Red Lipstick Hats and A New Smile


by Bernadette A. Sahm

You don’t wear hats and red lipstick when you are not happy with your smile! You just don’t …

There are a lot of people that are self-described as having a “dental phobia” and have great fear and anxiety concerning the dentist. I believe that most people either 1) love their dentists and go to the dentist or 2) don’t have a dentist that they like and therefore don’t go there.

For me I had a long and winding road before I ultimately found “the one” perfect dentist for me! It was thirteen years and six dentists later before I had restoration dentistry. I needed someone that was not only experienced and skilled but where I felt cared for … patient care is two parts for me the patient and the care.

Yes, I know that it is a business, a service business but I needed someone that cared about me and had the necessary skills.

When I was just twenty-three, I had six crowns on my six front teeth. Back then it was a big deal and for a young twenty something expensive but necessary. My smile was restored, and I was happy with it. But like most things, it didn’t last and forty years later my dental work was failing. My teeth had moved to the point where it appeared that I was missing a tooth that showed itself when I smiled and yet I wasn’t missing a front tooth.

So, at the age of fifty I began searching for a new dentist, my dentist was retired and so my journey began again. It took me thirteen years and six dentists until I found what I was looking for and during those years I have so many dental experiences. One that turned me off by his demand for full payment two weeks prior to any work being done and not one person working in his office had a pretty smile!

Later I landed on Dr. S who was referred by one of my professional networking groups. He was very good to me and made my appointments first thing in the morning and gave me laughing gas to keep me relaxed. He worked up a dental plan and I had much work done until …. until we came to the six front teeth. He wanted to pull them and said that I wasn’t a candidate for dental implants. That meant dentures and for me that was not an option. I decided ugly and failing front teeth were better that a piece that I had to put it and take out.

Then this past summer a close friend recommended her new dentist, she was young and a female in her own small dental business. I saw her just once and she gave me hope that I could have the dental implants that I wanted and had been searching for so long. She referred me to her dentist who was a periodontist and not only specialized in the kind of care that I needed but was also the dentist that my new dentist was using. So off I went … again and to a location that was not in my neighborhood. It took several weeks to see her, and my appointment was not on time nor did my husband or myself like the office vibe.

The initial plan was that these two dentists would work as a team to get the results that I needed, however after a few office visits it became clear to me that this was not feeling right to me, and they lost my trust and faith. The best thing I can say about them was that ultimately, I was referred to Dr. Boenning in Towson who actually ended up being the perfect dentist for me.

He asked questions actually listened when you responded to his questions and seemed so much better skilled than what I previously experienced. It didn’t hurt that after my first office visit, I learned that he was the dentist that my favorite retired dentist was seeing along with his wife. Also, during my first visit my husband stayed in the reception area and witnessed a doctor come in still in scrubs after delivering a baby with a toothache that needed immediate attention. So now there are two area medical professionals seeing Dr. Boenning. I liked him and I liked his staff. I felt comfortable there and it was less than two miles from my home.


The week before Thanksgiving I was finally scheduled for dental surgery and dental implants. I was so ready and had so many people praying for me. I was scheduled from 8:00 to 3:00. It was going to be a long day but by now I was more than ready! I arrived on time after taking medication to help relax me. A foot inside the dental office was a wheelchair waiting for me, my husband knew right away that it was for me. It never crossed my mind. The staff was warm and welcoming and ready and not long after Dr. Boenning came in to say hello check on me and then prepare for my appointment.

I was never asleep but was comfortable during the entire process, I had eye coverings since I didn’t want to see this process and earphones listening to classical music. I could hear the assistants and Dr. Boenning throughout this process. At one point I tried to look at my watch and Dr. Boenning said its 1:15. We took one and only one break just before 2:00. My husband Brian was on standby when I had to call him and let him know I wouldn’t be finished at 3:00 but more like 5:15.

During the entire process there were two assistants with Dr. Boenning and me. Finally at close to 5:30 I was done for today. My implants were beautiful and prettier than I expected. I was sore and for days swollen and bruised. This is the first part where I have temporary but permanent implants. In four to six months after all the swelling and healing is complete, I will receive my permanent dental implants.

My husband keeps telling me how proud he is of me and how good that I look. I could never have afforded this procedure without his support. It isn’t cheap and dental insurance covers a very small amount. However, I have never felt more confident and happier, and I am definitely smiling so much more.

If you are in the Baltimore area and in need of the best dentist who can do it all and specializes in restoration dentistry and give you the best cosmetic dentistry, please contact Dr. Keith Boenning 410 324-2294 Boenning & Dancykier Dental Implants & Cosmetic Dentistry of Towson located at 1104 Kenilworth Drive Suite 104 Towson, MD 21204.

Dr. Boenning is an artist not just with creating the perfect smiles but throughout his office you will find his painting hanging on the walls. By his own admission he is a perfectionist. He also teaches his skills to dental students. I literally can’t recommend him and all his staff enough. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions.

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#cosmeticdentistry #dentistry #dentist #newsmile #smile #dentalimplants #itsanewday

Leaning In


by Bernadette A. Sahm

Did you ever notice that the really great photos of yourself were taken by people that you love and only after you leaned into the camera? There is a lesson here about the importance of leaning in and being present and not fighting or working against the things in life that we like and even love.

What can you lean into? A better relationship? A better sense of self? A greater sense of inclusion? A deeper faith?

What does it look like for you to lean into this New Year?

Recently a mentor said to me. “I hope that you will share your presence and your spirit with as many people as possible” think about that phrase for a moment. As I reflected upon it, I had two immediate thoughts 1) such a kind thing to say to someone, how empowering and 2) we all have power in our presence and in leaning into what is most important to us.

How about the times we fought against having our picture taken? How did that turn out? I know that for me, it never was my best look or my best effort if I wasn’t first leaning inward and fully present.

It has been said that “leaning in” has come to mean doing what’s necessary, becoming more courageous, confident and successful doing what perhaps we don’t even want to do.

This year I am reflecting upon all that is good and great and all the possibilities of leaning in and sharing my presence as I begin moving forward in 2023.

Wishing you a Happy Healthy New Year where you are leaning in and fully present!

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Currently working on my next blog post, Red Lipstick, Hats and My Smile