Braces and bridges at 30– Was it worth it?
The final results of my braces at 30 + cosmetic dentistry experience!
It’s been just over two months since my last Braces at 30 update when I made the decision to have two bridges with false teeth.
A lot has been happening and I am pleased to say that after 2 years and 7 months of starting my braces and cosmetic dentistry journey, my teeth are finally finished... but was it worth it?!
Read on to discover what has happened at all the appointments to get my bridges fitted, whether I think cosmetic dentistry is worth it and to see my final before and after braces photos!
What’s been happening?
So I just tallied them up and I’ve had eight dentist appointments and one orthodontic appointment since my last update. Phew!
Here’s what the 8 dentist appointments were for:
- To pick up my whitening kit and learn what to do. I used PolaNight for two weeks which worked really well and lightened my teeth several shades.
- The next appointment was around two weeks later so as they could colour match my teeth for the final bridge. I had my teeth prepared for the bridges and it was quite a horrible experience! After having the braces for 2.5 years I was used to having people working in my mouth, but this was next level. I had no less than ten injections in my mouth to numb the whole top half of my mouth; including in that bit of skin that attaches the lip to the top gum in the middle – ouch! I didn’t feel a thing with all this numbing, but they worked for almost two hours on my teeth filing them down to peg teeth.
My dentist then added a temporary bridge to the teeth which looked great, although a bit too white! This was amazing though as I thought they might just put something in my retainer like they had before to cover the gaps. It meant I could actually eat food, though not hard foods or foods that would stain, and not have to worry about the retainer or missing teeth or peg teeth. I started to feel like I had my mouth back after all these years and began to feel confident about the bridges I had decided on.
Once the numbness wore off from all the anaesthetic, I had swollen and bruised lips for days, right up to my nose. Once that calmed down my whole upper gum became ulcerated and sore for a few days. Finally it healed, just in time for them to do it again at appointment number 4, below.
- I had a check-up a few days later to check how my mouth was and to ensure I had no tooth pain. It was also an opportunity to see what I liked and disliked about the shape of the temporary bridge. I was able to really choose what I wanted my permanent false teeth to look like before they were made.
- We had hoped to fit the permanent bridges at this appointment, but instead my teeth needed preparing more. This was a horrible appointment again as they had to hack off the first permanent bridge! It was another 1-2 hours in the chair with what felt like a zillion injections of anaesthetic in my upper gum again to numb everything and more filing my teeth down! My mouth had only just healed from the first time we did all this and so I went through it all again! A second set of temporary bridges were fitted to my teeth and these were not attached so tightly so I had to be more careful when eating. This was so they were easier to get off for the real bridge fitting.
- I did get a crack in these teeth and one was hanging off so I had to go back to have some adhesive to hold it in place until the next appointment!
- The big day came and I had my real bridge fitting! I was a little disappointed by the shape and size of the teeth at first, but my cosmetic dentist is a perfectionist and he also wants it to be right for me so he spent time filing them down and reshaping until I was happy they were perfect for me. More numbing and more hacking off the temporary bridge, but it was nowhere as near as bad as the last two fittings. My permanent bridge looked great, but there were a couple of gaps between the canines (the end of each bridge) and the next teeth along. He said not to worry and he’d do something about this.
- Another appointment to check the bridge and do some adjustments. I felt the front teeth were too long and I prefer them closer to the length of the lateral incisors, so these were filed down to a length I was happy with. The dentist had thought of putting veneers on the teeth next to my canines so it all blended in and covered the gaps that had been created, which I was very frustrated with after 2.5 years of braces and eradicating all gaps only to now have some again, but instead he did some cosmetic bonding to build those teeth up and cover most of the gaps.
- Another appointment a few days later to check everything and show me how to clean them. I have to use interdental brushes and also super floss which goes over the false teeth and under the gum line which is taking a bit of getting used to! Obviously you wouldn’t normally be able to floss under the gum line and over the top of the teeth! Cringe!
So that’s all the dentist appointments to fit the bridge! I have one more this week which I think is just to check how I’m getting on with cleaning and see how the gum is settling over the bridge.
The one orthodontist appointment I had was a three month check after I had my bottom brace off. It was to confirm my retainers were still fitting correctly and the teeth were all staying in place. They all are and so I’m totally signed off from the orthodontist and don’t need any more appointments with them. Woo-hoo!
Is cosmetic dentistry worth it?
I am so pleased with the final results. It’s been a long frustrating process, I’m not going to lie, but it has been 100% worth it. I used to be hugely embarrassed of my teeth. I would never ever smile and show my teeth. In fact I pretty much hid from the camera altogether as I was so self-conscious of my face. Ben was used to me snatching his phone and deleting photos of myself. It just upset me so much to see my face and know what I looked like. Even at my own wedding we chose to have a lifestyle photographer who took natural candid photos of people as I dreaded the thought of having to pose smiling – I’d not show my teeth smiling and always looked so awkward forcing my mouth closed to smile for a photo when naturally I’d be beaming with it open!
At the start of my journey I had no lateral incisors. I had my adult canine teeth next to my front teeth and my baby canines were still in place next to these! It was a mess. One of my adult canines was twisted so it looked like a fang! I’d been called a witch and a vampire by cruel people, even in adulthood. I know I should have ignored these comments, but it was so hard to not let it hurt me as I myself didn’t like my teeth. If someone made a rude remark about my hair, for example, I wouldn’t have cared as my hair doesn’t bother me. But because I felt embarrassed and self-conscious of my teeth every single day, if someone did say something nasty then it cut deep.
I’ve always lacked confidence to even talk to people or address a crowd because I’ve been so embarrassed by my teeth and what others must be thinking. It’s amazing now to not have to feel embarrassed with my own face when I talk to people. For me, this issue went deeper than my teeth as I hated my nose too and I had rhinoplasty last April. Having my teeth now complete is the last piece in my journey and it just feels so amazing to now be able to get on with my life without worrying about what my face looks like.
I also have barely any photos of me and my children, which is one big reason I decided to go through this lengthy process of sorting my teeth out once and for all. I want to treasure these memories whilst my children are young and not feel too embarrassed to pick up a camera and snap some photos of us all. I’ve always avoided the camera, but I don’t want my children to not have photos of me. If the awful should happen then they’d currently have barely any images of us together to remember me by.
For me I also had a bigger reason to go through with it all as my baby teeth which were still in my mouth were becoming loose. If they had fallen out then I would have had gaps. It seemed silly to me to replace those with false teeth and go through all that hassle to replace teeth I didn’t like, so it started the whole process of me finding out what to do to get the perfect smile and rid of all the baby teeth once and for all.
So yes, for me cosmetic dentistry has absolutely been worth it. It’s stopped me from being embarrassed of my face every day, it’s stopped me being camera shy and creating memories for my children and it’s stopped me being self-conscious when talking to others. It’s also allowed me to smile with my teeth on show – something I’d always avoid before! It’s going to be a huge boost to my confidence and best of all I just feel normal. I never felt like I had normal teeth or a normal face and now I do.
If like me, your teeth massively affect your day to day happiness and confidence then search locally for a free dental consultation if possible, otherwise you may need to pay. My consultation was around £100, but they took this off the final bill. A consultation is the best way to see what can be achieved and how much it costs.
My case was quite extreme and involved over two years of metal braces, tooth removal, bridges and cosmetic bonding, but most people with less complicated cases can achieve a perfect smile much quicker and with less intrusion. Ben, my husband, is even thinking of improving his smile as his teeth are becoming wonky from his wisdom teeth pushing them together, but for him it would be a much simpler process simply to straighten the teeth. It would be much quicker too!
There are much quicker ways to straighten your teeth if you don’t have as many issues as I did. If you have fewer issues than I did, or even just one issue you want to correct with your teeth then you could be suitable for a faster treatment such as Invisalign or Suresmile which are offered by Milwaukee Orthodontics Services in Wisconsin if you’re in the US, or you can search for your nearest local provider. For me, I needed baby teeth removed, I had completely missing adult teeth that just never formed and my teeth were not in the right position. For example, my canine was next to my front tooth instead of in the third position! I also had gaps and wonky teeth, so I had a lot of teeth issues to correct cosmetically making me a candidate for traditional metal braces only.
It’s all over
I can’t believe it is all over, well I think it is! I do now have a permanent retainer on the back of both sets of teeth and I have plastic retainers which I have to wear every few nights. If they start feeling really tight then I just have to wear them for a little longer. Hopefully the bridges, which cover 6 of my front teeth and the bonding on the next two teeth along from that, will last for a decade or more and I won’t have any issues. Perhaps if I do I will update you, but for now I think that’s the end of this chapter of my life. It definitely is for the braces anyhow. Adios braces!
Adult braces before + after photos
In case you’ve not been following my story, then here are some photos during the brace process:
-1 month to 22 months with traintrack brace
My entire braces & false teeth journey from start to finish!
Here are all the blog posts of my braces and false teeth journey, starting right at the beginning. I wrote a blog update every step of the way.
First orthodontist consultation
Making the decision to get false teeth and braces at 30
Braces booking appointment and moulds
Dentist appointment to check teeth for removal
Two baby teeth removed ready for adult braces
What happened at my first brace tightening appointment
4 months with adult braces and another tightening appointment
One week after my third braces tightening
Bottom brace fitting and biting blocks
6th brace tightening and update
7th brace tightening and update
Elastics added to my braces from top to bottom
False tooth impression taken for my brace
Temporary false tooth on brace
Braces closing gaps and improving overbite
13th braces tightening appointment
22 months with an adult brace before and after
15th tightening appointment braces photos
2 year update with adult braces
17th brace tightening at 24 months with an adult brace
My last braces tightening appointment?
The embarrassing day I get my top brace removed
Essix retainer with false tooth - fitting and photos
20th braces tightening appointment
28 months - bottom brace removed!
12 reasons I hate the clear Essix retainer
Hawley retainer fitting appointment
The partial denture disappointment
5 weeks until I get my bridges and false teeth!
The final result of my braces at 30 and false teeth
Before and after braces photos
Braces blog posts
12 reasons I hate the clear plastic Essix retainer
Braces at 30 - read my entire adult braces experience here
Disappointment with my NHS denture
The decision to have two bridges with false teeth
Was having braces and false teeth worth it?
How much do adult braces cost? + 4 ways to finance them
Adult braces: what are biting blocks?
Please pin me to your beauty boards: