Blog Archive

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Meet RSM 90-90-9 Winner: Jacqueline Pacquette

Jacqueline Pacquette | Audit Senior Associate | Omaha, NE
I grew up in a family of cigarette smokers, from in utero to the day I moved out of my parents’ house, I was surrounded by second hand smoke. While this never affected my health, it did affect my teeth. I always had cavities, no matter how often I brushed, each trip to the dentist showed new cavities. By the time I was in high school I had been through numerous root canals, and had a few teeth pulled altogether. The results of all these procedures were purely to stop any further damage. I was left with, cosmetically, an ugly smile. One of my front teeth was set a full centimeter behind all the others, another was completely sideways, and multiple others were covered in fillings that didn’t quite match the color of my teeth.

My ugly smile was always a cause of self-consciousness. I wouldn’t smile showing my teeth for pictures, and I’d cover my mouth with a hand when laughing around others. My freshman year of college, my front tooth, the one that was completely sideways, broke off at the gums. I was devastated. As if my smile wasn’t bad enough, I was now missing one of my front teeth. I reluctantly called to make an appointment at a local dentist. When I showed up for my appointment, I was in tears. The procedure to fix my one tooth would cost hundreds of dollars, but he nearly refused to do that without fixing everything else, upwards of $6,000. I knew my family couldn’t afford it.

I called my parents to discuss what the dentist had told me; my step dad told me he’d take a loan out against his 401(k) to pay for the procedures. I showed up to my next dentist appointment, with this information in hand, when I told my doctor he replied that he wouldn’t take any money from us. I was confused for a few minutes, until he thoughtfully explained that he would do all the work necessary to give me a perfect smile under a few conditions. First, he would take as much money as my dental insurance would cover. Second, I needed to keep my grades up. Third, I needed to graduate from college. Finally, fourth, that one day I would pay it forward. I heartily agreed, once again full of tears. I was so thankful for his generosity.

The next year was full of pain, having teeth pulled and all my other dental work done, before finally at the end of my freshman year having the last piece put in. For the first time in my life, I had a perfect smile. In photographs now, I’m smiling wide, and I’m not ashamed to laugh in public. The work that Dr. Chris did for me changed me as a person, he gave me so much confidence and I’ll never be able to truly thank him for what he has done.

With the help of Teammates (a mentoring program), I’d like to identify a high school student in need, in Omaha with a promising future, who could use a new smile. I would use extra time off for the process of identifying the student, becoming their mentor, and attending appointments with them. In the process of mentoring them I would like to take the student and their family to Storm Lake, IA to meet my dentist, Dr. Chris.

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