A journey to a new smile

Author: Dr Aushi Patel

I have been a dentist for almost 25 years and for most of these I have been self-conscious about my smile. This can be surprising for people to hear and challenging for a dentist to admit! If I were to look at photos of myself, all the way back to my teens, they all show me smiling with my mouth closed.  I was too self-conscious about how my teeth looked to ever really feel confident to smile big for photos.

 A combination of growing up in countries overseas with fluoridated public water supplies and being given extra fluoride supplements as a child had resulted in my adult teeth coming through with a mottled appearance known as “fluorosis”. Since I was a teenager they always seemed to look dark and lacked lustre.

I’ve also always loved a cup of tea and for many years a cup of strong herbal tea has been my drink to sip throughout the working day. Despite being one of the heathier options for a drink, it is dark in colour and rich in tannins which are a cause of staining. My teeth were just getting progressively darker with time!

To add to this, I grind my teeth in my sleep, so my teeth became very worn down over time. Although I am a dentist, I am often not the best patient and did not start wearing a protective night splint until it was too late – the damage had been done. My teeth had become so short that they were barely visible under my lip when I smiled.

The combination of these 2 things made me feel extremely self-conscious about smiling and had a real impact on my self-confidence.

I knew I couldn’t correct the length and shape of my teeth without veneers, but I thought before I go down this path that I would try teeth whitening. I tried both ‘in chair whitening’ (which is more intense) and also “at home whitening” using a safe hydrogen peroxide based gel.  Unfortunately, because they were worn down my teeth were too sensitive for both methods- I was not a candidate for teeth whitening.

I think people often have the perception that dentists do not have dental anxiety.  This certainly was not true for me! Having had some traumatic dental experiences in the past I consider myself a very nervous patient!  In fact, it was though the lens of a “very nervous patient”, not a dentist, that motivated me to create the calming and tranquil space that Anokhi Dental is today.

When I knew the only way I would get the beautiful smile and strong teeth I had always wanted would be with veneers, I certainly felt some anxiety.  It felt invasive and having followed a minimally invasive philosophy for all of my dental career this somehow did not feel aligned with my philospohies. After much research and several professional opinions I knew that veneers would be the best treatment to restore my teeth to strength and improve my smile.

I was ready for veneers and started planning under the care of my dentist Dr Nick Kulkarni and the ceramic technician. We agreed that as my teeth were already so worn down that the preparation or “tooth cutting” would be very minimal. I was very relieved to know this!

As I was concerned about my already sensitive teeth getting worse I wore trays filled with Tooth Mousse for one hour a day for 6 weeks before treatment started to improve the mineralisation and reduce the sensitivity of my teeth.

The process itself then took 3 visits for each arch. Dr Nick Kulkarni worked on the upper teeth first and then the following month he worked on the lower teeth.  Each visit took a couple of hours. As a nervous patient it was nice to be on the other side and enjoy the comforts offered at Anokhi Dental such as the aromatherapy oils, weighted blanket and soothing meditation music!

 When the day came for the veneers to be fitted I was nervous and excited! When I looked in the mirror I was so happy with my teeth! I felt really emotional as I first looked into the mirror.  My teeth and smile looked amazing.  In fact, even better than I had hoped. They were a beautiful shade of white and looked very natural. They also felt strong. I wish I had done it sooner!

 Given I am a teeth grinder, one thing I do is wear my mouth splint at night without fail to protect my veneers. And ,of course, excellent oral hygiene is a must to keep my underlying teeth healthy!

Perhaps you can relate to my story? You may not need (or be a candidate for) veneers but it may be worth considering this option or other options to improve or protect your smile. Perhaps it is a simple course of teeth whitening or investing in a protective mouth splint if you are grinding your teeth. Or maybe your beautiful natural smile lies in veneers? Why not book an appointment with one of our experienced dentists to find out more?

 If you are unhappy with the appearance of your teeth and would like to know more about what can be done, call us today 02 9264 5195, email info@anokhidental.com.au or make an appointment online at www.anokhidental.com.au.

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