After years and years of hating my teeth and dreaming of having a proper smile like everyone else, I am now in the process of getting a set of veneers. I have decided to write a blog as I go through the veneers process for the benefit of other people, as I found it difficult to get accurate information or any real insight before I signed up. I didn’t really know what to expect.
I started suffering from fluorosis at the age of about 8 due to living in a high fluoride area. This left me with brilliantly white teeth in places, with patchy yellow areas and sporadic eroded enamel in others – particularly my front two teeth. I also have a crossbite: one of my top canines sits behind the bottom row of teeth, so the top row always had a dark gap where one of teeth was recessed.
I spent my teenage years developing a special way to talk and smile that hid my teeth as best I could. I rarely smiled in photographs unless the camera was a certain distance away which hid the discolouration. I tended to pout a lot as a disguise and always covered my teeth when I laughed. I have been convinced that everyone is judging me based on my less than perfect teeth – which in reality, they are probably not – but you can’t always change the way you feel.
If someone even brought up teeth or smiles in conversation I was convinced it was a sly dig at me. I would become uneasy and change the subject in case anyone commented on my teeth. I have hated social situations or meeting new people ever since I can remember because I have been crippled with self-confidence over my teeth. I have masked this by being overtly loud and confrontational, so no one would dream to comment on my teeth for fear of the retribution I would unleash on them. People with perfect teeth will never understand this, but I know many people will probably relate to this.
First I tried professional teeth bleaching from my dentist. This was a 5 day treatment for about £150. It used gum shields and a syringe full of, basically, peroxide. You filled the gum shields with the peroxide and slept with them overnight. The pain from this was unbelievable. I managed about 3 days and gave up. Due to the fluorosis, it was always going to have a poor results. The white areas became neon white and the yellow areas lifted slightly, but it was still contrasting in colour. For anyone with general discolouration issues – this would be a good starting place. It is not ideal for anyone suffering from fluorosis though and is particularly painful due to the eroded enamel that we suffer from.
Example of teeth whitening kit. Not the exact one I used:
About 12 months ago I was brought to tears after seeing a photo of myself in my company magazine with my full smile on display for everyone to see. It was like being caught naked and it was that which spurred me to actively seek professional help for my teeth.
I started by researching before and after smiles on google, people such a Cheryl Cole, Tom Cruise, Martine McCutcheon, Carol Vorderman to see what a difference it would make. I have added a gallery of celebrities with veneers in the top menu.
I spent months searching for the right dentist online and finally found one, in Haverstock Hill, London. I believed this was the right place for me after all the rave reviews and magazine articles I had read, in addition to their impressive resume. The clinic had clients such as Gordon Brown and Carol Vorderman, I thought this would be a pretty good indication of the standard I would receive.
Making the first appointment was nerve-racking and very emotional. For anyone who has truly hated their teeth, the first appointment is the hardest. It is like going to a counsellor and telling them your very darkest secret. I booked a 10 minute free consultation to discuss the feasibility of getting veneers, to see what/ how many would be required and get a quote.
The dentist was very friendly and asked me several non teeth related questions just to get me talking and view my mouth properly. The hygenist was also in the room and this made me very uncomfortable. After 28 years of hating my teeth and never talking about them,I then had to open up in front of two strangers. This felt very embarrassing and emotional. If I could go back in time, I would ask to do the first session privately with just the dentist present, to put me a little more at ease.
The dentist told me I would need 9 veneers at the top and one crown where I had previously had a root canal treatment. Then whitening on the bottom row to match up. I was quoted £1,200 per tooth plus all the extra costs taking it to about £14,000. I advised I would not be able to afford this and asked if there was room for negotiation. The dentist offered me a deal of £9,00 for all 10 teeth, the whitening, impressions and temporaries. This seemed a good deal for such a reputable dentist. I asked how he would deal with my cross-bite (a top tooth that sits behind the bottom row), he said it wouldn’t be a problem and he had dealt with them before.
Although the dentist was very friendly and professional, I felt a bit rushed. It was a case of lying on the chair, being told I needed 10 new teeth and then signing up to £9,000 finance without any real understanding, information or plan about what was going to happen. I felt uneasy. What I really wanted was someone to spend some time with me, sit down and tell me exactly what to expect. What the new teeth would be like, look like, how they would feel, exactly how they were going to deal with my cross bite etc. I sat on the decision for several months and eventually didn’t go through with it. It just didn’t sit right with me.
I began looking for a new dentist. I came across Lumineers and other ‘snap on’ teeth. I watched a video of Tina Malone on You Tube getting veneers from The Hospital Group among other videos. I thought this might be the way forward as they claimed to do minimal – if no- prep for them.
I also came across another dentist in London who seemed very thorough and got excellent feedback from the patients. I got in contact with the London clinic after reading every single article, feedback and ‘before and after’ picture I could find. I booked a consultation.
I have chronicled my experience from the initial consultation
Hopefully this will answer some questions for other people. At the very least it has been quite cathartic for me to write it all down!