Shannon Heiner’s Braces Story

Monday, March 18, 2024, seemed like any other Monday at Hughes Orthodontics, but we had a special guest, Shannon, who is a junior in high school and is currently taking a dental assisting class at WEPO. We gladly encourage students that want to learn more about dentistry and orthodontics to shadow us, but this was different. Shannon was a past patient of ours who wrote a story about the impact braces and a beautiful smile had on her life. 

With her permission, we’re pleased to share some of her words here with you:

“My Braces Story” by Shannon H. 

“Before I got braces, I was bullied, and my crowded teeth were one of my biggest insecurities. I was called “Vampire” and “You’ve got the ugliest smile I’ve ever seen.” I remember looking in the mirror and not liking what I saw. I tried not to smile, laugh, or eat unless I really had to. The day I got my braces at Hughes Orthodontics, I remember being anxious about what my classmates would say, but what I discovered was most middle school kids have braces, so I was now normal. 

One thing you must know is fixing someone’s smile doesn’t just fix them physically but emotionally. We smile as a way of expressing happiness and joy and without that, how are we supposed to see or feel it? For me orthodontic treatment has helped me physically and emotionally. Having braces has really changed my life!”



Shannon’s grandfather, Dr. Larry Heiner, was a prominent general dentist in the Mt. Vernon area from 1970’s – 1990’s. He was great friends with Dr. Justin’s grandfather, Dr. Herb Hughes Sr. They had numerous common patients and even went on vacations together. Fast forward, Dr. Hughes Jr. treated Shannon’s father as well as Shannon. 

Now, Shannon is looking to pursue a career in dentistry and to continue in her grandfather’s footsteps. As a family of orthodontists that have served our community since 1958, we’re thrilled to see another family tradition in the making! 

Posted in