Sophie Ramirez wished she'd never picked dental hygiene. She was the worst student in her school's program by far, and caring for her own oral health had never been much of a priority for her. She could tell she was the class laughingstock, even if her classmates were polite to her face.
She definitely stood out, her bleach blonde hair, perfect makeup, and all-pink wardrobe stood in sharp contrast to her more homely classmates, even if she didn't have the grades to match. Still, it was quite humiliating to be used as a demonstration whenever she had a cavity, or was desperately in need of a cleaning.
It was no surprise when her teacher, Dr. Woods, called her into her office after class.
"Ms. Ramirez, I'm afraid I have some bad news. At the rate you're currently going, it's extremely unlikely for you to graduate with the rest of your class."
Sophie groaned. She saw this a mile away, but she still didn't want to hear it.
Dr. Woods continued. "However, as luck would have it, you may have an opportunity to save your grade this semester. I've been contacted by a colleague of mine looking for participants in a study she'll be conducting, and I believe you would be a perfect candidate."
Sophie raised an eyebrow. "Wait, what kind of study?"
Dr. Woods smiled. "My colleague and her partner are both quite talented orthodontists. I've received treatment from them before and was quite happy with the results. She's looking for young women within your age range, so I sent over some of your x-rays and explained your situation, and she said you were an ideal specimen!"
That didn't quite answer Sophie's question, but the fact that the colleague was an orthodontist seemed to be a clue. Sophie's childhood dentist had recommended braces, but she rejected them at the time, and her family wasn't in a financial position to push the issue. Still, Dr. Woods had quite a stunning smile, it always struck Sophie as almost unnaturally perfect. She wasn't too proud of her own teeth after all...
"How long is the study supposed to last?" Sophie asked, weighing her options in her head.
"Hard to say, she hasn't shared too many details with me yet. The length should be dependent on your compliance with the procedures, however. Regardless, your treatment will be free of charge, and the extra credit should be enough to ensure you a spot in this year's graduation."
Sophie bit her lip. "Do I really have a choice?"
Dr. Woods smirked. "Unless you become a straight-A student starting this week, I'm afraid not. She has a spot open for you tomorrow at 5, right after class. Her office isn't too far from here. Here's her card..."
She slid a pink business card over to Sophie. It was quite professional looking, aside from a drawing of a smiling cartoon tooth wearing headgear. It read:
Dr. Flossie Park, DDS
Whites Experimental Dentistry
9300 Ivory Ave