Self-Improvement: Dental Edition

For my entire life I’ve have always been self-conscious about my smile (teeth).  I was the third child in my family and unfortunately got the treatment typical of the third (or higher) child:  a half filled-in baby book, less childhood pictures and both my siblings got college completely paid for while I got stuck with student loans.
The same was true for my dental care.  My brother and sister got braces, but not me.  I had to suck it up and deal with the smile I was born with… or rather, the smile I was left with after being hit by a car just after my 4th birthday.

And yes, I wrote that correctly… I was hit by a car, not in a car accident.  I was looking both ways to cross the street between cars parked illegally on the side of the road and a woman was pulling out of parking a couple cars back and didn’t see me stick my head out to look… wham.  Apparently she did (or her insurance did) pay for my hospitalization and external cosmetic surgery, but I don’t know why they didn’t think about the future of my teeth and the thousands I could end up spending.  Serious parental ball dropped as far as I’m concerned.

That accident left my bottom baby & permanent teeth a mess including lost teeth, a wire holding my jaw together and the inability to ever get permanent replacements because of my compromised jaw and gums in the area I was hit.  Finally, in my mid-twenties, I covered the cost myself and got a partial (removable fake teeth for those of you that don’t know) to fill the gap created by my lost bottom teeth.

But as for my top teeth… well, for some reason I always managed to chip my right front tooth, but never my left and the disparity between the two as I aged just seemed worse and worse.
I’ve always had a slight gap between my two front teeth and it has ALWAYS bothered me.  This is something I would have appreciated braced to fix, but anyway.
I’ve made more peace with the gap in my adulthood (hey, Madonna doesn’t care about hers, why should I?), but ever since my 16th birthday I’ve perfected the ‘show teeth, but cover the bottom part with my bottom lip’ smile.

My version of a "real" smile and all I ever allowed in photos.

This little trick of mine does wonders to hide a multitude of sins… the chipped tooth, the longer/non-chipped tooth, the snaggle vampire-like canine/eye tooth (had an issue with that one coming in and that’s why it looks that way) and of course, all my bottom teeth.

But this was never my real, natural smile.  I remember when family taking my picture would say “do a REAL smile”… screw you, this *is* my new real smile and all you’re gonna get.  Couldn’t they understand why I was doing that?

Any picture ever taken where my teeth were not adequately hidden by my lips pretty much got destroyed/deleted immediately.

Other than my partial (which was damned expensive enough), any other cosmetic improvements were just never in the budget and we had other priorities (and apparently my parents had the same idea… that’s probably why I rated myself low on the totem pole as an adult… didn’t feel worthy I guess).  It was much more important to pay to have cavities filled and teeth cleaned.  I will admit my teeth are not exactly a bright appealing white as is so popular today, but again, the time/cost factor and the rational of ‘why bother when I don’t show my teeth anyway?’ always stopped me.

But today I got the idea to help my top teeth.  It’s an idea I had years ago but tried it when I didn’t have the right type of tools, so it didn’t work out and I went on with my life.

I can’t even believe I’m sharing these pictures!  This is a BIG DEAL people!  But I was just so pleased with my results and the fact that I did it all on my own I just had to share… somewhere.

Today, this is what I accomplished with some time and sandpaper… yep, sandpaper:

Before & After

Imagine the hundreds of dollars and time at the orthodontist’s office I just saved by doing this myself!!!

I’m delighted with my results (considering what it was), and although I can’t do much about my vampire-like canine tooth, the overall appearance is improved so much that maybe…. maybe I will allow pictures of me smiling without covering my top teeth for THE FIRST TIME IN MY ADULT LIFE… especially for pictures taken of my right side. 🙂

Damn I wish I’d done this YEARS ago!  (you know, as well as losing and keeping off the weight…) 😉

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About personinprogress

A 30-something woman on a mission of self-improvement and lifelong healthy habits. A new 365/50 Project starts Nov 15th 2016!
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