About 7 years ago, the team at Westermeier Martin Dental Care of East Aurora decided to choose one lucky Mother to win a day of pampering in honor of Mother’s Day. In addition, the lucky winner would also receive a free Smile Makeover courtesy of their dental practice. They knew that Moms always take care of everyone else’s needs first, putting themselves last. They also knew that by changing someone’s smile, they would change their life. And so, for the past 7 years, they have been sponsoring this eagerly anticipated annual event, with this year being no exception.

For 10 years, North Tonawanda resident and Mom of 3, Robin Perry prayed for a new smile. As Robin states, “God’s ways are not our ways, but eventually He always answers “. When she saw the announcement for this year’s contest on TV, she decided she had nothing to lose by entering and everything to gain, and sent in this entry:

“I want to thank you for reading my story. I am a 55 year old grandmother and mother. Forty years ago when I was in high school I fell in love. A year later we were no longer together but I had a daughter. She was my world. I tried for two years to raise her on my own, even moving 3000 miles with the promise of help. Within a year I made the most difficult decision of my life and placed her with a wonderful family, something I had been unable to give her. With my heart broken I returned home and married. I had 2 more children but never forgot her. After 27 years my husband left. During the next 10 years I endured 4 back surgeries, 2 heart and a brain (surgery).

One night eating popcorn, a kernel knocked out a filling on a molar and lodged in the tooth. When I tried to dislodge the kernel, the tooth cracked in half. The next morning the tooth had abscessed so the dentist gave me an antibiotic and I was told to come back to have it pulled. Within 2 days, the abscess had grown to the size of half a grapefruit into my neck and turned purple. On my 2nd trip to ER, a Ct-Scan was done and an aneurism was found. I was admitted to the ICU. I went for 6 months in limbo, I couldn't have the brain surgery because of the abscess and the tooth couldn't be pulled because of the aneurism. Over 30 dentists were contacted, but none would touch the tooth. The infection grew worse each day and my teeth rotted out one after another. Finally the aneurism surgery was done when the Doctor could wait no longer. By this time- my teeth were no longer able to be saved. With no insurance I could do nothing but live with the teeth. I thank God for his blessing that allowed me to live because of a popcorn kernel, but- I have actually had children run from me scared of my teeth!

The final chapter- recently I received a letter from my daughter. She had been searching and she is back in my life again. She let me know her family is moving this summer to VA for her husband’s military promotion. I am beyond excited!! Also, while shopping one day I ran into her dad, after 40 years! We have been out a few times and I our feelings haven't changed. I was able to bring her and her dad together and it seems she was able to bring us together. I have a new grandson born just 2 weeks ago also. My life is a blessed one. It would mean so much to be able to smile again though. I apologize for rambling, I do that a lot. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my story and how a popcorn kernel saved my life. Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms! “

The bewilderment, shock and surprise on Robin’s face was obvious to Maria Miecyjak, Administrator for Westermeier Martin Dental Care, when she showed up on a sunny morning at Robin’s front door. Carrying flowers and balloons to proclaim her the winner (check out the video of this on www.wmsmile.com- it’s priceless!) it was hard to tell who was more excited, Robin or Maria.

Robin explains “I was shocked. Never in the world did I think I’d be chosen the winner. I never win anything. At first, I didn’t know what to say, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. When it finally sunk in that I won, I burst into tears- I was so happy to finally be able to fix my teeth. I love being around people, laughing and smiling. The condition of my teeth changed all that. I stopped smiling and avoided social situations altogether. I stayed home – a lot. The worst part was when my grandson’s playmate ran off crying when she saw my teeth! On top of this, I couldn’t even eat my favorite foods anymore. “

Robin continues: “When it came to the day of the Smile Makeover, I really wasn’t that nervous, but really looked forward to it. I knew for a long time that something really needed to be done about my teeth, but had no idea of how I’d ever be able to afford it. Everybody at Westermeier Martin Dental made me feel so comfortable and safe. You know, I’ve been to a lot of doctors and dental offices because of my illnesses. A lot of people seem to just be going through the motions. At Westermeier Martin, you can tell that they really care about their patients. It’s obvious by just talking to them that they’re perfectionists and take pride in their work. I really appreciate that they focused on fixing my teeth, not on how they got that way. My treatment was extensive, but I was totally comfortable the whole time I was in their dental chair, with no pain or discomfort afterwards”.

In addition to the Smile Makeover, Cielo Salon in East Aurora treated Robin to a complete hair and makeup makeover, plus a mani/pedi. She felt very much like a princess with the friendly and professional staff who worked their magic, and walked out looking and feeling on top of the world. Eros Day Spa and Wellness Center of East Aurora donated a luxurious spa treatment to our lucky winner and the charming and historic Roycroft Inn pitched in with an overnight stay including a champagne dinner for two. Robin was also presented 2 tickets to the Aurora Theater.

Has the Smile Makeover changed Robin’s life? You decide. In the short time since her makeover, she’s been out and about, enjoying being able to smile and laugh with her children and her grandson. Robin can’t wait to show the world her new look and excited at joining the outside world again.