Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Mouthful of Trouble

I have probably spent more per square inch on my mouth than on any other part of my body. With 4 crowns, 2 root canals, more fillings than I can count, and 2 years of orthodontics, it’s pricy real estate.

Last year when the braces came off, I admired my perfect bite and thought I was done with the straightening part for good. I mean I vowed to wear my retainer every night for the rest of my life. Furthermore, I had a wire bonded to the back of my lower front 6 teeth. Those were my guarantees, right?

Well, not exactly. After a couple of months, 3 of my front bottom teeth starting with my eye tooth began to gradually sink. The orthodontist claimed never to have seen this happen. His solution was to cut some little things that tether the teeth to the bone and put the braces back on for another year. And guess what – no guarantee that this would work. I immediately said I wasn’t at all interested in this approach.

But meanwhile every day when I woke up and removed my retainer, my mouth felt off kilter because my teeth didn’t all come together. The balance of my mouth was simply thrown off by the sinking teeth, which also leaves a visible space on the right side of my mouth when I bite down. GROSS – after paying $5,000 for braces!

So today when I went in to see my fantastic dentist, Larry Bowers, about a potential crack in a molar, I mentioned the sinking phenomenon of my front teeth. With all his resourcefulness, he came up with a noninvasive correction which wouldn’t even involve Novocain. He is going to add bonding material to the 3 problem teeth and restore my bite. My teeth will once again all connect and they will still look like real teeth. Some will just be a little longer than they currently are.

The good news today is I may be able to fix the sensitivity problem with Sensodyne toothpaste instead of paying for a crown. Instead I will put that $1,000 into the experiment in bonding. But I have a mighty trust in my dentist. I’ll bet in a week my smile will once again look like the picture above (not really me)!


Blogger Richard said...

Bonding sounds like a better solution. I always prefer to avoid invasive, non-reversible solutions.

However, of greater concern to me is why the teeth sank in the first place and, more importantly, will they continue to sink?

I haven't heard of teeth sinking either.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Richard -- My dentist said the teeth would not go any further. In fact, these 3 pretty much reverted to their original level before the braces were put on. He also said that if I had worn the braces for another year, this probably would not have happened because the bone structure would have been stronger. I would not have liked to wear those braces for another day, let alone another year, even if it meant no teeth would ever shift!

1:01 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I'm impressed with your tenacity. I'm not sure how I would do if my teeth required much work. Or time. Or money. I don't even wear my bite guard, for which I paid quite a bit, because the thought of it increases my tension and propensity to clench. It's a vicious cycle.

I look forward to seeing your well-earned and lovely smile sometime soon.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- I'm not sure it's tenacity. But when you have invested 2 years of your adult life wearing braces, you want to hold onto the progress you've made!

I too look forward to seeing you sometime -- with or without a repaired smile!

1:46 PM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

Or you could always get a set of those bling teeth covers! I jest!

4:12 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

OL -- I don't know about teeth covers! Should I find out???

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I broke my two front teeth slipping in the bathtub first morning in Cyprus, I can attest to the bonding procedure! When I returned to the States, Dr. Blicher problem. An hour and half later he had bonded the top two teeth! At least I can smile now without looking like Dracula but the teeth moved when I broke them, so I am getting used to my new mouth. I asked him how long the procedure would last and he said jokingly "30 days or 30 meals." I did not find this funny, however. When a woman at work saw me "after" the procedure, she said "Oh I had my front tooth bonded 20 years ago." So..............if yours are not going to "sink" anymore, I say go for the bonding!

(once again posting as anony since as a beta blogger I cannot post here.)

4:56 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kate -- So sorry to hear about your accident in Cyprus. But I'm happy it was so easily fixed upon your return. What did you do there -- just keep your mouth closed at photo op times?

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



7:48 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Teeth! They're almost as problematic as hair!!! (Kidding but it sure seems like that!)

1:56 PM  
Blogger HeidiMonkey said...

I have a silly question, I have a new crown and I've been afraid to wear my retainer because it might somehow damange or pull the crown out, is that something that has ever happened to you?

11:32 PM  

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