Award Recognizes Life-Changing Impact of Orthodontic Treatment

Dentistry Today


Tatiana Williams of South Kensington in London is the recipient of the British Orthodontic Society’s 2019 Against the Odds Award, commemorating her bravery in the face of necessary and lifelong orthodontic challenges. 

When Williams was four years old, she was attacked by a dog and rushed to the hospital, where she underwent surgery for four and a half hours. Two more surgeries followed, along with 127 stitches on her face, leaving her scarred for life.

Williams also suffered from scratched and misaligned teeth and a peg tooth, making her conscious of her smile and drawing attention to the lower part of her face. At the age of 23, then, she sought treatment from Adil Mannan, BDS, MSc, of the Orthodontic Practice in Battersea.

“Before my first consultation with Dr. Mannan, I was apprehensive of having to wear braces for 18 to 24 months. Did I really want to draw attention to my biggest insecurity? His incredible vision and reassurance allowed me to place my trust in him and accept that this was the best thing to do,” Williams said. 

“The braces were fixed and, no doubt, I was more self-conscious than ever before. However, with every visit, Dr. Mannan’s continued motivation and genuine passion for helping me carried me through,” said Williams. 

Eighteen months later, the braces were removed. As part of a multidisciplinary approach, a dentist then fitted a veneer and whitened her teeth.

“I was not prepared for the overwhelming change this experience made me feel. I was shocked and in disbelief. Trying to get out of the habit of permanently using my hand to cover my mouth was the new challenge,” Williams said. 

“I allowed myself to finish a fit of laughter, not stopping halfway to cover my face. I spoke to people and was no longer afraid of opening my mouth too wide. I looked in the mirror and for the first time was not disheartened by my scars,” said Williams.

“We talked through Tatiana’s valid and understandable concerns and made sure she was involved at every stage of the treatment. I knew that orthodontics really could enhance Tatiana’s life,” said Mannan.

“It always amazes me that someone who had such early life trauma and has had to literally live with the scars is so well adjusted, cheerful, and full of joie de vivre,” said Mannan.

“It may seem like an insignificant change for some, but being able to see my whole face, not just fixate on the part that has caused me so much pain, is a feeling that I will always owe to Dr. Mannan. It took him vision to allow me to even consider braces,” said Williams.

“Without him, I do not think I would have found the courage to begin this treatment. Family and friends have commented on how my overall self-esteem and confidence has greatly improved,” said Williams.

“The Against the Odds competition continues to highlight the very best of our profession and the tremendous value that orthodontics has on people’s lives,” said Anshu Sood, BDS, chair of the British Orthodontic Society Orthodontic Specialists Group.

“A confident smile can change a person’s perception of themselves, their self-esteem, and their self-image,” Sood said. 

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