update: interviewing while missing several front teeth

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. 

Remember the letter-writer in 2018 who had to interview while missing several front teeth because he was in the middle of extensive dental work? (#2 at the link) Here’s the update.

In January 2018, you replied to my question about interviewing while in the middle of major dental work. You advised me to address the issue casually and move on with the interview. At the time I was working part time at a retail store, but when I got promoted to full time, the way they determined eligibility for benefits was so screwy that I was full time for over a year before leaving without earning any benefits.

When the store blindsided me with cutting my hours a few months ago, I started looking more earnestly for another, more stable job. I was back where I started: interviewing with missing teeth. After a frustrating search (including a staffing agency that interviewed me by phone twice, said they would put my resume in for a job, and never called me again, and another application process where a chat bot asked for your information and resume details piece by piece… what?? This is a thing??), I then revamped my resume by your advice.

The very next place I applied, with my new resume, was an office at which I had unsuccessfully interviewed two years before, and they called me for an interview. I have to say I did not follow your advice about my teeth. I was too embarassed still to actively bring attention to it. I made sure the rest of my grooming was on point: neat hair, polished dress boots, and a tie that one of my interviewers complimented me on! I just crossed my fingers that everything else would outweigh my dental state. I also pored over your advice on interviewing in general.

During the interview process, I emailed you again, this time about thank you notes, as I would be interviewing with four people in three separate interviews. In a private response, you advised me to write individual notes and don’t go over the top in an attempt to be memorable. But I was offered the position only an hour and a half after leaving my interview with the C-level!

The best news, to follow up on my original letter, is that uncommonly good benefits, including dental, start after 30 days of employment. And the culture here is also so positive that no one has said a word about my teeth.

Thank you again for all your advice that has helped me land a job in a positive place I am already thriving in!

{ 43 comments… read them below }

  1. Frank T*

    Hate to be the bearer of bad news but almost all dental plans have what’s called a missing tooth exclusion. I was in the middle of an extraction and implant process when I switched jobs and learned this the hard way. They didn’t pay one dime for the implant.

    1. OP*

      I’m not holding my breath for it to cover a brand new mouth immediately, but it will at least cover the partial false teeth I need so I can have a complete smile while I save up.

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        Yes! If you can, at least get a denture in the mean time.

        Full implants are obscenely expensive (ask me how I know), understandably but worth the cost IMO even paying out of pocket.

        Having a denture in the interim however does wonders for one’s self-confidence!

        Congrats on the job. Go you!!!!

        1. Free now (and forever)*

          You’re right about the expense. My 89-year-old father has 18 implants! He got them over the course of about 12 years. But, as a consequence of having implants, rather than dentures, he has no bone loss and his jaw looks the same as it did 30 years ago. One way he reduced the costs of his was to have a number of them done at our state university dental school.

      2. Lady Catherine de Bourgh*

        I’m sure you’ve already considered this but if not, look into going abroad for dental care. My husband had 4 implants done in Colombia and they did amazing work at a fraction of the cost. Even with the travel expenses, it came out to much, much less. I have a friend who goes to Mexico for this too. Just something to think about!

        1. OP*

          A good friend is actually setting up a trip next month for exactly this. I am so glad he will get done what he needs done, but infuriated that the state of healthcare in this country drives people to do this.

        2. Clisby*

          Someone I know did exactly this – in Costa Rica. She was very pleased with the results, and said she saved a fortune. (As a bonus, she liked Costa Rica.)

        3. Yorick*

          I know someone from Mexico who gets dental work done when he’s there. But once or twice they’ve done things poorly and he had to get them fixed after coming back home to the US.

      3. Assistant Manager*

        I have a dental implant that I got from a local dental school. The process did take a long time, but the implant itself was free (long story short, I qualified for a study) and I only had to pay for the crown. That might be an option for you!

  2. OP*

    Thank you for all your advice and for posting my update, and thank you to all the helpful commenters too

    (I do want to clarify briefly that I’m a he.)

        1. BookishMiss*

          OP, check out Dentemax/Dental Solutions for help with the cost of your dental work. My email is in my username if you have questions =)

    1. RC Rascal*

      OP— a very similar thing happened to me. I had to have my bite reset & pallet expanded to fit in a congenitally missing incisor that was identified as root cause of my TMJ. Before we could place the implant I got laid off & was stuck interviewing w out a front tooth. For me it turned out we weren’t able to do the implant— not enough room. I ended up with a Cantilevered Bridge. I handled the situation a lot like you—- dressed well, acted professionally & like it was NBD.

  3. Shady Lady*

    I actually broke a front tooth not so long ago, lack the means to have it fixed, and am also in the middle of a job search. Seeing this gives me at least a little hope.

  4. JediSquirrel*

    I’m so happy you’ve found a good place to work, OP! As someone who also has dental issues (mostly not visible, although I tend to chew food like a dog), this gives me cheer and hope!

    1. OP*

      I just want to say that your profile name and pic just reminded me of how I photoshopped lightsabers into a pic of flying squirrels in flight over 15 years ago and the thought of it still makes cry laughing to this day.

  5. Michel*

    You can get a partial denture at a dental school. Not the fastest, but cheaper than private. I’d also call around and see if dentist will give you a deal based on paying cash. I have had a partial denture for years, it works fine.

  6. Elenna*

    Glad things worked out for you!

    All the places I applied to recently asked for resume details to be typed in piecemeal into their own system (I guess so it would be in the same format for everyone??) but using a chatbot to do it is an extra level of ridiculous.

  7. selena81*

    That’s great news, i know how much a missing smile can influence both your self-esteem and the way others see you.

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