Getting Porcelain Crowns / Veneers: My smile transformation
I have the world’s worst teeth. Like seriously bad. As in, I broke a front tooth on a peach. A peach!!
Because my teeth are prone to breaking and getting cavities, I’ve had a ton of work over the years; dental implants, bridges, fillings, root canals and crowns. Because of all the work I had done over the years, my teeth were a hodge podge of crowded crowns, broken and missing teeth.
I went around this way for at least 4 years because life….Couldn’t take time away from work, was busy with the kids, didn’t have the time…the money..you know..excuses.
But I hated the way I looked in pictures! Not only that, but because my teeth were missing, my other teeth shifted in that space and I ended up with misaligned, overlapping and crowded teeth.
In other words, a hot mess.
I hated my teeth so bad that I avoided smiling and when I did smile, I’d cover my mouth. I tried to figure out a way to smile in pictures without showing my teeth and I spent wasted energy figuring out how to angle my face so the side of my face without teeth wouldn’t show.
I went to a dentist for a consultation for porcelain veneers and he quoted me an extremely high, ridiculous amount. Like, so ridiculously high that he must have just not wanted to do the work. He also told me that veneers wouldn’t work because my teeth were so terrible. Veeners are thin shells that are placed over your permanent teeth. Veeners can fix a lot of cosmetic issues, but they won’t fix serious issues like I had. They also don’t do well if you have crumbly teeth like mine.
When he took x-rays, he discovered I had an abscess on one of my teeth in the upper top left. Which really sucked because I was missing the tooth both in front and behind that tooth. I went in for a consult on veneers and left with one less tooth, as in worse than how I came in.
Now I had no teeth on my upper top left and a quote that there was no way I could afford. That same dentist recommended that I get Invisalign braces before any crowns were put on, so I went for a consultation and thought maybe that would fix my issues: straightening and tooth whitening.
I went in for the consult, all went well. I scheduled a time to come back and get them made. Then I asked the simple question, “Will this move my teeth where there are implants?” The answer was a resounding “no”, which led me to have extreme concern because I already had two dental implants on either side of my mouth, and a metal post. If the braces wouldn’t move these teeth, what the heck was the point? The orthodontist agreed with me and said that actually braces wouldn’t help me!
What the heck?! They took x-rays. It’s not like any of them didn’t know that I had implants.
So I left his office with no braces and no further improvement on my teeth.
I was extremely discouraged. I knew I had to at least get dental implants where the teeth where I was missing teeth.
So I went to my normal dentist and got a referral to the endodontist for dental implants and just planned to get the crowns on those and deal with my horrible front teeth.
I had three empty spaces where teeth once sat, but I got two dental implants because one of the spaces was too close to my sinuses. The two dental implants would hold three teeth with a bridge.
If you’ve never had a dental implant, the process isn’t simple. You must first go for a consultation, then when you go for the appointment, they put you to sleep so you need someone to drive you and pick you up. Then you go for a follow up appointment weeks later. You have to wait six months to heal, then they go through the “uncovering”. During this process, they cut a hole in your gums where the metal implant sits, they uncover the head of the implant (which is basically a screw in your jaw), then they screw a healing cap on top of the screw.
Then you have to wait another two weeks, at least, go back for a follow up, then you are cleared to get a crown on the implant.
The crown process also takes time because you go to yet another dentist, get more x-rays, have impressions taken, then they send the impressions off to the lab, then finally about six weeks later, the dentist receives the porcelain crowns and they can be cemented on.
In May I had my dental implants done.
In October, I decided to give it one more shot and get a consult from a different dentist to see what could be done. I told the dentist all of my concerns, and he actually listened. He gave me a more reasonable quote, one in which was in line with industry standards. I decided to go for it. During the first consultation visit I had a blue mold taken of my teeth and lots of x-rays. However, I had to wait until my implants were 100% complete before I could do anything.
So again, I wait.
In December I had my follow up appointment to have the implants uncovered.
In January I had the temporary crowns put on.
This appointment took the longest amount of time. I was there for eight hours. The process began by “prepping” my teeth, which involved shaving down my permanent teeth. I had cavities in between every one of my teeth, the dentist said, so there was a ton of prep that had to be done. I had at least 20 shots of novocaine in my upper lip and gum line and not a drop of nitrous! I was really hoping the had nitrous or something to take the edge off, but not a drop!
I had to go to the bathroom in between all of this work, like several times because I must have had too much coffee. They told me not to look in the mirror because I would be horrified, but I have never been good at following directions.
I took a peek and then had to take a picture to share. It was horrifying! I’m hesitant to even share this picture because it’s so embarrassingly horrifying. But you should see what this looks like so you aren’t scared if you get this done and you peak in the mirror like me and see a freak show staring back.
They paint your teeth with a solution that smells like nail polish remover. They fill up a plastic tray with this purple goo stuff that looks like caulking material. They shove this tray into your mouth and I learned that I apparently have an excessively small mouth because they had to use a smaller tray and then had a hard time getting that in my mouth. After impressions, more x-rays. The dentist then makes temporary crowns so you don’t leave with little nubs for teeth while waiting for your permanents to come in. The temporaries looked great. They pretty much look how the permanent crowns will look. The only problem with my temporaries is that my dentist didn’t make temporaries for my missing back teeth, which meant I still had a visible gap in the back of my mouth when I smiled. I chose the color for my permanent teeth (second whitest b/c I wanted them super white, but not glow in the dark white).
I had to wait six whole weeks for my permanent crowns to arrive. The next available appointment was on February 22, my birthday! So I grabbed it. I didn’t exactly want to spend my 40th birthday at the dentist, but I also didn’t want to wait another day to get my permanent teeth on!
I arrive at noon on my birthday and the appointment is supposed to only take two hours. However, there were some issues getting the permanent crowns to fit. He had to shave down my teeth a bit more (yikes!!) see the pic below for the even scarier version of my little chiclets. Then he had to tweak every single crown before he cemented them into my mouth. Also, because I had a mixture of implants, natural teeth and posts, there were some challenges getting them all to fit. When the dentist went to put the permanent bridge on for the back teeth, it didn’t fit at all. It was way too high and wouldn’t set onto the abutment. He was going to send me along my way with just the healing caps on, but there was no way I was leaving that office without any of my back teeth! He said he would make temporaries for my back teeth and then have the lab make a new bridge. After four long hours of ~20 more shots, more shaving of teeth (and me sneaking a pic in the bathroom), cementing teeth, more painting of smelly nail polish like stuff and buffing, I was finally done.
I looked in the mirror and felt like all the years of waiting and pain was finally worth it. I’m really pleased with the results, even though I still have to go back in a few weeks to get my impressions redone for the bridge in the back.
What do you think?