Long story short, it resulted in years of orthodontics - my teeth never have looked right since. All through my elementary, junior high and high school years - I had a terrible smile. My front teeth were so jacked up that it really did cause people to look differently at me. When I was small it was 'cute' in the way that kids are with missing teeth. As I grew older, I was thankful for my metal braces because it covered up the fact that my teeth looked so bad in the front. When I was 17, the braces came off and I got a bridge in the front. I was SO happy because it was the first time I had decent looking teeth in the front. It was such a nice change that I didn't realize that the new bridge still looked horrible. It was not aligned right with my other teeth because of the misplacement of the teeth they were anchored to. They were acceptable but made my smile a little crooked and people just thought that my teeth 'could use some work' - not realizing how far they had come from when I was a child. Eventually I realized "oh geez, you're not done with fixing your teeth."
Since the 3 teeth are in the front of my mouth, I've been super fearful and anxious about getting my teeth fixed. I always assumed I would need a new bridge. I've had recurring nightmares about my teeth falling out in the middle of meetings at work or while kissing my husband. With every dream I think to myself that it is a sign that my teeth actually will fall out in the near future and I need to get them fixed.
As I researched the replacement of my bridge on RealSelf, I learned about dental implants. It seems like a permanent solution that was what I needed. And the before and after pictures I've seen are AMAZING. Every time I look at them, I gain more confidence to get my teeth done.
So I've consulted with 3 different doctors. I wanted to be sure I was getting the right facts. Each doctor had a little different style and gave me similar info. All 3 were a little perplexed at my situation at first (due to the placement of my natural teeth that are connected to my bridge) and each gave me different quotes. I didn't want to make my decision purely on the cost, but it definitely was a factor. I am extremely worried about the year long process to get the dental implants (I don't qualify for the one-day procedure) because I'm worried about having no teeth for so long. It makes me sweat with nervousness just thinking about it.
All 3 dentists reassured me that the flipper I would have would allow my missing teeth to go undetected and my speech will be minimally impaired, if at all. I pray they are right. I would be devastated if anyone saw me with no teeth in the front. I'm not vain, but c'mon - who wants to be seen with no teeth?
I've chosen the last doctor I consulted with about the implants. Yes, cost was one issue. But honestly, I had made up my mind before he gave me the quote. He was patient with me and my questions and most importantly, he had great reviews online. The 2nd doctor had zero reviews and I felt really uncomfortable that I couldn't find any info on him. The first doctor I didn't like -- I felt he was more concerned about upselling me than fixing my teeth.
So the first step of removing my current bridge and getting the bone graft done will be done on 12/31/13. Happy New Year, right? I'm so so so nervous but excited that I'm finally going to do this. By the time this is all done, my 2 implants with a 3-tooth bridge/crown will most likely cost around $10k. It will take about 10 months. Crazy. But it has to be done.
I'll update after the first step and let everyone know if it's as scary as I am imagining it. Luckily the doctor I chose said he doesn't need to take bone from my chin like the other doctor did -- he said he will use a powder to create the new bone that I need. The 'flipper' will be available immediately after and I should be able to go to work within a few days. Did I mention I'm nervous? Wish me luck!