Confidence in a Smile

  • Copy by: Jenna Arak

Hallie Duesenberg, a 26-year old photographer living in Chicago, appears to be a positive, happy person—she admits that she “smiles all the time”—in spite of the fact that she has always been self-conscious of her crooked teeth. However, Hallie shared with us that the negative affect her teeth have had on her self-confidence has only grown stronger as she’s gotten older.

So when we teamed up with Align Technology, Inc., the makers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen®, to give away an Invisalign treatment to one reader last May, we knew immediately that Hallie was the perfect candidate.


In her submission essay, she shared: 

This is such an exciting giveaway! One of the many reasons I love The Everygirl; you’re taking the initiative to strengthen women’s confidence in a tangible way. I took the online assessment and was selected as a possibly perfect candidate for Invisalign treatment. I have had crooked teeth for…ever. My two issues are over-crowding, and an overbite. I have learned how to be conscious (most of the time) of my overbite when smiling, but there is nothing I can do about my crooked, overcrowded teeth.

When I was in middle school I was given the option of getting braces, but since it would be for purely cosmetic reasons and I knew my parents couldn’t afford it, I forfeited them. Now years later, as a 26 year old professional, I am constantly aware of my very crooked teeth and extremely self conscious of them. I remember once, my little cousin was looking at my teeth while I was smiling and said, “Wow, you have a loose tooth too!” And I had to explain that no, it wasn’t loose, just permanently in that pushed back position.

I’ve been dreaming of getting Invisalign treatment for years. My mom also has very crooked teeth, and I have seen throughout her life how it has affected her confidence and view of her own beauty. I know she wishes she had fixed her teeth, and I don’t want to go through my whole life having the same regret, always being self conscious of my mouth and hating photos that aren’t taken from directly straight on, always feeling like people sitting to the side of me are staring at my teeth. I think Invisalign treatment would change my life immensely, and would give me the confidence I need to really surge forward in both my career, and in dating. Thank you to The Everygirl for giving us all this opportunity, and I so hope to be considered.


Hallie has been using Invisalign clear aligners for the past three months, and we caught up with her recently to see how it’s going so far.


How’s your experience with Invisalign clear aligners so far? 

The process so far has been amazing! The treatment is SO easy to use. It took quite a few appointments in the beginning to do all of the moldings and 3D scans, but since then it’s been a breeze. I get 4 sets of aligners at a time, so I’m not at the orthodontist every two weeks (which is great!). I have them in almost all day long, except for when I’m eating, or drinking something like coffee or wine. They also get brushed just like my teeth to keep them nice and clean. 

Though they are incredibly comfortable, they are still braces and they’re still moving my teeth. Honestly, the first week of each set is pretty uncomfortable. But by the second week I can tell that my teeth are shifting the way they’re supposed to, because it becomes less and less painful! It’s pretty cool to feel it happening. 


Have you noticed a change in your teeth’s appearance yet? 

Since I’m only on my fifth set of aligners (out of 22!) I haven’t seen a difference in my teeth’s appearance yet. I think it takes a while before that happens though! And, even though I can’t see it, I can feel that they’re moving a little bit with each set. 


Have you noticed a change in your self-confidence?

At the beginning of the treatment I was actually more self conscious than before I had started. I couldn’t speak at all without a lisp and I felt like everyone was staring at my mouth and could see the plastic aligners. But, after a couple weeks, I got a grip on the lisp and found out that no one could even notice I had the clear aligners in! I would tell friends I had started the treatment and they all told me they hadn’t even noticed them in my mouth. By now, I don’t even worry about it!


What are you hoping to get out of this experience—aside from straight teeth, of course?

Aside from straight teeth, I’m really excited to just relax about my smile and wear it without worry. I won’t have to make sure to correct my bite in photos, and I won’t constantly be wondering if the person next to me is checking out the crookedness of my teeth. I’m looking forward to just not thinking about it any more and smiling even more than I already do! 


Because we know that Hallie isn’t alone, we also caught up with Hallie’s orthodontist, Dr. Spector. Doctor, what are your thoughts on Hallie and other women feeling the same way about their teeth as she does?

I see a lot of women in similar situations as Hallie who finally decide to fix their teeth after many years of wishing for it. Whether they never wore their retainers after having braces before or their teeth are starting to shift, it’s very common for women to connect their smile with confidence. It’s amazing how good they feel as soon as they make the decision to do something about it. We have the ability to see what Hallie’s smile is going to look like, due to technological advances in orthodontics and I can’t wait for Hallie to see the final result of her Invisalign treatment. 



We’ll be connecting with Hallie again next year, once she’s completed her Invisalign treatment, to hear her thoughts on the full experience, and find out more about how it has changed her (inner and outer) perception of herself!


This article was sponsored by Invisalign clear aligners, but all the opinions herein are those of the editorial board.