Dear Dr. Krutchick,

The first day that I met with you opened up a part of me that has been hiding for over 50 years. My justifiable fear of dentists started way back as a young child but that was just the beginning of lifelong deeper emotional problems. My childhood family circumstances offered little encouragement and contributed to a growing feeling of being unworthy and damaged. Losing all my upper teeth and most of my lowers at age 15 exposed me to months of brutal ridicule in high school and decades of self consciousness.  It wasn’t long before my self-esteem and self-confidence were severely and seemingly, hopelessly compromised. Most of what I accomplished in my successful career was the result of a restless quest to find an identity. I became a driven workaholic, alcoholic (recovering now for nearly 15 years), a loner and an obsessive perfectionist who has always been in search of an elusive slice of life’s pie. I had seldom put my more intimate needs first. There were endless years of living in the darkness of emotional pain. That first innocent meeting with you somehow transformed into the first step out of that darkness.

I wasn’t totally sure why I was considering going through the difficult and expensive process of saving the few remaining teeth, roots realistically. The costs far exceeded all expectations. My wife still thinks I should have gone to Canada for extractions and $300 dentures. My sons are shocked that I would spend so much “just to save a few teeth”. My one closest friend thinks that I have lost contact with reality. What they cannot understand is that it is less about saving my teeth and more about beginning the process about restoring my dignity and gaining a sense of self worth, vital human qualities that carry no price tag. After visiting with you I came to realize that it was time to do something for myself, something that will be the first of many steps towards finally feeling whole. I was convinced that it was too late for meaningful changes that would allow me to reap inner tranquility for the remaining years of my life. Based on my heritage, there is an excellent chance that I may have 25 to 30 years left—enough time to discover deeper satisfaction and purpose in my life. For the first time since childhood the realization emerged that I do have value and that, by the simple virtue of just being me, I have earned the right to feel good about myself. The torment will cease.

Your wonderful staff has also contributed to this new found feeling of self worth. Mary Jo, who I have come to know better than the rest of your staff, is warm, competent and compassionate. Linda and Brenda give me a sense of welcome and comfort. I appreciate your very professional standards and commitment to your patients. It is astounding what a gentle touch of understanding can do for the human heart and soul. Those few teeth have become symbolic of the new me. Soon, I will be broadly smiling when I say that.

With the warmest appreciation,

Russ C.