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Big Smiles of Gratitude

Big Smiles of GratitudeTwograduates of Tufts School of Dental Medicine made a couple ofMassachusetts residents smile by selecting them to receive morethan $20,000 in free dental work.Boston

Boston [11.10.04] Formany people, a trip to the dentist’s office is hardly causefor celebration. But for two Massachusetts residents, they can’thelp but smile. Chosen from more than 100 applicants, the pairreceived free cosmetic and traditional dental treatment, thanksto an “Extreme Smile Makeover” contest sponsored byTufts Dental School graduates Konstantin Ronkin and Evetta Shwartzman.

“It'svery important to have self-confidence,” Shwartzman toldthe Weymouth News. “That's hard for a regular personif they don't have a pretty smile."

Richard McLeod of Braintree,Mass., and Tamra McColgan of Weymouth, Mass., had dreamed of fixingtheir gapped teeth and replacing old dental repairs with newerwork. The doctors selected their appeals over the other applicants,who ranged in age from 17 to 81.

Their stories, accordingto the dentists, were compelling.

"Tamrais a beautiful lady," Shwartzman said to the News."She told me her son was in a ball game and she was rootingfor him, but she was conscious that when she yells, she smiles.She said, 'I don't want to open my mouth.' That touched us."

The criteria for thewinners were to improve the patients’ self-image and appearance,and the dentists employed a variety of treatments, ranging fromcrown replacements to whitening to straightening, to accomplishthose ends.

The patients were morethan pleased with the results.

"Theydid a ton of work. All I know is I've got a mouth full of newteeth," McLeod, who has had to overcome a fear of dentists,told the News. "Now I don't think twice about smiling."

Ronkin and Shwartzmancame over to the United States from the former Soviet Union in1989, and they met while studying at Tufts. In 1994, they openedtheir joint practice in Canton, Mass.

Ronkin has returnedto Russia multiple times to teach modern dentistry techniquesto Russian practitioners, and he is also editor-in-chief of apublication geared toward Russian-speaking dentists in the U.S.,Russia, Israel and Germany.

They addedcosmetic dentistry to their repertoire in order to cater to amore eager crowd.

"We createsomething that people like. They are much more enthusiastic,"said Shwartzman. "It is what we love to do."


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