LOVE my Smile - Dallas, TX
I grew up in the era before we understood that...
- 28 Jun 2011
I grew up in the era before we understood that taking tetracycline when young could stain the teeth. My tetracycline staining was pronounced. I had green/gray teeth. Like most people who are uncomfortable with their smile, I hid it with my hand, refused to smile in pictures, and was very self-conscious. Throughout my school years, people would comment on my teeth. When I was in the 3rd grade my teacher called me out in class and told my classmates that their teeth could look like mine if they didn't brush. Imagine the humiliation! In high school I heard a boy comment that I was cute except for my teeth. When I was in college I had a part-time job. A male patron once asked what my father did and then commented that he could afford to fix my teeth.
In the early 80s I had composite material bonded to the top of my teeth. At that time porcelain veneers were new and since I was just out of college, they were too expensive for me. In the 90s I had the composite removed and porcelain veneers put on. Right after they were done I traveled to Australia, and a female shopkeeper who was assisting me said, "This might sound strange but I just have to comment on your teeth. They are so beautiful."
I went back to my hotel with tears of joy in my eyes. After all the rude remarks and comments I received early in life, my heart just soared.
It's been around 13 years since I had the porcelain veneers put on (8 on the top and 8 on the bottom), and they still look great. They cost $15,000 at the time, but the value I get from them...everyday, every waking hour, every smile...is incredible. One thing I am happy about is porcelain shade I chose. I wanted one that looks natural and not glow in the dark neon white. This has been especially helpful as I age. I'm in my 50s now and the shade of my teeth looks good on me. Veneers don't last forever, but with proper care they can last a very long time. I'm glad I chose a chose a porcelain shade that has stood the test of time.
I would encourage anyone thinking about getting porcelain veneers to do it if it fits into their budget. Make sure you find a dentist who does a lot of cosmetic work and who can show you before and after portfolio of their own work (not stock photos!). It's an investment, so do your homework and don't fall for flashy advertising. It's all about experience, advanced training in cosmetic dentistry (e.g. LVI), and skill. A general dentist can call him or herself a cosmetic dentist because there's no specialty. Also, the lab that makes the porcelain veneers is as important as the dentist, so ask your dentist about the lab he or she uses.
You want to find a Dr. who listens to what you want and then helps step you through the decision-making process. How long should your teeth be? How wide? What shade of porcelain should you choose? Will your teeth fit your facial structure and personality. I found a cosmetic dentist who was experienced, who listened to my concerns/goals, who took her time during the consultation, and who had a keen sense of artistry and strove for perfection.