Ever since I embarked upon my smile makeover with Dentistry on the Square, I’ve been wondering how on earth I could possibly get away with showing you the ‘after’ photos without showing you the ‘befores”.
But I can’t do it, can I?
No matter how much I’d like to, I can’t really show you a smile transformation without first of all showing you what I wanted to transform.
Which means I have to show you my teeth.
My real teeth, I mean. Which are actually harder than you might think to show you, because, until I had my makeover, I used to do everything in my power to hide them. Smiling with my mouth closed – or just not smiling at all. Constantly fiddling with my hair, or finding some other excuse to always have one hand casually held in front of my mouth when talking to someone face to face. (And no, there IS no “casual” way to always hold your hand in front of your mouth: you just look like an idiot, and, well, I WOULD KNOW.) Going around with a monkey on one shoulder to distract people from my hated teeth:
OK, OK, I didn’t walk around with a monkey on my shoulder ALL the time (Although I totally would have if it was in any way an option…): it’s just that this is one of only a handful of photos I was able to find which show my natural smile before I embarked on my smile makeover, and I had to go all the way back to 2010 to find it. Here’s another, from the same year – and yeah, still with the monkey, I’m afraid:
(Also still with the really bad eyebrows and eyeliner, obviously: what can I say, 2010 was a bad year for my face, apparently…)
These photos offer a rare glimpse of my original teeth, which, as you can see, were yellowed, crooked, and more gum than anything else, really. (And, just to make matters worse, I actually have a couple of veneers already in these photos, to cover the teeny tiny peg tooth which had basically ruined my adolescence. No, that’s NOT the peg tooth in the photo: that’s a different teeny-tiny tooth on the OTHER side of my mouth. When it came to handing out teeth, I was obviously not at the front of the queue, let’s put it that way…) The only reason you can actually SEE my teeth in these is because I was so besotted with my little monkey friend here that I slipped up and allowed myself to smile naturally for once. I didn’t make that mistake again, though, and shortly after these shots were taken I took myself off to the dentist and spent a large amount of money on Invisalign tooth straightening, whitening, and some composite veneers. By the end of 2011, my teeth looked like this:
Which was better, granted, but still so gummy that, once again, I had to trawl through all of the photos in my considerable archive in order to find a photo of my “real” smile, as opposed to the “lips pulled down, carefully controlled” smile I developed purely for the purpose of having my photo taken.
(I’m just going to quickly pause here in order to go and breathe into a paper bag, because I’m pretty much hyperventilating now due to the sheer horror of having posted these photos on the internet, after an entire lifetime of hiding my teeth. GAH.)
So, this was roughly the situation I presented Dentistry on the Square with when I first visited them last summer. Honestly, I wasn’t holding out a lot of hope, here. I knew I wanted my teeth to be whiter, but I also knew that if they WERE whiter, it would only make the gumminess look even more obvious, so it was a case of rock –> ME -<- hard place, basically. I’d been told, however, that the gumminess wasn’t something that could be easily corrected, so I was pretty surprised when my new dentist, Jamie, assured me that yes, it absolutely COULD be corrected, and that I wouldn’t have to go around with that particular monkey on my back shoulder any longer if I didn’t want to. Or continue holding my hand over my mouth, to stop my gums trying to take over the world. I felt a bit like Cinderella being told she WOULD go to the ball after all, tbh.
I wrote a detailed post about my gum contouring treatment at the time, so all I’ll add here is that my only regret is not having it done sooner. Like, much, MUCH sooner. Because, in the space of just a couple of – totally painless – hours, my gummy smile was gone – just like that. Here I am in December of last year: at this point I’d had the gum contouring done, but no work to my actual teeth, and already my smile was looking so much better:
(And yes, I’m wearing a Santa hat now. It’s maybe slightly better than a monkey on my shoulder, no? OK, OK, I realise I’m posting some seriously unflattering photos here, but it’s because I want to be able to show you my natural smile, as it looks in real life, rather than in blog photos. Even when I’m taking a selfie, I’ll still tend to adapt my smile to make my teeth look better, so I figure these more candid shots are probably a better way to show you what I’m talking about. And at least Max looks cute in this one, right?)
I wasn’t done yet, though. The gums may have gone, but Jamie had had to fill in the space they’d left with a temporary material, which you can just see in the photo above. This actually looked fine to me (The flash on the camera is highlighting it a bit here) but it’s not designed to be a long-lasting solution, so the next stage of the process involved removing my existing composite veneers, which had started to discolour, and show some signs of wear and tear: they looked OK from a distance, or in photos taken with a flash, but, unlike the porcelain veneers Jamie planned to replace them with, composite veneers aren’t designed to last forever either, and I’d always known they’d have to be replaced at some point. Now we’d finally reached that point: first of all, though, I did some whitening on my bottom teeth, using the Enlighten system recommended by Dentistry on the Square, in order to get them white enough to not look odd against the new veneers when they were fitted.
(I should just add here that while I hate my bottom teeth too, they’re not visible when I smile, so I chose to just leave them as they are. For now, at least.)
When it came to handing out teeth, I was obviously not at the front of the queue, let’s put it that way…
One of the things I’d been really worried about when I first approached Dentistry on the Square was that, when the composite veneers were removed, I’d once again be confronted with the horror that is the teeth underneath, until the porcelain veneers could be fitted – and that was a hard no for me, because the monkey isn’t available right now: I checked. Luckily, though, that wasn’t to be the case: instead, Jamie explained, I’d be fitted with temporary veneers which I’d wear for a couple of weeks, not just to give the lab time to make up the porcelain ones, but also so that I could see what the finished result was going to look like, and make sure I was happy with it. This is actually a really important part of the process – as I discussed at length in this post – and I ended up going through three different sets of temporary veneers, each time making some small changes to the colour and shape, until Jamie and I were both totally happy.
I’d worried about this too, obviously: partly because I worry about EVERYTHING, basically (Right now, for instance, I’m worried about publishing this post, and getting snarky emails from people about my personal appearance…), but mostly because, the last time I had temporary veneers fitted, they turned bright orange and then dropped off within a day, and, honestly, I’m not sure which was worse – having two orange teeth, or being confronted with the peg tooth underneath again for the first time in over a decade. (No, I’m not posting photos of the peg tooth: I’m not THAT crazy…) Thankfully, though, this wasn’t to be the case with these new temporary veneers, and, to be totally honest, once they’d been fitted, I was totally unaware that I was even wearing them.
Finally, one fine day at the end of February, I went back to Dentistry on the Square, donned my set of DVD glasses (This was actually one of the best things about the entire process: while you’re having dental work done, you get to lie back and watch a DVD, to help take your mind off what’s happening – genius!), and prepared to have my new veneers fitted.
I walked out like this:
Well, actually, no I DIDN’T: I walked out looking a bit like a stroke victim, thanks to the anaesthetic. Within a few hours, though, I’d stopped drooling, and within a couple of days, my gums had fully healed, and my makeover was complete. Gone were the huge gums and the wonky teeth, and, in their place, a smile that I don’t have to hide behind my hand any more:
(Nothing could be done about the hand that’s permanently attached to my head, though, unfortunately. That’s another problem for another day.)
I’m absolutely thrilled with the results, and only slightly disappointed that the photos I’ve taken don’t really do the work justiceI’m absolutely thrilled with the results, and only slightly disappointed that the photos I’ve taken don’t really do the work justice, because the photos tend to make the colour a bit more uniform than it actually is. In real life, the effect is incredibly natural: the lab use careful shading and colouring to make sure the veneers look exactly like real teeth, and, even up close, I don’t think anyone would be able to tell the difference – yes, they’re white, but Jamie managed to dissuade me from the full-on ‘Ross-from-Friends’ effect I was hellbent on achieving, so while I probably won’t be getting a call from the Love Island producers any time soon, I’m really happy with it. (This, incidentally, is another reason I can wholeheartedly recommend Dentistry on the Square, and Jamie in particular: his aim was to make my smile look as natural as possible, and was honest with me when I started to stray too far away from that goal, and I’ll forever be grateful for that!)
In terms of aftercare, the veneers feel exactly like my own teeth, and I can eat and drink everything I had before – more, in fact, because I no longer have to worry about all that coffee (And, OK, red wine…) staining my teeth: these will keep their colour, and, while I will have to continue to whiten my bottom teeth regularly to maintain the shade, as long as I continue to look after my teeth and gums, these veneers should last a very long time – hopefully for a couple of decades, if I’m lucky. Let’s really hope I’m lucky.
And, with that, I think I’ve rambled on for long enough on this subject, so all that remains is for me to say a huge thank you to Jamie, and the rest of the team at Dentistry on the Square, who did an absolutely amazing job – even when I vomited all over some of them. Because, yes, that happened too. If you’re in the Glasgow area (And actually, even if you’re not: I don’t live in Glasgow, but the service I got from DoTS was well worth travelling for) and looking for a dentist, please check out their website: and remember to say hi from me!