A winning smile is not only important to a woman’s confidence and self-esteem, but can lead to career opportunities she never could have imagined.
Take, for example, Jennifer Houlihan, a mother of five who home-schools her children. As the author of “Triumphant Womanhood,” Houlihan is experienced at addressing Christian women’s groups. But recently, after getting her teeth straightened, she’s embarked on a new adventure, modeling for the Ursula Wiedmann Agency.
“My teeth started out straight, but then pregnancy does crazy things to your body,” Houlihan says. “With every baby, my teeth started to shift and move. It was getting to where I was self conscious and smiling without showing my teeth.”
Houlihan took one of her daughters to see Dr. Michael Mahaffey, of Mahaffey Orthodontics in Peachtree City, for braces. That’s where she learned about the Invisalign teeth-straightening process, which uses adjustable trays to slowly move teeth over time.
“Being in my 40s, I didn’t want to wear braces,” Houlihan explains. “I don’t think I would have gotten them straightened if it hadn’t been for Invisalign.”
Except for when she was eating, Houlihan wore Invisalign around the clock for about a year because, as Dr. Mahaffey says, “Teeth are like children; you have to tell them what to do all the time.”
Houlihan would go see Dr. Mahaffey to get new trays every month or so, which would bring discomfort for about a week.
“But I was like, ‘Bring it on!’” she laughs. “I was so eager for my teeth to be pretty.”
Houlihan still wears the trays at night, just like a retainer. And they’ve provided other good benefits to her. As a teeth grinder, the trays also act as an excellent mouth guard for sleeping.
Though not a coffee drinker, Houlihan’s teeth were also yellowing. She had tried over-the-counter whitening treatments with little result. She got whitening gel from her dentist and used her Invisalign trays with it, as it’s the custom trays that are costly in that process.
Having brighter, beautiful, straight teeth has made Jennifer’s speaking career easier for her.
“You really connect with your audience if you can smile and not feel like you have to hide crooked teeth,” she says. “My mission when I go to women’s groups is to give victory to women who are believers, to inspire them to keep going. I do it all with straight teeth and a confident smile.”
“I feel empowered,” Houlihan continues. “Your smile is really important. It made all the difference for me, to feel like I could pursue these things out in the public eye. There’s no way I would have signed with a modeling agency if I didn’t have perfect teeth.”
Houlihan has done some fashion shoots and modeled for a QVC designer.
The whole family has benefited from Dr. Mahaffey’s magic as well. Four of her five children have had various treatments to maintain their own winning smiles. But the biggest success story is her husband.
“My husband is an airline pilot and around the public a lot,” she explains. “His teeth were a mess when we first met. His teeth had so many crowding and alignment problems that the orthodontist he went to in Kentucky told him he’d have to have his jaw broken.”
But Dr. Mahaffey was able to straighten his teeth in a little over a year using Invisalign, without breaking his jaw.
“It is so much fun to go to Dr. Mahaffey’s office,” Houlihan says. “They are so sweet. The staff is very professional and friendly. It’s a welcoming place. I wish every doctor’s office could be like that.”
According to Dr. Mahaffey, the teeth you had as a teenager aren’t guaranteed through adulthood. He says, “I have a lot of adult patients come in. Some, it’s because their teeth have shifted over the years. Some just never got braces in their youth, and know that their smile affects their confidence, which is linked to their ability to get ahead in their careers. I love to help my patients to love their smile. It gives me great joy to help those like Jennifer and her family.”
Dr. Michael Mahaffey and the team at Mahaffey Orthodontics have been providing orthodontic care for nearly twenty-five years. Located in Peachtree City at 268 S. Peachtree Parkway, Mahaffey Orthodontics specializes in braces and Invisalign ® for children, teens and adults. Dr. Mahaffey recommends that children first visit the orthodontist at age 8 or 9 to see if any early treatment is warranted. Appointments are available by calling 770-487-6439.