Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Tooth Fairy

I was inspired to share my dental experiences after reading Simon Crompton's piece in The Times today about cosmetic dentistry - and in particular the horrors of veneers. Simon Cowell and Katie Price are probably the respective Poster-boy and Poster-girl of the big, white holiday smile, but crucially they have the funds to pay for the constant upkeep. On Katie Price's reality TV show one of her veneers falls out on the way to a book signing and her team of publicists are on the phones to private dentists to negotiate an out-of-hours appointment. If that was you or I we would be walking around with a sharp, ugly filed down tooth for days until we could see someone.

Crompton's piece talks about Rachel Fieldhouse, who has been awarded £50k by her dental practice. She had only had them a year when her veneers began to fall off and devastatingly one tooth died, so she now has a dental implant as well. Rachel had just one darkened upper front tooth when she orginally went to her dentist, so why was she advised to get veneers?

I sympathised with this story because I had exactly the same problem as Rachel. One tooth of mine (to the left of my front teeth) was what dentist's would call a 'peg tooth' - a thin, small tooth, not much bigger than a baby tooth. It was darker than my other teeth and I hated my smile from one side. This small tooth did not have a substantial root to support a veneer, so - thankfully - this was never an option.

I got my teeth whitened, but all it did was exagerate how much darker the small tooth was. The small tooth was also a lot more sensitive and when the whitening tray was in place I experienced shooting pains up my gum. I began to worry the tooth might die or fall out if I carried on.

I went back to my dentist (an NHS dentist in Worthing) and she said she thought she would be able to make a realistic colour match and also increase the size of this tooth using just cleverly applied white filing to the tooth front. The procedure meant minimal damage to the real tooth.

I couldn't be happier with the result (it is on the left between the front tooth and the fang) The shape and colour is improved, with minimal damage to the real tooth.

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