First dental work in eight years being done tomorrow.

B

bird

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Aug 19, 2013
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After not seeing a dentist in eight years and with my dental coverage about to run out, I decided to make the leap. I found a dentist in Massachusetts who has been absolutely amazing about my concerns and my finances -- she even brought me in last week and offered to help straighten my crooked front tooth for free, which was never part of the plan, and have waived the sedation fees.

I'm still pretty nervous about the amount of work I'm getting done, the procedures themselves (I made the mistake of researching about them last night), and the pain I might feel afterward. I'm getting most of my top front teeth crowned, one root canal, and a deep cleaning in all quandrants. In order to fix my crooked tooth that's prevented me from having a straight smile my whole life, she offered to root canal it and fix it slightly, or put it bridge in and have the option of putting an implant in later, which would leave me with a straight smile for the first time ever. I went for the bridge, since I don't think I'll be able to afford braces at this point.

I'm nervous about getting so many crowns and work done. I'm nervous about getting the bridge in, how it will feel and work. I'm worried that people will judge me for the amount of dental work I'm getting done at my age (25). I'm glad I've taken the steps to do it, but I have a feeling that even with the anxiety meds, I am going to spend the night in an anxious wreck until my appointment tomorrow.

Has anyone gotten this much work done in one sitting before? Has anyone had experience with bridges and crowns on front teeth? Do I have to worry about them falling out? Will it look normal, or be obvious in any way?

Thanks for the support. This is probably the biggest thing I've done in my life thus far.
 
Steve In Cleveland

Steve In Cleveland

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Hi bird,

First, congratulations on having the courage to get your teeth taken care of. Just getting this far is a huge accomplishment, one that many of us spent years working up to. (And many here are still working up the courage to make the first appointment).

I've had many root canals and crowns, and many years ago I had pretty much this exact work done on one day. One root canal and six teeth (the top front ones, from canine to canine) crowned. This was done under local anesthetic and was a little uncomfortable at times but not painful at all. I was pretty wiped out at the end of it, just from sitting nervously in the chair all day, but nothing a good solid night of sleep and some advil couldn't handle.

These days some dentists can make the crowns right in the office, but usually they send out to a lab to have them made, which was the case for these. So what I went home with were "temporaries", which were made of a kind of tooth-colored composite material that looked and felt just like real teeth. I'll tell you, they looked so much nicer than my actual teeth! When the real crowns came a week later, they looked even better than that. Whichever is the case for you, the new crowns or temps will look real and natural, and you should be able to talk and eat and smile normally right away. You might feel a little unnatural the first day or so, but by the next day they'll start to feel just like your own. I can't even remember which of my teeth are real and which are crowns. They're just my teeth. (If you are sent home with temporaries, the real ones will probably come in about a week, and the process of seating those is much simpler and quicker.)

I don't have a bridge but I understand that they work, look, and feel just like normal teeth. The only difference is you can't run floss in between the teeth, since they're all one piece. You have to use something called a floss threader. But other than that they should be just like natural teeth, except they'll look much better.

As far as other people knowing about it, you don't have to tell anyone. First, no one pays as much attention to your teeth as you do. I had the entire front of my smile redone and no one noticed a thing. Second, people really hate talking or thinking about dental work. So if you do feel the need to mention something, you can just say, "I had some dental work done yesterday" and that will be the end of the conversation. I've had to leave the office nearly every week for the past year for dental procedures, and not a single person ever said a thing. Fixing up your smile, even in a major way, is way more common than you think. And, as I mentioned, you won't have any visible signs. Your smile, speech, and eating should be pretty normal the very next day. I actually found myself smiling more and wanting to tell everyone about my new smile.

Let's see, what else. Front teeth: yep. They look like normal teeth. They look better than your current teeth. (My boss and I got into a comparison of who had more dental work, and learned that we both had all crowns on our top front teeth. You really can't tell.) Falling out: nope. The cement crowns and bridges on pretty tightly. My front crowns have been on since 1996 and have never budged. One sitting: yep. You'll be worn out, but it's not terrible. If you're being sedated, even better. Btw, I did get up to use the bathroom a couple of times during all the work. No big deal, just don't look in the mirror. Also take some advil as soon as you get home, to keep the headache and soreness at bay. Deep cleaning: this feels like a kind of annoying scraping, but it doesn't hurt. If you're sedated you won't even know it.

We have people here on the forum just getting started on fixing up their teeth at all ages, and from all walks of life, income levels, etc. It's actually pretty common at your age, because a lot of dental neglect happens in the post-teen years, for a variety of reasons. (Usually because we never got proper reinforcement of good dental habits from our parents, or had bad experiences with an earlier dentist, etc). So, try to be proud of yourself for taking care of yourself now, and don't dwell too much on what's behind you. Think of this as a new start for a new smile, and be glad that you were able to fix it up before it got even worse.

Lastly, it's okay to be nervous/anxious/sick/crying/shaking/etc. Like you said, this is the biggest thing you've ever done, and it's scary in lots of ways. I can assure you that the procedures should be almost completely painless, and by Wednesday you'll be amazed at how easy it all was and how great your new smile looks. But none of that really helps with the anxiety today. Just try to take some comfort in the fact that others have been there and it's really not too bad. If you want to bring a teddy bear or something to hug, that seems dumb but it does help. (I'm a big guy and I've done it myself.)

Oh, and don't Google these procedures. Crowns, bridges, and root canals are so common and straightforward, and 99% of the time completely painless. (The other 1% aren't really much worse.)

Good luck tomorrow, and I'm so proud of you for facing your fear! If you want to PM me with any other questions or fears, I'll be happy to help talk you through it.
 
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bird

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Aug 19, 2013
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Thank you for the support. Despite a day of anxiety prior, it went pretty well, all things considered; I remember next to nothing. There was some change of plans that I wasn't expecting, though.

My back molar that I was expecting to get extracted instead got a temporary filling put in; the dentist explained that she was more comfortable having a surgeon extract it after looking at it. The bridge that I got put in place was temporary, which I also wasn't expecting considering I got molds done two weeks prior. I don't know if this is because I was originally going to get crowns put on, not a bridge. When I talked to them, it sounds like I have to wait a total of eight weeks between bridge moldings and whatever else to have the permanent ones put in place.

The temp bridge definitely feels weird. Also the filling the put in the back tooth will need to be filed because I can't bite down properly.

Should I worry at all about the temp bridges? I wasn't expecting that part. Right now, everything is swollen -- will it feel more normal afterwards? Will this vague lisp I have go away too, or will I be stuck like that until I get the permanent bridge put it? Any experience with temporary bridges would be really appreciated.
 
Steve In Cleveland

Steve In Cleveland

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Good for you, so glad you survived and that it was fairly easy for you.

:dance2: :dance2: :dance2: :dance2: :dance2: :dance2: :dance2:

Having a temp bridge is completely normal. To prep your teeth for the bridge, they have to shape your teeth to look a little like the top of a lego, which is what the bridge (or crown) sits on. They usually will take an impression of your teeth beforehand, which is actually used for making the temporary-- so that the temp fits as much like your original teeth as possible. Then once they've got the teeth all nicely shaped, they take the final impressions, which the lab will use to make the permanent. Sorry this was unexpected, but it's perfectly normal and standard.

I've never had a temporary bridge, but I've had plenty of temporary crowns. Given the amount of work you had done, I'd expect your gums and surrounding tissue feel pretty tender and swollen. Ibuprofin helps a lot with this, as do warm salt water rinses. You should start to feel normal pretty soon. Definitely see your dentist to have that molar adjusted, and while you're there, have them check the fit of the bridge. You definitely don't have to lisp forever, or even for a few weeks! It may be that your bite is not normal due to the high filling on the molar. It's also possible that they built up the inside surface of the bridge a little high, and it's getting in the way of your tongue. Or it might be that you're still just swollen up and adjusting to having new stuff in your mouth. (Which usually subsided in a day or so.) But the bottom line is, your temporaries should feel comfortable and "normal" within 24-48 hours, if not sooner. It's pretty common to need to go back for a quick bite adjustment or two, particularly after the amount of work you had done.

One bit of advice: if possible, have the adjustment made without anesthetic. The drilling that the dentist will do is ENTIRELY on the artificial parts, not on the teeth themselves. So there's no chance of any pain. The reason this is recommended is that it's easier for you to feel your proper bite when you're not all numb and feeling puffy. So the adjustment will be better. (Also, no shots!) That said, your dentist should never force you to work without anesthetic. If you can't stomach the drill anywhere near your mouth without a good numb feeling, then the dentist will get you numbed up before starting. I always get the willies sitting down and just starting right up, but you really can't feel anything.

Great job again!!! It won't be long before you're smiling and eating normal again.
 
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