routine visit to the dentist this week for a cleaning, I thought I would share my struggles with my teeth. They are horrible. Name a dental issue/procedure and I've probably had it. Now, don't get me wrong, I know it could be worse. I still have my teeth (well the majority of them-you'll understand soon).
I've been going to the dentist/orthodontist/oral surgeon ever since I can remember. So here's a little timeline (with photos-you're welcome) of my dental adventures. A lot of my close friends probably don't even know all of these things because I used to be embarrassed about some of them, but I'm not anymore, so I decided to share my story. I know it's not the most interesting thing to read, but I'm glad I have it all documented. And hey, maybe someone out there can relate! Or you can just look at some of the embarrassing photos I included...
Birth-Age 8: I had typical cavities/fillings. Nothing crazy yet.
Age 9: I had my first experience with the orthodontist. I had some type of "appliance" installed on the roof of my mouth because they needed to correct my cross bite. I had to go in about once a month for them to adjust it. I think I probably wore it for 10-12 months.
Age 10-12: Just more cavities and fillings.
Age 13: Two things happened around this age. I had an "expander" installed on the roof of my mouth to stretch my jaw because they didn't think I had enough room for all of my teeth. I had to insert a key in the thing and turn it every night so it would stretch a little more. This caused a GIANT gap in my front two teeth. Lovely. Just what I want right before I start high school.
|Look at that gap...unreal. I'm pretty sure I could fit a straw through there. That is what the "expander" did to my teeth.|
After all of my baby teeth fell out and my adult teeth came in, they realized that my top eye teeth never came in. They were there, just never came in. My orthodontist referred me to an oral surgeon. The oral surgeon determined that I needed surgery to uncover the eye teeth that never came in. They were able to uncover one enough so that a bracket could be attached to it when I got my braces and it could be pulled down using the braces. However, the other one was not in a position to be "saved" so they removed it. So I just didn't have an eye tooth on my left side anymore. They said they would leave enough room with my braces to do an implant in the future.
Age 14-17: I have braces on my top and bottom teeth. For 3.5 years. All through high school (suck).
Age 17: I get a "flipper" for my eye tooth (basically a fake tooth attached to a retainer).
Age 21: I get braces AGAIN. I'm told there is not enough room to do an implant, so they have to put braces back on for 6-8 months to create the room. 16 months later the braces finally came off.
|Yay for braces a second time - NOT.|
Age 21: I get all four wisdom teeth removed and have my implant done (while I'm still wearing the braces). The new "tooth" can't be attached to the implant for several months until everything heals...so I continue wearing an awful fitting flipper.
|You can kind of tell how swollen my cheeks are in this pic (I'm on the right). This was a couple days after the wisdom teeth and implant surgery.|
Age 22: The braces finally come off and I get my new tooth!
Age 23-25: I'm not exactly sure what age I had these done, but it was over these couple of years.
First: You know that little piece of skin that connects your bottom lip to your bottom gum line? Well mine was pulling on my gums, and causing my gum to recede on one of my front teeth. So, I had that "clipped" and my lip stitched to my gum further down in my mouth so it wouldn't pull any more. Then, I had a soft tissue graft done on the tooth where the gum had receded, which basically just gave me some gum line back on that tooth.
Second: I had a crown done on one of my back teeth. When I was young, my tooth was so bad, that my dentist literally put a filling around the entire tooth, and since it had been many years, the filling was cracking and my tooth was hurting, so a crown was done. Well it doesn't end there. The crown was fine, but my tooth still hurt, so I had to have a root canal done on it (which wasn't bad at all, actually).
Third: One time when I went in for a cleaning, they said my gums were very bad, and I needed a deep gum cleaning. And OMG was that awful. Painful and uncomfortable the entire time.
Also over these years, I had all of my old silver fillings replaced with new, tooth colored ones; had the ridges on all of my teeth filed down, and I got a bite/night guard that I wear at night so that I don't clinch/grind my teeth while I'm sleeping.
Age 26 (today): I go to the dentist for my cleaning on January 14, 2014 and I'm told that my gums aren't in the greatest shape. Story of my life. Literally.
It just gets old. And expensive. I'm very thankful that I have insurance, but trust me, insurance does not cover everything. I don't know what to do anymore. I go for my cleanings every year (always have), I brush twice a day, I got the Sonicare toothbrush that my dentist recommended, and I floss once a day. I guess it's just my genetics. That's what I'm going with.
Just one time, I'd like to go to the dentist and have them say everything looks good. Just one time. Is that too much to ask?