When Emily Pearson was is first grade, her classmates nicknamed her “beaver teeth,” because her front teeth stuck out poorly. Bravely, she would put on a smile each day and laugh with her friends, but she was deeply hurting inside.

“One day after school, I cried and told my mom all that happened,” Emily said. “I was bawling. That’s when my mom knew that I needed braces.”

At age seven, we put braces on Emily, and were very excited to play a part in her journey toward a more confident smile.

Surprisingly, her friends at school were curious about her braces and jealous that she had braces perfecting her teeth and they didn’t.

Emily saw positive changes in her smile quickly, and her confidence grew.

“Once I got them off in middle school, people thought my teeth were beautiful, “ she said. “I get compliments on my smile all the time.”

Last year, Emily was selected to be a 2015-16 American Heart Association Sweetheart from several local Oklahoma City high schools.

A Sweetheart is a sophomore selected from several area high schools to participate in a program that emphasizes good heart health and advocacy for heart disease issues. Educational and community service activities occur during the school year, and although the program is intended to be fun, it is designed to groom future heart health advocates.

The sweethearts are presented each year to the community at the annual Oklahoma City Heart Ball.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity to help out the community,” Emily said. “Also, I wanted to bring up my confidence by doing things I was a little afraid of.”

With her newfound confidence and beautiful smile to match, Emily wants to encourage other kids starting their orthodontic treatment.

“In the end your teeth will look wonderful and you will feel more confident. I’d say just stick to it and the end result will surprise you,” she said. “The people at Orthodontics Associates care for you and want to make you look your best.”

After high school, Emily plans to attend college and possibly major in photography. She is still figuring out what she wants to do, and until then enjoying her confident, beautiful smile.