Smile Freely… as much a verb as a program name

MANDY HOLLEY • DDS, LVIM, FICCMO
MARK DUNCAN • DDS, FAGD, DICO, FICCMO, LVIF
BRITTNEY ESPINOZA • DDS


Every patient has a unique story, and Aesthetic Dentistry of Georgetown is proud to help each one maintain, restore, or rebuild oral health in the most informative and compassionate way. Founded in 2005, they have always been focused on patient-centered relationships, and taking the time to care for people who really need it. 

Among the many differences at this practice is the relationship the doctors and staff have with everyone who sits in the chair. To begin with, they spend time talking at a comfortable table; about education, options for good dental health, and how healthy teeth are a direct correlation to systemic wellness. Dr. Mark says, “We want you to feel like you are at home here, not looking up at a doctor in a mask next to a bright light while he or she runs through technical specifications. With three doctors, we are eager to grow our patient family and help more people.” 

Another thing that sets them apart is that while they do accept insurance, many services are self-pay; which means the doctors are not beholden to insurance companies that dictate treatment or patient needs. Dr. Mandy says, “There is no room in that patient-centered relationship for an insurance company to tell you what you can or can’t have for your own health. While there are some who do not wish to, or are not able to pay out-of-pocket for services, it’s important to remember insurance-dependent clinics are not able to make the time to care for people who really need it.”  

Putting Their Money Where Your Mouth Is

Not content to simply provide quality care and services, Drs. Mandy, Mark, and Brittney give back to the Georgetown Community in a profound way. This year, they are celebrating the 5th annual Smile Freely program, which provides one deserving patient each year with a complete smile makeover at no cost, to help that person find a smile again. “We are blessed and we want to give back,” Dr. Mandy says. 

“We announce a new program each year on Facebook and conduct extensive interviews with 30-50 individuals; some of whom are existing patients.” The doctors look for people who can articulate what it would mean to have their dental problems fixed, but also are willing to commit 2-6 months, make lifestyle changes, and reclaim a smile that was truly holding them back in their life and their goals.” Dr. Mark explains, “Our 2018 recipient had the newly found confidence to buy her first home and adopt two children. That is life-changing. Our smile is a big part of who we are. If you don’t smile—it’s unintentional—but you may be judged as an unhappy person, and perhaps not someone people want to hire or work with.” 

Dr. Mandy adds, “Everyone becomes invested in our Smile Freely. This year’s reveal was amazing and we all cried because she didn’t ask for it, she just came in to fix her mouth and was prepared to pay for it.” 

Melissea… today

BENEVOLENT DENTISTRY

As the practice owner, Dr. Mandy underwrites the materials and products that may be used; implants, dentures, crowns and more. But, all of the doctors are part of these cases; planning as a team because everyone in the office is eager to be a part of helping someone get their smile back. “We use only the best labs available; made in the USA, and good for a lifetime. It’s important to note that we do that for every patient. We do whatever it takes to help them feel better, tell them up front what it will cost and, even more, we stand behind our work.”

Details will be available soon on their Facebook page and they only ask for basic information about you or a family member, and provide information about how to reach out to that person. “We want to know what you think is holding you back,” Dr. Mark says. “Some people may be embarrassed about asking, but our only motivation is to help someone who just needs a break or a good turn. If we can give you this one good thing, then everything else may start to sort itself out. It’s not really for someone wanting to get a modeling contract, it’s about quality of life and good health.” 

The doctors find they focus on those with a genuine need and an authentic personality. The 2019 recipient is Melissea Huff. She began the process in May and finished just before the holidays; “I thought it was going to hurt, but I felt so welcome, and always felt like I was arriving at Cheers. We talked about our families and weekend plans, it is such a relaxing atmosphere, and Dr. Duncan is as hilarious as he is kind.” 

Melissea says the doctor showed her a model of a perfect mouth and said whatever she didn’t have on that mouth, he would fix. And he did. Her smiling photo is now on their wall of fame. 

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

Even if you’re not concerned about your smile, these doctors give you options. They educate all patients that teeth are just part of the health picture. Every new patient starts with health history, moves through a head and neck oral cancer screen, then an evaluation of bite and airway. They are also the Central Texas Center for Sleep & Airway, so it may surprise some that a dentist may be the answer to migraines or lost sleep. 

“We give you options and let you choose,” Dr. Mandy says with a smile.  Visit AestheticDentistryGT.com.

NEW SMILE • NEW LIFE

Melissea… before

Melissea Huff is a woman of faith. Last year, she told God she wanted to get her confidence back; she wanted her smile back. 

She says, “The last photo I remember smiling in was for my wedding in 2003. I work in the finance industry and I was very self-conscious about face-to-face meetings or making presentations. I never smiled, or I would cover my mouth when I laughed or talked. Most of the time I just looked down or didn’t smile at all.” She got on the web and searched for “smile makeovers,” and was led to AestheticDentistryGT.com. 

She filled out the information form for a makeover and set about thinking about managing a new budget because she didn’t care about the cost. 

When she read about the Smile Freely program, she thought it was interesting, but didn’t think much of it. “They called me to talk about it and I went in to see about getting a new smile. They spent time explaining all the things they could do and what my options might be and I was very pleased. The next thing I knew, they had selected me into the program and were going to sponsor me through it.” 

Needless to say, Melissea shed many tears, and the staff were not too shy to say they did as well. Dr. Mark said, “She was going to have the work done herself and she was so humble about it. We were only too happy to help her.” 

The doctors removed all of Melissea’s teeth and gave her a temporary denture while they worked on her final solutions. “There’s no such thing as ‘overnight teeth,’” Dr. Mandy says. “We moved through appropriate healing processes before proceeding to each new step.” 

Today, Melissea has snap-in dentures that are supported by implants. “It feels like perfect teeth and I do have a perfect smile. But I can’t express how much I enjoyed going to brush my teeth and being surprised again about what I saw in the mirror. It’s profound teaching my mouth how to smile naturally again, and I can’t get enough of people telling me how beautiful my smile is.” 

Melissea began making presentations, attending open houses, and, basically, “getting back out there” just a week after she got her teeth. “I’ve always been a fancy dresser, pretty much to distract from my lack of smile, but now I’ve started wearing more makeup—especially lipstick—to draw people’s eyes to my mouth.”

The Future

Today, she has exciting things coming. No longer shy and stuck in the office, she quit her accounting job and has become a full-time entrepreneur. She is also the president of the PTA at her kids’ school. “I always had the skills; now I have the confidence. I am able to speak to clients, parents, and give presentations; many things I would never have done before. This has made me whole again and I can serve my community without thinking about it. Now I say, ‘Let’s just do it.’” 

Before & After photos by Rudy Ximenez (RSXStudios.com), courtesy of Aesthetic Dentistry of Georgetown.

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