The Girl with the Award-Winning Smile

Wednesday, September 9th 2009, 12:21 pm
By: News On 6

Chris Howell

TULSA---Erika Hughart's teeth were a constant source of embarrassment for her, crowded and overlapping she hid them by never smiling and becoming very shy.

‘It was bad, I was shy and didn't have a lot of friends because I thought they would make fun of me,' she said.

Even her dentist was slightly daunted by crooked teeth.

‘ When Erika came in it was just like "Oh my!", it's going to be a challenge. It was really an extreme case,' said Mike Hinkle, D.D.S, ‘the alternatives, the oral surgery, having her jaw broken top and bottom, wired shut for six weeks, that was more trauma she didn't need.'

Dr. Hinkle decided to treat Erika with modern Invisalign technology although it was such an extreme case. He fitted her with a series of the clear corrective inserts and hoped for the best. Over the next year Erika's teeth began to be slowly shifted into place, though those who knew she was wearing them swore it wasn't working.

‘I'm really proud of how it turned out, for her it was a miracle,' said Hinkle, ‘she went from being really unable to converse to wanting to do modeling, wanting to go to TCC and go further into dentistry.'

The new more confident Erika wants to work as Dr. Hinkle's receptionist at Utica Dental, and is thrilled that Dr, Hinkle won an award when he presented her case a this year's Invisalign conference.

‘It makes me confident now and I have a pretty smile, she said, ‘I talk to more people and I have more friends now.  It means a lot to me, words can't explain it.'