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A winning smile

Dentist awards free makeover.

Unlike most people visiting the dentist, Dianna Tolan was moved to tears of joy.

As winner of an “extreme cosmetic dental makeover” contest held by Dr. Omer Anisso of Islandental, she looks forward to finally being able to smile with confidence.

“I know it’ll change my life,” said Tolan, a Port Orchard resident who made her first visit to Islandental on Monday. “It already has. I smile in my sleep now.”

The contest is part of Anisso’s “Perfect Smiles Across America” project, in which Islandental will give away a dental makeover to one person each year.

Anisso will document the 6-8 week process and submit it to professional dental journals in hopes that his professional colleagues will do the same.

“I hope this becomes an annual event that grows and improves somebody’s life and not just their smile, with more confidence and higher self-esteem,” Anisso said. “We see it all the time in our patients.”

Over the course of several visits, Tolan will receive a root canal, a three-unit ceramic bridge to improve her chewing surface by bridging missing teeth, and high-end ceramic crowns to whiten teeth discolored since birth from medication she took as a baby.

Tolan works for a social service agency that helps low-income families with housing, and also at Kmart on weekends and evenings.

The dental makeover Tolan will receive – normally costing about $20,000 – would have been out of financial reach.

She was one of 10 chosen from over 100 entries. Each finalist received a complimentary one-hour visit including a routine exam and x-ray with an interview to talk about their motivations and where they were in their lives.

Islandental chose Tolan not just for dental needs, but also for her personality.

“She had the right attitude, was eager to listen and trust us, and wanted to do it for all the right reasons,” Anisso said.

Tolan said that her teeth made her self-conscious and kept her from being more outgoing when she was young, and have kept her from standing up for herself and speaking up as an adult.

“It’s been a lifelong dream to get my teeth fixed,” she said. “My daughter told me that all she wanted for Christmas was for me to win this contest.”

Islandental’s good turn has inspired several more.

The dental work will start with a root canal donated by Dr. Michael Huey, an endodontist who practices in Bremerton and Port Orchard.

Paige McCarty – an actress and cosmetologist who was in a car accident years ago, and had to have her smile reconstructed – got the salon she frequents to join in. Thus, Kenneth L Salon and Spa in Poulsbo will offer Tolan a complimentary spa treatment, hair cut and styling, and make-up.

Bainbridge Island’s Flowers-To-Go will present Tolan with a wrapped bouquet.

“I think this is the coolest project,” Tolan said. “What (Anisso’s) doing is going to change lives.”

Anisso said, “You come to a point in your life when you want to give back,” and it seemed like the right time as recent “extreme makeover” shows on TV make the contest easy to understand.

“Of course when I watch those shows,” Anisso said, “the first thing I notice is the teeth.”

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