Something new to smile about

TV show inspires local dentists to perform free makeover
By Aimee Heckel, Camera Staff Writer

LAFAYETTE — Barbara Feighner can’t stop smiling since she was chosen for a local version of an extreme makeover. “I want to go around showing everybody my new smile,” she said Wednesday. About a month ago, local dentists inspired by the popular television show decided to offer a free makeover to a resident in need of a smile straightening.

“We had patients talking about the ‘kind of dentistry they do` on the show,” said Gordon H. West of Centaur Dental. “We wanted to let people in Boulder County know the kind of dentistry you see on TV, we can do right here.”

West and coworker Gregory Keene enlisted the 95th Street Salon, Gary the Photographer and other local businesses to top off the new look. They`re already planning the next makeover, which will include plastic and Lasik eye surgery, West said.

Centaur Dental received more than 80 nominations, but one stood out. A manager at the Pottery Barn Kids in Broomfield wrote about her hard-working stock room manager, who would “like to advance in her career, but her damaged smile is holding her back.”

“I fear that she is hiding part of who she really is on the inside because she is embarrassed about her smile,” wrote Kari Penland. Penland wrote that the employee, Feighner, had no money to fix her teeth because the single mother was taking care of her two daughters, terminally ill father and a brother, who was in the hospital with severe asthma and the flu.

“What a great opportunity to uplift someone`s life that is constantly uplifting others,” Penland wrote. The dentists began work on Feighner three weeks ago. They found she was suffering from gum disease, with some nerves exposed. Most of her teeth were decayed. And her bite had collapsed, causing a severe overbite.

She needed more than $25,000 in dental work, West said. So far, West, Keene and dentist Mark Wood have given Feighner root canals, treated 14 cavities and installed acrylic temporary models of her final smile. She will get permanent crowns, donated by Professional Dental Arts in Boulder, in several weeks. Even with just temporaries, Feighner said her life has already changed. “I can`t stop smiling, and it makes me feel really good about myself,” she said. “Now I can talk to people and look them in the eye.”

Other businesses that donated services include Magnolia Steak and Seafood, Herbal Essentials and A-1 Limo Service.