One evening back in 1993, I got so excited during a heated game of “Street Fighter” that I accidentally smacked my 7-year-old brother, Mo, on the back of the head.
Mo flew face-first into the corner of a wooden table, and the table won. His tooth shattered, exposing a painful nerve.
I offered Mo gifts for years if he would promise to never smile, just so our parents wouldn’t discover the tooth.
That promise didn’t last.
Due to lack of money and know-how, our immigrant parents didn’t have access to a dentist. The tooth wasn’t fixed, and for years, I watched my brother hide his fractured smile.
THE SILVER LINING IS THAT THE GUILT LED ME TO START THIS CLINIC.
I wanted to see my brother – and others -- smile with confidence. That childhood moment gave me purpose through years of training. I wanted to master the craft and bring back Mo’s smile.
Finally, when Mo and I were roommates at UCLA – he was an undergrad; I was in dental school there -- I got to fix his tooth.
Today, he’s a computer engineer whose smile is big and bright.
He designed the top notch technology in our office. He also joined some buddies at a little startup called Pinterest.
Let’s say he’s doing just fine.
OUR STORY MAKES SCRIPPS PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY MORE THAN A DENTAL OFFICE. IT'S A UNIQUE PLACE AIMED AT GIVING KIDS THE LIFE-CHANGING POWER OF A CONFIDENT SMILE.
In ancient days when caves were the primary homes of human, when creatures the size of tanks wandered the earth, there was a boy with eyes as curious as his soul.
His home often felt like a prison to fear, for outside the safety of the stone cave, dragons and monsters lurked, turning his nights into trapped days and long years.
Until one evening when he discovered a power hidden within his curved lips to the sky. A smile.
He had discovered a smile. A simple act - joy and confidence - that burned his soul with a sense of strength more powerful than fire.
Fear was no longer an obstacle and home no longer a prison as with his smile, he had the power to tame the wind and make even giants bow. So he left the cave, armed with courage, curiosity and his smile, determined to see the wonder of the world, full of dragons or not.
This boy, who lived in the times of dragons, smiles and other magic things, still lives on today. He is within the boy who founded Scripps Pediatric Dentistry, and also the person you see in the mirror. Each of us ready to face today’s demons with that boy’s ancient secret:
"WE SMILE NOT SIMPLY BECAUSE WE ARE HAPPY.
WE ARE HAPPY BECAUSE WE SMILE."