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La · Vie · Belle · in · Manhattan


A toothsome update

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Veneers. Where to begin? My dentist finally removed the plastic "strip of tooth," and after giving me enough anesthetic to comfortably deliver a baby, proceeded to apply the permanent veneers. The process was faster than I expected, and the veneers, while slightly wider than my own, matched the rest of my teeth perfectly in color and texture. One of the incisors bulged a tiny bit, but I think this was because my own tooth was shaped that way, and my dentist didn't want to remove too much tooth structure. Basically, the teeth looked natural; like they had always been hanging in there. Of course, I wanted to faint when I saw the bill (The veneers cost slightly more than a semester at public college. Paying out of state tuition), but I loved the veneers.

And then, of course, the problems started. What would life, or dentistry, be, without problems? Four days after I got the permanent veneers, I woke up in the morning to find that one of the incisors had cracked, and half the veneer had come off. This happened twice. I was able to save the broken bit, but my dentist wasn't in that day to fix it. Fortunately, the broken spot wasn't too noticable unless you looked at my teeth from an angle, but I was still freaking out about the cost. I knew I shouldn't have to pay to fix it, but I am historically very bad at being assertive, and I didn't think the fault was with my dentist. Porcelain veneers are made in a lab, and all she could do was affix the veneers she was sent. Herein was the biggest problem. The lab offered to make me a new veneer, but to do it, the entire old one would have to be drilled off. Then a new plaster impression would be made of the tooth, and I would be fitted with a new temporary plastic veneer. (Just one, this time. Not a strip of tooth.) In two weeks, assuming the plastic thing hadn't fallen off by then, I would be fitted with the new permanent veneer. All this takes hours of office time, and requires being anesthetized twice. Unless, of course, I tell my dentist to fuck the anesthesia. It couldn't be that painful, could it?

My dentist was very apologetic, but she seems to be at a loss as to what caused the veneer to break so soon. One possibility is that I have bruxism, which means I clench or grind my teeth in my sleep. If this is the case, though, why didn't she tell me sooner, so I could have a mouth guard made? If I had known, it might have effected my decision to get the veneers, as I'm not sure I want to wear a piece of plastic in my mouth at night for the forseeable future. But I suppose it's better than having the veneers continue to break.

So, bottom line: I love the way they look, and I feel a lot more confident about my smile. I'm probably vain enough, although not rich enough, to admit that I would do it again if I had to. I am concerned about future problems, though, and who will pay for them if they arise. I think braces or invisalign, although they take much longer, might be a better option for most people. However, they would not have fixed my spacing issues, and they are much more painful than veneers, which are basically pain free, excepting the small pinch from the anesthesia. They look awesome, and perfectly natural. Better than my real teeth. If they stay put, it'll be a small miracle.
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