April/May 2006 (v8 i6)
Crossing Your Border 1997
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Orthodontist offers grills, conformity to pop culture
Adolescents eager for parents to ‘call the orthodontist, tell him make me a grill’
by Sara Kanewske, Staff Writer

“Aw gee, Mom. Do I have to mow the lawn?
Me and Billy were gonna go to the soda
fountain and split a vanilla malt
before church.”
PLANO, TX — After a two-year decline in business, Dr. Larry Wolfmann, DDS, recently began offering “grills” as an alternative to traditional braces.

“With all the Invisalign techniques and children not sucking their thumbs like they used to, braces just aren’t the hot commodity they once were,” explained Wolfmann.

Always looking for new ways to serve his patients, Wolfmann came across the idea for “iced out braces” when his 14-year-old son was watching MTV one afternoon.

“Usually I can’t stand rap music,” admitted Wolfmann. “Rappers aren’t generally known for having proper alignment. But when I saw Paul Wall flash his metal-laced teeth, I immediately wondered how much his orthodontist must be making. I mean, banking.”

Wolfmann originally offered silver braces with a choice of up to two band colors for customization. Now Wolfmann provides platinum, white gold, and traditional gold.

Dr. Wolfmann’s practice has ungone other changes as well.

“We use to play this ‘soft favorites’ station at a low volume throughout the day,” said assistant Julie White. “Now we turn the bass up and keep it on that hot jams something or other station the kids seem to enjoy listening to.”

The dental assistants used to instruct the patient to “open wide,” but now the phrase “smile for me, Daddy, I wanna see your grill” is instead used when directing patients.

The waiting room in the office, which displays a bulletin board of patients’ before and after pictures, recently added the title “It’s my smile that got these onlookers spectatin’.”

The iced out braces cost more than traditional ones, ranging in prices up to $15,000. However, psychologist Nancy Mueller stresses the importance of adolescents feeling acceptance from their peers.

“In the past, braces have had a very negative image in the media,” explained Mueller. “But now, with Dr. Wolfmann’s new technique, the children can imagine they are ‘grilled out’ just like Snoop Thug and the Yang Triplets and the whole gang.”

Wolfmann’s competitors, including Dr. Joe Zenner, are admittedly frustrated with Wolfmann’s success.

“I pioneered the introduction of fashion in orthodontics,” said Zenner. “I assured parents braces were no longer boring back in ’95 when I suggested matching band color to upcoming holidays or favorite sports teams. I should have been the one to launch those grills.”

Wolfmann’s adolescent son offered his own testimonial to his grill.

“I used to get made fun of in sixth grade — I was kind of a nerd,” said Matt Wolfmann. “Now I have the confidence to stand up for myself, ’cause I got dientes de ice, and they got dientes de foil.”

Wolfmann smiled at his son and added: “Not only are his bicuspids moving nicely in line with his early molars, but he’s been flossin’ all day, every day since he’s gotten a grill.”

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