My entire life I’ve dealt with imperfect teeth. It’s been the number one thing I have been self conscious about for as long as I can remember. It was something I would think about when talking to other people (are they looking at my teeth?!), and the reason I mastered the closed-mouth smile. Even making videos was a challenge sometimes because I was worried of being criticized or my imperfections pointed out for everyone to see. Was the lighting okay? Did it make them stand out more?
Eventually, I stopped caring and published them anyways. I knew of my flaws and knew that one day they would be fixed and I would be happy with them… so I held onto that thought to boost my confidence.
It took a long ass time to get here, but I finally mustered the courage to go through the process of solving my dental woes, and am excited to be able to share my smile with you once and for all!
First, some history.
I was born with bad teeth. Okay, technically I know we aren’t “born with teeth”, but basically ever since I had teeth they have had problems. When I was a wee one, my dentist was a pediatric specialist dentist and I remember having all of these rules printed out on a sheet of things I could and couldn’t eat, and a special gross tasting pink fluoride that I had to brush with after already brushing my teeth. Don’t get me wrong here, I have always taken amazing care of my mouth and have never skipped a brushing. My teeth are just prone to issues.
I have a condition called fluorosis and was also born with very little (if not no) enamel on my teeth. The caused many issues with the overall appearance and landed me in the dental chair more times than I can count. When I was about 10 years old or so, I had composite veneers put on 4 of my front teeth to hide the discolouration.
As I grew up, my teeth shifted a bit. Back then, I wasn’t a candidate for braces because of the other issues happening on my teeth. Thinking back, I wish they would have just given me braces anyways.
In my early 20’s, I started getting my wisdom teeth which also shifted all of them around again. I saw an orthodontist to see what could be done. I was there for about 2 hours, feeling like a science experiment, while the dentist debated over what to do about straightening them. Invisalign was out at this time now and I had asked about that option. He showed me some 3D model of my teeth and explained that Invisalign simply wouldn’t work for me. Bummer. He said he could do braces, but they would be the ugly metal kind and would need to be on for 2-3 years. In my early 20’s, that didn’t sound like the greatest idea ever and I kind of left the office disappointed and upset with my mouth.
It had been in my mind ever since then to get them fixed while avoiding the braces situation. Unfortunately, when my anxiety crept in it slowed everything down and due to a panic attack I had experienced in a dental chair, dentists soon became one of my panic triggers.
My composite veneers were wearing off (as they do… They last about 10-15 years) and were looking pretty horrible. I desperately needed to have them redone and was hoping to straighten them up in the process.
Three years ago, Dustin took me to the local dentist in our town and I had a full exam. I was nervous as shit but in the end I got a quote for redoing the teeth and felt confident that she would be able to help me. It was nice to feel some hope from a dentist for once.
Once again, anxiety held me back. I think I thought about making the appointment to have the process done pretty much every single day since then. I tried to manage my panic and get the guts to call and make that appointment. It just never happened. I wasn’t ready yet.
A couple of months ago, I finally got that courage. It was that point of “now or never” in my life that pushed me to do it. Since it had been 3 years since I was last there, they needed to do a new exam and cleaning. I made the first appointment and made it out alive. She reviewed my teeth again and made notes and we talked about what she could do. She could remove the current composite veneers and replace them with new ones, and straighten them out a little in the process. She told me they wouldn’t be absolutely perfect, but it sounded good enough to me. To make them absolutely perfect, I would need an actual porcelain veneer on one of my front teeth. I didn’t want to have to prolong the process anymore so told her the composites would be fine.
For those who don’t know, a composite veneer is a less expensive alternative to porcelain veneers. With a porcelain one, they need to file down your tooth almost to a stump and then have a “tooth” created, and then bond it to your stump. So it’s like a brand new tooth. Composite veneers don’t require all of that work and can be done in one pretty quick sitting. They sand the surface of your tooth down a little, and use a bonding agent to stick a composite material on the front of your tooth. It’s then shaped and polished.
SO…. After that appointment I needed a cleaning since I hadn’t had one in like 10 years. I did that a couple of days later and felt pretty proud of myself because before the dental assistant started the cleaning, the dentist came in and checked my mouth and thought she had already finished. Awesome! Gold star for me on the cleaning front. I suppose I clean so well because I hate going to the dentist, haha.
Finally we made that big appointment. It would happen a month later but I was actually getting excited. Obviously I was nervous and anxious at the same time, but it was now or never, like I said! It would take about 2 hours she said (which I was not looking forward to) but I knew that afterwards I would be a new girl.
The day came. I had seen my doctor the month prior so was on meds now which made it easier. I took an Ativan before I left. The process was easy and painless. I was actually somewhat enjoying it and thought at some point I might fall asleep. Probably the meds talking, but still, that was like a breakthrough! She let me choose the colour I wanted, which was whiter than the previous version I had and matched my other teeth well. She added some extra material to the teeth that were pushed back in order to bring them forward and straighten them out more, and when I was finished I was so excited to see them.
They were new and shiny and white and I was so happy! It’s crazy how one change can boost your overall confidence. I am so happy that I finally decided to do the one thing that has been on my mind for so many years. They might not be absolutely perfect but really, who’s teeth are without dental work? I’m still not a fan of my big fang but she wouldn’t touch it because she said it was normal. It adds character I guess?! Anyways, I am finally able to smile, and that is something everyone should be able to do 🙂
I can’t believe I’m posting this but… Here is my before/after shot. The before shows the old composite veneers have pretty much worn off, are discoloured, and just gross. My wonky front tooth looks 100x better now as well 🙂
After all of that and how nervous I was for the “big day”… I would totally do it all over again in a heartbeat. When I am scared, I always think of something one of my blog readers commented a long time ago: “just remember, it’s just ONE day. ONE day of your life, and then it’s over. You can manage to be uncomfortable for ONE day.” In this case, it was only 2 hours, and so worth it.