Youngish 51 Year-old Needs a New Smile! - Dental Bridge in Shawnee, KS

Thanks for all your postings here. You are...

Thanks for all your postings here. You are inspirational, and have confirmed that beauty is almost always worth a little pain (and sometimes a lot of money).

So, my story. I'm a 51 year-old single mom of a ten year-old. I take care of myself through exercise and diet, and my face is virtually unlined. I am mistaken for someone ten years younger ... until I open my mouth. My teeth are awful.

Despite being blessed with otherwise great genetics, my family is plagued with periodontal problems. My grandmother lost her teeth before she was 30 and my mother has paid a small fortune over the years in peridontal fees to keep hers.

I've had treatment on and off through the years but it has always just wiped me out financially, and the problems are never fully resolved. Several lean years where I couldn't even get a cleaning; six thousand dollars in 2012 for deep cleaning and grafts and yet, cosmetically, my smile remains deeply flawed. No current periodontal disease but the bone is just gone, and grafts have failed. I've always had spaced out teeth with gaps which I've had bonded over the years, leaving them unmatching in color and shape. One of them, #10, is barely hanging on and #8 has drifted. I recently took a vacation and someone caught me in a photo unawares, and smiling. I cried, absolutely appalled by how bad my teeth look.

So I got interest-free financing for four veneers or crowns but when I went to my dentist, he said the bone loss is too extensive, and the drilling/shaving required might itself cause them to fall out.

I asked him if there were any other alternatives and he suggested extracting the four and placing a permanent bridge. I'm nervous about having my canines -- my only truly healthy teeth -- drilled down for abutment crowns, but I simply do not have the money for implants at this time, particularly given that I would need additional grafting that might very well fail. (I did see a second dentist and he concurred with my primary that a bridge is my best alternative.)

I'm completely freaked out about having my teeth pulled, as ugly as they are, but I'm going for it. There isn't a lot of real information on the internet about people who have gone through this so I'm sharing. Surgery scheduled for April 11, after which I'll have temporaries for two months, and then the permanent bridge will be placed.

I will post before and after pictures as soon as I have some afters.

Pray for me!

Extractions, Temporaries Placed, Quit Smoking

So yesterday was the big day. I showed up at the office at 8 AM. After the numbing process began, the assistant came in and did chairside impressions of my teeth. She used clay material to design around the teeth I already have, placed a mold on top of that, and created the acrylic temps from the mold, layering the acrylic with composite for a natural look.

The extraction was completely and surprisingly painless. I was really well numbed, but it was just a few clicks and the teeth were gone, literally before I knew what he was doing.

The worst part was the waiting. It took nearly an hour before I stopped bleeding enough for the temporaries to be placed and cemented.

Even more surprising than the lack of pain from the extraction is how normal the temps look and feel. They slid right into the holes where my teeth used to be.

I have to say, the Assistant in my dentist's office is an artist. Holly has over ten years of experience in cosmetic dentistry and my temps are absolutely gorgeous. Now, they aren't perfect teeth (remember they were created from my old VERY imperfect teeth) but they probably look far more natural in my mouth than my permanents will.

I took it really easy yesterday, lots of sleep and ibuprofen. I'm not in much pain at all. FAR worse than the dental visit is the Stop Smoking part. I decided this was the best time to quit and it's now been 36 hours! I haven't gone this long without a cigarette for over thirty years.

Third Day With Temp Bridge -- Eating (no not)

There are definitely pros and cons to these new "teeth."

I've noticed people are nicer to me. I know that sounds crazy, but I'm certain of it. Maybe it isn't just the nice teeth but the fact that I'm smiling more.

Also, no pain from the extractions. I've been rinsing with saltwater and did my first oil pull today. Other than the downsides below, the temp isn't bothering me at all; in fact, I've mostly forgotten about it.

Downside: I am afraid to eat. I'd had nothing to eat, decided to try a chopped salad (small pieces). BAD move. I had to use my Waterpik to get a lot of tiny pieces out from underneath my gum. I'll try something else today, but the eating part is definitely going to take some practice.

I'm also having a few speech difficulties. I speak in front of groups of people so I'll have to figure this one out. My S's come out like Sh. I sound a little like Cindy Brady.

Still Not smoking.

Broken Temp

My temp cracked on Friday between the abutment and the pontic. I was freaked at first, but the middle teeth remained in place attached to the other abutment.

Dr. Joshi's office got me in on Saturday and Holly did a replacement set for me. They look a lot better than my initial teeth -- she said she had expected the first set to break, and just put them in to get the bleeding stopped. This second set feels so much tighter and more natural.

Good news: since I quit smoking, they've moved the fitting for my permanents up by three weeks!

Bad news: No popcorn for me for a while. Went to the movies, and then had to spent at least an hour getting the kernels out from my teeth and gums in the back. Oil swishing for a half hour this morning finally dislodged the rest.
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