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Smile Even Though You Might Be Missing Some Teeth


Smile Even Though You Might Be Missing Some Teeth

I’ve learned a few things since I had to have my two front teeth removed two years ago.
First, nothing can stop you from smiling!

Second, you don’t realize how important your teeth are until they have to be removed.

Third, people look at you -stare-when they see that you are missing your front teeth. It’s a great way to tell a tall tale or have a little fun explaining why you are missing your teeth.

Scenario, I’m in the cafeteria at work waiting in line when I run into someone I haven’t seen in years. I have a huge smile on my face and say “hi!!”. This girl looks at me with shock in her face. I don’t even wait for her to ask me about my teeth. I start by saying, “I’m sure you are wondering what happened to my teeth? Well, I was at a Chicago Blackhawks game and the puck flew over the boards and hit me in the mouth. It was in the news. Didn’t you see it?”. Her expression on her face was priceless. She was in shock and said, “oh my God, how horrible!”. She went on to say that she was meeting up with the old gang from our previous job that night. I told her to tell them I say hello. This girl was a huge busy body and loved to gossip. So, I walked away and just had the best laugh. I would love to have been at that dinner to hear her tell the story.

Another time I was at work and was walking down the hall when the Director was walking towards me. I flashed a huge smile. Huge smile. The look on his face was one of shear horror. He looked at me and his face said it all. “Oh my God, what happened to you? Wait, doesn’t the company offer dental insurance??”  Again, as I passed him, I just giggled.

You have to have a sense of humor. When things happen to you unexpectedly you have a choice to make. Either make the best out of it or walk around with a frown on your face. I chose to keep smiling and laughing over these past two years.

Tomorrow I start the process of getting my two front dental implants. They had to take bone from my hip to build my palate and I’ve had to wait to make sure I have enough bone for the implants. Two years waiting for the bone to grow. That’s a long time to walk around and not have your two front teeth.

When I was in New York over the Holidays, I sat on Santa’s lap. I smiled at him and said, “Santa, all I want is my two front teeth”. He had a sweet smile on his face and said, “Well, I can’t promise that. That’s a pretty big wish”. I said , I know Santa and he winked at me and smiled as he handed me a candy cane.

I am nervous about tomorrow. I guess tomorrow is the worst of the 5 upcoming appointments. They have to cut into my gum and expose the two dental screws. Just thinking about the injections makes my palms sweat. But, I will get through it. And, hopefully by the end of May I will have my two new front teeth. I’m sure I will be smiling from ear to ear.

I have to give a wonderful shout out to the University of Illinois in Chicago. Specifically, Dr. Cohen and Dr. Reisberg. Dr. Reisberg is a wonderful Dentist who knows what he is doing! He is kind and is an artist when it comes to restoring your smile. He has a very caring soul. Dr. Cohen, is also an artist and every patient is his masterpiece! As my Mom would say, God bless the day these two doctors were born. My heart is filled with gratitude for these two wonderful doctors and the entire team at the University of Illinois in Chicago Craniofacial Clinic. You make sure each person can smile!

Don’t hold back. Smile and let everyone be touched by your beauty!


We all have a story to tell so make it a good one!


We all have a story to tell so make it a good one!

I’ve started this blog so that you can learn about me and my experiences. I was born with a cleft lip and palate. However, that scar does not define who I am. I am more than a scar. I believe that I’ve turned out to be a good person who just wants to pass on words of wisdom and share experiences that I’ve had in my life that changed me for the better.

I’ve been reading some blogs from Moms that have cleft lip and/or palate children. You are at an advantage because you have the internet and support groups that can help you with your concerns.

When I was born in 1961 there was no social media-no IPhones, no Internet, no texting, no tweeting, no Facebook and no way to gather information other than the encyclopedia or going to the library to look up medical explanations. The Internet is a wonderful resource when used properly. However, you can fall into the social media vortex spending hours upon hours reading into things or trying to connect to people that may have the “answer” to your problems.

The only reason I am on Facebook and created a blog was because this was suggested to me as a way to connect with people. So, I will see how this goes. If I can help one person than it has been worth it.

I guess the most important thing I can say is that you will get through this. Life really is what you make it. You can choose to be a positive or negative person. You can think only about yourself or you can reach out to others. In life, you get what you give. Pretty simple to remember and implement. The rewards are not monetary but rather help shape the person you are becoming. Do the right thing, extend your hand and help the next person. You have a voice so use it. Never be afraid to question a health care professional and listen to your heart. If what they are recommending does not sound right to you, hit the pause button and see if you can reach out to others and get a second, third or sometimes fourth opinion.

Define what you think the word beautiful means. For me, beauty is what is in the inside and doesn’t happen overnight. Your story in life will create the inner beauty and people who really love you will see that beauty when they look into your eyes. Smiling helps that inner beauty escape so it can touch others.

There are unfulfilled needs of adult patients who have had a cleft lip and/or palate


There are unfulfilled needs of adult patients who have had a cleft lip and/or palate

Adult patients continue to have a wide range of problems relating to their cleft.
For some patients who have had a cleft lip and/or palate, problems continue into adulthood or arise later in life. These problems are often multiple and treatment often requires the input of more than one specialist. Common problems such as nose and lip deformity and malocclusion, poorly fitting dental prostheses, oronasal fistulae, and speech problems are just to name a few.

There needs to be a global awareness that there is a need for coordinated multidisciplinary cleft teams to provide continuing care for patients who have a history of cleft lip and/or palate. The team approach plays such an important role in optimizing surgical, dental, speech, and psychosocial outcomes for these patients.

Please help me raise the awareness. Where do adult patients turn to for help?
My Story


My Story

My Name is Patricia Simon and I was born with a cleft lip and palate.

My first surgery was at 6 months of age. I had speech therapy when I was a child. I had my second surgery when I was 13-14 years of age.
I recently had two more surgeries as a result of getting a dental abscess in my two front teeth. Due to a dentist inexperienced with cleft lip and palate, I continued to have problems with my teeth and had to have bone taken from my hip to build my palate.
For the last two years, I have been without my two front teeth as I wait for the bone to grow in my palate. The next step is to begin the process of getting dental implants for my two front teeth.
I am the youngest of five children and my brothers and sisters have always been very supportive and loving towards me. I have also been blessed with having wonderful friends.
I am a Registered Nurse and have taken care of babies born with cleft lip and palate. I have also provided support to the families.
My family has supported Smile Train throughout the years. When my mother died she asked that in lieu of flowers that donations be sent to the Smile Train. I have raised thousands of dollars by asking my family, friends and co-workers to support the Smile Train. In December 2015, I went to the Smile Train headquarters in New York to see how I could help Smile Train make more smiles possible for children.
I know what the journey is like. No individual can provide any greater comfort or insight than someone who has had to face the same type of problem. I would like to make sure that every patient who has been through this experience comes through it with a positive and optimistic outlook toward life. There are others out their walking a similar journey and I hope to be an encouragement to others. I hope to offer support, information, and an opportunity to network with others affected by cleft lip and palate and other craniofacial deformities.  I hope others will benefit when I share my experiences and my knowledge; The highs and lows. I hope to help others help navigate through difficult social situations.
I am trying my hand at writing a children’s book on cleft lip and palate. The story will be about Simon, a bird born with a separation in his beak. It will be a story of love, acceptance and kindness. It will speak to the importance that a smile has on others. Smiling is so important for the soul!
I am dedicated to help those affected by cleft lip and palate.  We now have a website:
I hope this will serve as a venue for camaraderie and a formula for hope and support.
What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made in the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.                                                                ____Nelson Mandela