ultimate Smile Makeover contest the dentists were hosting. Sharing that Barbara devoted most of her take-home pay to supporting her family, rather than investing in the costly dental work she needed to repair years of tooth decay and gum disease, Barbara’s co-workers urged the local dentists to give her a chance at a new smile. “It’s a rare occasion when Barb does something for herself due to money and supporting her family,” her friends wrote to the doctors. “It would be a wonderfully positive way to begin a new year for a new person.”

So, after months of reviewing entries from more than 80 people from eight different states, Drs. West and Keene and the staff at Centaur Dental chose Barbara as the winner of the Ultimate Smile Makeover. In addition, the doctors announced that two other lucky contestants will receive extensive dental work because their stories so deeply touched the staff at the practice. “After hearing so many stories and reading about so many people with problems, it was too hard to say we can only help one person,” Dr. West said this week. “We decided to make a few more people happy.” Along with Barbara, Lafayette resident Patricia Nava and Greeley resident Belinda Shelden will benefit from the smile makeovers the doctors plan to complete in the next few weeks.

Since being named the grand-prize winner of the makeover contest, Barbara has shared her excitement for her new look with her friends and family. After years of coping with cavities, a serious overbite and periodontitis that could not be tended because she lacked dental insurance, Barbara said she was excited for the changes to her appearance that will surface in the coming weeks. “What I’m looking forward to the most is actually being able to smile again,” she said. “It’s been a long time since I actually was able to look a person in the eye and smile at them.”

As part of the makeover, Barbara also will enjoy some pampering as she receives a ride from her home in a limousine from A1 Limo Service to Lafayette’s 95th Street Salon for a hair and makeup treatment. She also will receive some herbal treatments, courtesy of Lafayette’s Herbal Essentials, and from there, she will visit Gary the Photographer for a celebratory photo shoot. Capping off the makeover transformation, Barbara will enjoy a feast at Lafayette’s Magnolia Restaurant. The local retailers and Professional Dental Arts in Boulder have added to the makeover contest and made it more meaningful for the winners. “It’s been so nice to see Barbara kind of already change before our eyes,” Dr. West said. “When she first came in to see us, she was a little bit introverted. Because of the events of the past year and her teeth, she was pretty reserved. But already, she is coming out of her shell and talking about things more. It’s encouraging already.” By Valentine’s Day, Dr. West expects Barbara to be even more outgoing as the finishing touches are applied to her ultimate makeover. “It will be great to see everything come together for her,” he said. For Barbara, the work already is paying off. “I can’t believe how quickly this all has come together,” she said. “I went to the dentist many years ago for some preliminary work and they said it would take years to fix my teeth. Now, it’s only going to be a matter of weeks.” And, in that time, Barbara will be ready to smile again.