If it were physically possible to grin from ear to ear, Arlys Walberg might be attempting that feat.
Walberg, promotions coordinator at the North Branch Area Chamber of Commerce, is sporting a new smile after winning a contest through North Branch Dental and Minnesota Sedation Dental in Cambridge.
Those who know Walberg would likely describe her as outgoing, bubbly even, but she hasn’t had the best smile for years; she said it sometimes felt like a “deterrent” when it came to interacting with people.
In November, Walberg heard about the “Give a Smile” contest at a chamber luncheon. Whoever won the contest would receive dental work, free of charge, to enhance their smile.
In Walberg’s case, that work turned out to total about $13,000.
“I remember standing there as they were talking about it and I was like, ‘Oh, that would be so cool to win.”
Others in the community were of the same opinion.
Walberg’s family, businesspeople in North Branch and her coworkers nominated her for the contest. She was elated when she won, especially because she had been delaying dental work because of the cost.
“It was neat (to win),” she said. “It made me feel good.”
Walberg said she hadn’t had the best of luck with dentists; frankly, they scared her.
But after a consultation with doctors Geoffrey Archibald and Adam Curtis, her fears were put to rest.
“These guys were so good,” she said. “They tell you what they’re going to do so you feel more comfortable with it.”
After taking molds of her mouth and X-rays, all of Walberg’s teeth were pulled.
She said the pain of that procedure was something she thought would take “lots of good drugs” to manage, but she was surprised at how quickly she was able to recover.
“I just needed Tylenol, that’s it,” she said.
The dentures she received adhere to plates attached to the top of her mouth, and in June Walberg is going to have posts put in her lower jaw to make sure the teeth fit extra snug.
Walberg said both the bottom and top sets fit fine now, but having the posts will just provide a little extra stability.
“It sure is fun to smile,” she said.