Tonja Dean meets Dr. Paul Kazmer in his Cary office at her initial consultation.
Tonja Dean may not even realize that she uses her right hand to cover her mouth when she feels a bit of joy coming on. It’s automatic now. The hand is meant to hide her teeth – and her smile – from everyone. The irony is, Dean, from Durham, would love nothing more than to flash dozens of big smiles every day as the oncology patient coordinator at UNC Hospitals in the radiation department. “I work with cancer patients all day,” Dean, 48, says. “I want to be able to give them a big smile. It’s so important to them.” Dean should know. Her daughter, now 30, is a three-time cancer survivor. Dean remembers how scary and endless the doctor visits could seem. “It’s got to be a partnership” In a few months, Dean may want to sit on her hands so she can show off her pearly new whites. Dr. Paul Kazmer, a periodontist in Cary, recently selected Dean as the recipient of his free smile makeover. Cary Living was there the day Dean and Dr. Kazmer had their first consultation. Both were excited. “I used to do a lot of volunteering before I had four kids,” Dr. Kazmer laughs. “I would like to do more of it now that the kids are a little older and my practice is up and running. Our goal is to do one case a quarter. It’s got to be a partnership. I can do my stuff, but the parts and pieces are expensive, the lab bills and more.” caryliving.com | 59
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