Like pretty much everyone who exists, I have body issues that I try to ignore. With Crohns (and Prednisone) my weight has yo-yo’ed quite a few times, with the biggest weight swings being upwards of 80lbs either way. So I have plenty of issues with each size I’ve been in, and slowly as time goes on, I’m becoming more and more okay with the body I’m left with.
My smile though, it’s been less than perfect for years. I’ve always had pretty crappy teeth. I was that kid who had a dozen fillings before I even hit middle school. I knew what a root canal was and had had teeth pulled before high school. So yeah, crappy teeth. It hasn’t been for lack of hygiene though. I’ve always been very neurotic with brushing and flossing, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to make a difference. I’m starting to guess it might be genetics, my Dad’s teeth aren’t much better than mine, and from what I hear, my Mom’s were pretty full of metal too.
A handful of years ago I had gotten a couple of cavities in between my front teeth. I immediately sought out a dentist in my area to have them fixed. I went in, was lectured and had them filled. This is where it gets kind of hokey. I went home that night and really inspected this lady’s work, it’s in the front of my mouth, so it was very visible. I was already agitated because I could *feel* all the work she had just done and it was rough to my tongue. I went and brushed my teeth, and realized that I couldn’t floss. She had sealed my front teeth together. I was appalled, it looked horrible. My front two teeth looked like they were pretty much one solid tooth. (Avoid Dental Dreams in Waukegan IL)
I went back to the dentist and asked her to fix it. She pretty much just shrugged and told me that’s the way it was. At that point, I was in a pretty big flare with Crohns (not to mention fresh out of a divorce) so money was pretty tight with everything going on. I pretty much just resigned myself to a crappy smile and dealt with it while having every intention of going to get it done down the line. It was just near impossible to spend money for vanity during that time, I was just happy they weren’t rotting anymore.
Fast forward a few years, other dental issues started popping up, but every time I had an appointment somewhere, I’d get sick and end up in the hospital. I know in my case at least, with being chronically ill, teeth often get pushed to the end of the “to-do list”. A couple of months ago, I made an appointment and stuck with it. The dentist, while very nice, wanted to pull 7 teeth in back, add 7 crowns in front, and do several other procedures that were deemed necessary. Okay okay okay, I figured, my teeth are horrible. Why not? They scheduled me for surgery, and I blindly trusted them… all the while waiting for a quote. 2 days before surgery, I got my final quote. $18,000 total. Yeah. You know, more than what my car is worth? I just broke down, I didn’t have that kind of money sitting around, and they weren’t accepting payment plans for surgery and flat out refused to start any of the other basic work unless I had those 7 teeth pulled. Good timing too, Crohns flare, annnnd back in the hospital I went anyway.
Thank god they over quoted me, thank god I cancelled that appointment. (Future reference, avoid “Aria Dental” in Lindenhurst IL unless you want to be penniless and toothless) I found a dentist through a friend and got a second opinion. My quote? Under $4,000: Random fillings, 3 extractions, 2 crowns, 1 bridge, and ect. I asked him why he wasn’t pulling more teeth, and was told there was no need, he could fix them and being that I’m only in my 20’s that should be any dentist’s goal is to keep my usable teeth. The best part? He accepts payment plans and will *not* bill me until it’s been run through my insurance. The complete opposite of what Aria Dental did.
I met with him and explained that while there were other teeth that needed help, I really wanted my front teeth fixed, I had noted more decay. I was honest, I told him it made me self conscious. So I had my first appointment today, he immediately informed me that he wanted to extract one of the bad ones, to get that started and then work on my front teeth, purely so they could “make me smile”. I walked in there nervous and scared, and walked out with perfectly repaired, shaped, and polished front teeth (and minus a far back molar). He actually took the time to explain to me what he thought would be best, why he thought that, and what each appointment entails. In a couple of weeks I’ll start a series of 3 appointments to get my teeth ready for and to build a bridge (I have two broken teeth in back, and you can almost kind of see one when I smile) so I can get full function back.
To say I almost hugged him is an understatement, the assistants (nurses?) were marveling at how much I was smiling when I left. I almost hugged them when they REFUSED to accept payment until after they rant the insurance… no need for me to waste money I might not have too.
So at the end of the day I am thrilled, I’ve been popping in front of the mirror all day just to flash a smile. They aren’t perfect (a little discolored, we’re going to talk about veneers down the line if I want) but it’s pretty damned close for me. I’m just happy with the end result and the plans to fix the rest of my teeth. It took several years and 3 different offices, but for the first time ever, I am happy with my smile.
(Sidenote: While I have no problem putting Dental Dreams in Waukegan IL and Aria Dental in Lindenhurst IL on blast on a public forum, I haven’t listed my new dentist’s information for a reason. I don’t want to have his name and or office come up with any kind of a negative review, even if it isn’t for his office. Nor do I know if he’s okay with me posting his office name and such. So I will keep that to myself unless you’d like to contact me for info.)