Have you noticed something different about me? No? Well, look closer because a few months ago I received some brand new front teeth.
My teeth had been bothering me for a while. It’s one of the parts of my body I’m least happy with. Here is what is wrong with them:
- There is a big gap between the upper and lower teeth
- They are too big for my mouth
- They are not straight
- They are not white
- They are very sensitive
- On top of that my front teeth are fake due to an accident in my teens
- The black of the crowns is clearly visible when I smile
Over the years I have been to many dentists in 5 different countries to see if I could solve any of these issues.
The most logical option would be braces of course, but time and time again I was advised that it was not possible for my teeth as there was just not enough space in my mouth. That would need to be created by surgery.
The oral surgeon
So I ended up consulting with an oral surgeon who recommended I had surgery as eventually my teeth would start to crack; there was too much pressure on my back molars. The procedure would take a lot of time and involve 3 (!) operations. What could be the risks of these procedure, I asked. Well, you could die, he said only half in gest. I decided against it.
Whitening my too visible portruding teeth was not an option either as I have 2 crowns for my front teeth due to a childhood accident. If I bleeched the other teeth, my front teeth would still be yellow and stand out more, which would look awful.
Then I found out about Invisalign through blogging. That sounded interesting. Perhaps that could solve my issues? Invisalign is a proprietary method of orthodontic treatment which uses a series of clear, removable teeth aligners used as an alternative to traditional metal dental braces. The method is less intrusive, is barely visible and required no surgery.
I consulted a local dentist, had photos taken etc, and was advised that yes, Invisalign may be able to solve some of the issues, but it would be very difficult. Since I already had sensitive teeth it may aggravate the issue even more. It would also be lengthy process (perhaps even 3 years) and final results would not be dramatic. It all seemed too much risk and effort. So I decided against that too.
What I could do though was change my crowns. They had been in my mouth for more than 25 years and although still healthy, they really were not looking all that good. I would also be able to whiten my teeth and the crowns would be thinner which would make my front teeth stand out less. I would also get rid of the black borders that were clearly visible. Again I got mixed recommendations. Some dentists thought this would be easy to do, others saw problems and told me I needed a root canal.
So what to do? Did I really need to do it? There was really nothing wrong with the crowns per se. I would mainly be doing it for cosmetic reasons. Was it really worth all the hassle and money? In the end I decided that it was, as I had been complaining about this issue for years. I always thought that ‘it wasn’t worth all the hassle, but if you keep coming back to an issue that annoys you every day, then maybe it just is.
In the end I ended up with a dentist that made the most sense to me. He gave me a clear cost estimate of the worst case scenario (where I needed a new pole and a root canal treatment) and a best case scenario plan, which he considered more likely.
I would first need to whiten my teeth to determine how white they would go. I used the recommended Whiter Image take-home whitening system, which was pretty straightforward to use. First, the dentist creates a mould of your teeth which you then fill up with the fluid and hold on your teeth for 45 min to an hour each day. My molar teeth did become very sensitive with this treatment, so I mainly used it for the front teeth that you could clearly see.
When I was happy with the color of my teeth (they couldn’t really get any whiter) the old crowns were removed. Fortunately everything underneath looked ok, so the best case scenario could be applied and the whole procedure was very straight forward and I got them replaced in 3 sessions. Although unpleasant (as dentist visits always are) he got the job done quickly and efficiently.
So there you go: my new teeth!
In the end I’m very happy I had it done. Although my teeth will never be perfect, they are looking much better now and I can smile with more confidence! Please note that I had this procedure done before my holiday so all the photos of the last few months included my new teeth.
How to find a good dentist and the right procedure for you?
My experience with dentists is that you get a different opinion from each one. I have seen quite a few over the last 10 years in various countries and they all give different advice. Often they have advised me to do something and as a result I ended up with (worse and) more sensitive teeth. My advice is to shop around when you want something major done and get various opinions. Then use your own judgement to determine what is right for you. Believe me, the specialists are not always right and no-one knows your body and sensitivities as well as you do!
How do you look after your teeth?
How about you? Have you had issues with your teeth after 40 and how do you look after them? It would be great to hear about your experiences with procedures as well.
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