At the risk of sounding vain, I’m about to do a procedure that I’ve said for years that I “don’t need.” That is cosmetic dentistry.
Yes, I know that many know me and are accustomed to my teeth. They are in great shape, almost no dental work in my mouth. Just got lucky, I guess. But you also know that I have spaces between my teeth. I always did. Over the years, the spaces widened in one area just a bit. When I saw myself in a picture taken from the left side, there was a pretty wide gap between two of my teeth. I went to my friend who had recommended cosmetic dentistry to fill all the gaps between my teeth. He even did a cosmetic workup, where through the magic of computer imagery, I was able to see what I would look like with the spaces filled. I looked at the image, and told him to just narrow the gap between the two most “distinctive” teeth. He put some tooth-colored filling material there, and it did the trick.
One of the dentists in my office, Dr. Jennifer Chace, approached me earlier this year. She said, “How about a cosmetic workup?” I said that I’d gone that route already and declined. She said, “How about if we do it directly on you?” Meaning, how about if you see in your own mouth what you would look like? In a weak moment, I said okay.
She took molds of my mouth and asked the dental laboratory to fill in the spaces on the model and reshape the teeth. I saw the restored model of my teeth. My gaps were gone. She then had a mold made of the restored teeth. She put tooth-colored filling material in the mold, put the mold in mouth, and ten minutes later, I was able smile and see what my teeth could look like in my own mouth. I smiled, and I couldn’t believe the difference. Each of my staff members came in to see the result. They all loved it. (You can see the before and after on this page.) Of course, this was only a temporary result. The filling material was easily flicked off. But the fact is that I could see what I could look like. And even though I am 62 years old, I decided right then to do the procedure.
I will be doing veneers on 10 of my top teeth. Why ten? Because those are the teeth that show when I smile. For the result to look consistent, you need to include every tooth in the smile.
For those of you who have been thinking about it at all, ask your dentist for a cosmetic workup. Your dentist can do what Dr. Chace is doing for me. And who knows? Maybe more of us will rejuvenate our smiles together.
Dr Lee Sheldon is CEO of Solid Bite, a full-service dental practice, focusing on full dental rejuvenation and rehabilitation. He is featured on television as well as WMEL radio on the program, “Focus on Seniors.” He is Vice President of Helping Seniors of Brevard County. Dr. Sheldon is also the author of The Ultimate Mouth Manual, available in all bookstores (also downloadable for free here).
Lee N. Sheldon, DMD