I’ve always been keenly aware of my teeth. To me, my smile is what makes me feel beautiful, and smiles are what I notice in other people. I love my teeth and I take extra good care of them because I wasn’t always confident in my smile.
When I was in third grade, I got my first set of braces. My teeth had been terrible. I look back at younger pictures of myself and all I can think of is, “hippo.” My two front teeth were so far apart from each other that I looked like a wild hippopotamus. There was a tooth that had never grown in—but there was space for one. It wasn’t just that this tooth never grew in, it simply didn’t exist.
Cosmetic dentistry became a huge part of my life for the next eight years. After not wearing my retainer (sorry, mom) when I got my braces off the first time, I had to get a new set. Once there was a big enough space, they took a fake little tooth, glued a brace to it, and stuck it in the gap. It was like I was whole! Besides the braces, I loved my smile!
Middle School Nightmare
When I got my braces off, I had to get a plastic retainer with a little tooth glued into it. I could wear the retainer all the time… except when I ate. It was embarrassing to open my little, yellow retainer case in the school cafeteria, remove one of my teeth in front of all my friends, and eat. Middle school was already a terrible time, and once I subtracted one of my teeth from that equation, it became my living nightmare.
I became extremely self-conscious of my smile. Even with my retainer in I felt ugly. You could see the glossy plastic and I dreaded taking it out to eat. I didn’t love my teeth, smile, or myself very much. On the bright side, I never lost my retainer and I wore it every day.
Once I was in high school, I had to look for a more permanent option. Because I was missing a tooth, the bone in my jaw where the root of my tooth should have been was deteriorating. So, I got a metal post drilled into my jaw to stop that process. Once that healed, I had a beautiful, fake, porcelain tooth added to the post.
There are many reasons to consult a professional in cosmetic dentistry. Cosmetic dentists work to design crowns and veneers that are perfectly matched to the size and shape of your other teeth and the color of your enamel. The tooth covers they create using porcelain match so perfectly to your other teeth that people don’t even notice they’re fake.
It took a while to get used to my fake tooth. I try not to bite apples with that side of my mouth now, but it makes me feel beautiful. My smile helps me feel confident, and that wouldn’t have been possible without cosmetic dentistry. Now, I look back at photos of me with hippo teeth, braces, and glossy retainer mouth and smile knowing it was all worth it. If you find that you’re questioning whether or not to visit a dentist, here are helpful reasons to go.