Kansas City dentist brings smiles, tears of joy on Netflix’s ‘Queer Eye’

Makeover: From left, Netflix’s “Queer Eye” fashion expert Tan France, Mary Jones, Dr. Holli Careswell and grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness pose for a photo during an August 2018 filming of the reality TV show.

Kansas City, Mo. — Deborah and Mary Jones, sisters and owners of Kansas City’s Jones Bar-B-Q, love to joke around and laugh. That was obvious from the first moments the duo was featured on  the third season of Netflix’s “Queer Eye.”

It was also obvious that when Mary, aka “Shorty,” laughed or smiled, her hand almost instinctively went to her face.

“I noticed, the first day, you kept covering your mouth when you laughed and smiled,” said Tan France, a fashion expert on the Emmy-award winning reality series which involves a team performing a makeover on matters of fashion, style, personal grooming, interior design and culture. Mary is missing a front tooth that resulted from a childhood bicycle injury.

“Queer Eye” is known for its ability to bring viewers both laughter and tears, and this particular episode reached its emotional peak inside a place familiar to ADA members: the dental office, thanks to the work of Dr. Holli Careswell and her team.

“For me, it was just overwhelming,” Dr. Careswell told ADA News. “I just knew it would make such a big difference in her life.”

After replacing Mary’s missing tooth and getting rid of a gold tooth, Dr. Careswell held up a mirror to Mary.

“No more hiding. Are you ready to see?” Dr. Careswell said to Mary in the episode. “Let’s take a look at your new smile.”

Tears immediately start forming in Mary’s eyes. At first, she was speechless; her hand went up to her face, not to cover her smile but to hold back her emotions. She managed to turn to Dr. Careswell, Tan and grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness, and simply said, “Thank you.”

As soon as those words came out, emotions burst and the tears began to flow.

“I can smile again,” Mary said.

“Girl, you look amazing. Are you obsessed?” Jonathan said. “Look at that smile.”

That scene was not only an emotional moment for Dr. Careswell and her patient. To her, it was also a good moment for dentistry.

“I’m just thrilled to show how dentistry can have an impact a person’s self-confidence and how they project themselves to others,” she said. “This is something, as dentists, we do on a daily basis.”

Dr. Careswell said the show first reached out to her in July 2018 through the Kansas City Film Office. They filmed the episode a few weeks later. It was her first dental segment on a television show.

Before filming, Dr. Careswell said she had a chance to sit down with Mary to create a treatment plan. Mary is now a regular patient of Dr. Careswell’s.

“The film crew were phenomenal,” Dr. Careswell said. “They were respectful to what Mary needed and her dental fears. They did everything to make her feel comfortable.”

The response from Dr. Careswell’s family, friends, patients and dental community has been very positive.

“Especially from the dental professionals,” she said. “They’re appreciative that this show put the impact of dentistry in the forefront for millions of viewers.”

Along with a new smile, Mary and her sister received help with their business in the episode. The Fab Five helped them get their barbecue sauce bottled for retail, and interior designer Bobby Berk turned their barbecue stand from a no-frills shack into a stunning and functional restaurant.

Dr. Careswell said she has yet to visit Jones B-B-Q but she hopes to go soon. The Jones sisters have sent her and her staff bottles of their barbecue sauce.

“And it’s really, really good,” she said, adding that the sisters planned to cater the dental office. “But obviously, they’re a little busy right now with their business.”
Dr. Careswell said she hopes the show releases some clips that didn’t air on the episode.

“They were hilarious, fun and they were awesome with Mary,” Dr. Careswell said. “They were just like you see on T.V.”

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