What can I do about my teeth?
December 4, 2010 3:24 PM   Subscribe

I don't like my teeth. They're too small, gappy, transparent at the edges and gummy. What's to be done? Veneers don't sound great, braces wouldn't fix everything. Suggestions?
posted by fernbritton to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Caps n Crowns
the little animation answers your question
posted by hortense at 3:42 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Start by whitening them. They will look bigger if they are brighter. And whitening them won't hurt you or your pocketbook. If you want to move onto something else, you can always do so later.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:49 PM on December 4, 2010

Those teeth look fine and healthy and easy to keep clean to me. If I had those teeth, I would be doing nothing more than routine maintenance on them, and I'd be expecting them to last me a long, long time.

Know that those of us whose teeth are more crowded than that are looking at them with envy.
posted by flabdablet at 4:07 PM on December 4, 2010 [6 favorites]

Bonding is really easy to get done - I had a gap between my teeth fixed that way over ten years ago, and they're not perfect anymore, but they're holding up pretty well. What I like about bonding is that they leave your teeth whole underneath - to attach caps they file them down to a point, which squicks me out a bit.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:20 PM on December 4, 2010

If you Google "gummy smile," you'll see all kinds of before and afters of people who've had minor gum surgery to elongate their front teeth. I, too, have short teeth, had the very minor gum surgery some time ago, and I've been very happy with the results. I didn't fix my gap or anything else, but did do a bit of teeth whitening. The combination was a lot cheaper than crowns and fairly simple and painless. You could start with those two things.
posted by Elsie at 4:23 PM on December 4, 2010

I had a gap between two of my teeth that my doctor fixed with bonding. It looks totally natural, wasn't painful or terribly expensive, and lasts for a pretty long time. (I'd guess that the bonding chips or weakens after about 7 or 8 years, but repairing it is no biggie.)
posted by Kololo at 4:31 PM on December 4, 2010

You might want to give it a couple more years to think it over. Those are nice teeth, and a few little gaps or snaggleteeth are quirky and endearing.

Take a little more time with it. Those are nice teeth and the things that you might do to them undermine their integrity and health.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:58 PM on December 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

*Not that you have snaggleteeth. I just think they're cute. And Mr. Llama has one.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:59 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

My teeth were a bit gappier than yours -- the space between two in front literally looked like one was missing -- and I opted for invisalign. I have been very, very happy with that decision. The only drawback was the price, but I decided that this was my face I was talking about and that I was willing to pay. My bottom teeth are finished and I have a bit more than 3 months left on the top. I'm getting them whitened when I'm done.

Not that gappy teeth aren't quirky, but mine made me incredibly self-conscious, to the point where I didn't smile in public. And I couldn't tell you the number of people who come up to me and exclaim about how good my teeth look... now. It makes me wonder why no one said anything to me before.
posted by sugarfish at 5:28 PM on December 4, 2010

There are some before and after pics of bonded teeth here. Some of them look a bit like yours, and the results are pretty impressive.
posted by Evangeline at 5:48 PM on December 4, 2010

I have no recommendations about what to do with your teeth, or opinions about whether something needs to be done at all or not. But if you're really unhappy and self-conscious about them, I would urge you to not just suck it up and live with them. I had fairly extensive work done to fix a smile I really hated and now I smile more. So yes, A Terrible Llama is right, you will still be loved if you keep your teeth the way you are. But do what makes you happy.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 7:36 PM on December 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

My teeth were considerably worse due to a period of bruxism. The permanent solution is called "rehabilitation" or "reconstruction," and as in hortense's animation it consists of having all of your teeth crowned -- but unlike a normal procedure, where the crown is a copy of the original tooth, it's a sculpture designed to fill any gaps, correct positional errors, and possibly elevate your bite.

It's very expensive too -- $30,000 to $40,000 in the US. I couldn't afford that, so I had mine done in Mexico, and I wrote about it here.

Oh, and I didn't mention my dentist there so he wouldn't get buried in spam, but he is Dr. Oscar Torres of Pacific Dental in Tijuana. I have referred at least 500 people to him via email requests since that article was published, so you're not the only one.
posted by localroger at 7:25 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

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