Finally Took the Plunge at 50 for a Smile Makeover with 8 Veneers on Top Teeth - Farmington, MI

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I have always had very straight teeth but had...

I have always had very straight teeth but had spaces between the top ones. I wore braces for 4 years in grade school and ended up with a great result. Even as a young girl, my front upper teeth were on the short side. As I got into teenage years, I started grinding and clenching my teeth at night time. All the years of doing that wrecked havoc on my top teeth, turning them into small, short squares. My teeth were still pretty because they were very white and very straight, but very very short. I was also noticing roughness one the bottoms of my front 4 teeth, like they were wearing away. I had my dentist try to smooth them but he couldn't do to much because I would lose more precious length if he filed them down too much. It drove me crazy every time I ran my tongue under my front teeth because it felt rough. That's what started the veneer route. Other than my teeth being short, they are fine in every other way, so I just wanted to regain all the length I had lost over the years from grinding and clenching as a young adult. the veneer process is a long one (and expensive) so for those interested, be prepared! I had my impression done on my teeth in August of 2015. That is sent in to the lab (my dentist uses a outside top of the line ceramist lab for all veneers and crowns). It takes between 4-6 weeks to get the impression back. During the impression appointment, my dentist and I went through the shapes of each tooth that the veneers would be and the color. We also decided on the length of each tooth. Of course he has the expert eye so I trusted his judgment on the lengths. All my front teeth were pretty much the same length, which looked strange. My 2 front teeth were 8mm and my final result with veneers is 11mm so it is quite a difference! He sends all the info to the lab with my impression and from there, they add the length and shape that the dentist and I have decided on, also making sure that my bite won't be affected. 5 weeks later I was at the dentist looking at the temporary teeth that the lab made to make sure I like the color and shape. I did, so my dentist made my temporary teeth from the mold the lab sent. This appointment is considered "prepping the teeth" for permanent veneers. It was a 5 hour appointment and exhausting!! I had what's called minimal prep, which means my dentist was super conservative with removing minimal enamel from my teeth. Even with minimal prep, there is no going back because he had to score a little bit from the bottom of my teeth and in between them as well. This would not be the time to change your mind because your teeth won't ever look the same once the prep starts. I was fortunate that my teeth are very straight and in good health to begin with so that I didn't have to have much of my enamel removed, which was important to me. Veneers don't last a lifetime, so I want to know that I still have a lot of enamel left on my teeth in case it needs to be done again 20 or some years from now. I wore the temporary teeth for 1 week to decide if I wanted to make any changes to shape and length. This was the worst part of the whole experience! My dentist didn't warn me for how horrible the temporaries would feel in the mouth. First off, the top 8 teeth are all one piece, meaning they are not separate teeth (like real teeth), but more like a mouth protector that a football player wears, only it is shaped like teeth. Since there are no spaces between the teeth, I was lisping, couldn't say certain letters at all, and felt like my tongue couldn't navigate around these big plastic fake like teeth. At first I thought my teeth were too long because I was having trouble talking, but that was mostly from them being one piece. Also they can break and chip super easy, so no biting down on anything even slightly crunchy! I broke a big piece off eating a small piece of bread.... My dentist fit me in right away to repair the chip of the temporary since I looked hideous with it being my front tooth. My dentist had warned me that most people chip off part of the temporary at some point so I was expecting it to happen. Don't go out of town during this time frame with temporaries in because most likely you will need to get to your dentist for a repair. I decided I liked the shape and length so he put the order in for the lab, which can take between 2-4 weeks to get the permanent veneers made. Mine took 2 weeks since the lab had a lot of orders at that time. I had to wear the temporaries for a total of 3 1/2 weeks. The appointment for my permanents took another 4 hours but was not as brutal as the prepping appointment. The temporaries come off pretty easy and then there's a lot of cleaning off any remaining adhesive. The fitting of each tooth is a long process but the dentist needs to make sure each tooth is perfectly positioned. He puts a slight adhesive to fit all the teeth then had me look at them to make sure I liked them or,if any changes needed to be made before he put the final adhesive on with the heat tool. Surprisingly my gum line was not sore after this appointment, but I was given a script for 600 mg Motrin just in case. It took me a few months to get used to the permanents and I Have to say, I didn't love them at first. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't liking them since they were the shape I wanted and the color matched perfectly to my bottom teeth. I finally figured out it was because they looked strange at the gum line because it takes a while for the gum line to come back down in between each tooth. My gum line was still retracted upwards pretty high from all the trauma and It gave me the appearance of black triangles at the gum line between each tooth. I expressed my concern to my dentist and he told me it sometimes takes up to a year for the gums to come back to where they were. He said to give it time, but if at that time I still had that issue, that he would be happy to have the lab redo my permanents at no cost to me. I have noticed over he last few months hat the black triangles have filled in with my gum tissue so I think It will end up getting better and better as time goes by. I would not want to go through the process again so I am willing to give it time.
One more piece of information; I had a choice of using a good ceramic lab or the 'best one' and I picked the best one. The good lab charges $1,000 per tooth and the best lab charges $1,200 per tooth. My dentist feels that the better of the 2 labs has higher quality technicians making the teeth but he left the decision up to me. Because I want to protect my veneers, I had a new night time mouth guard made, and that was $500 from my dentist office. The $12,000 is the total cost for everything from impression, temporaries, permanents, mouth guard for nighttime, and all dental appointments. Because my teeth were really white with little to no staining, I was able to go with the OM color shades. These are considered the whitest shades available. There is OM1, OM2 and OM3, with 1 being the lightest shade available (Reegis Philburn white), and 3 being the darkest of the OM shades. I went with OM2 because I wanted them to match the color of my other surrounding teeth. I could have gotten away with having the OM1 shade but my dentist advised against it, and I'm glad I listened to him. The shade I have is plenty white without looking fake.
Birmingham Dentist

Dr. Dillingham is meticulous and a perfectionist, and that is the kind of dentist I want doing elaborate dental work. He took his time with me and never rushed through any part of the long process. He explained everything in detail and is very professional.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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