If you follow me on Instagram you know I love to preach self love & confidence, but also am human and have my own insecurities. One thing that has made me SO self conscious my entire life is my smile.. well, my teeth. I love smiling- smiling’s my favorite!! But my teeth were always something I wished I could change if I had the opportunity.
“But why would you change your teeth, you’re teeth are perfect?!”
We are human & all have things about ourselves that maybe we only see. I never had braces, even though I was jealous of all the kids in middle school who would come to school during the holidays with new green & red metal colors. Or envy the ones in middle school who came back at lunch with sparkling new, straight teeth. I never got that. My bite has always been great so my mom with 3 kids found no reason to spend thousands of dollars when I didn’t NEED them. I had spaces & stains that I could live with.
Should I try Invisilign first?
I’ve done Invisilign & it’s GREAT. Invisilign is basically a clear mouth guard that is formed to your teeth & slowly over time as the guards slightly change, so do your teeth. They are basically clear braces you wear 22 hours a day. Each case is different but you can count on wearing that guard for at least a year. Every 2 weeks you change your guard & it hurts like a bitch for a couple days then your teeth adjust naturally. When you’re all done with your trays you then will have a permanent retainer to keep all that hard work in place.
The downfall of Invisilign is that well, you have to wear a tray 22 hours a day for a year straight. It’s pretty embarrassing when you’re out with friends and want to take a bite of food so you literally have to slurp the spit out of your tray & secretly take it out & put it into your purse. This runs anywhere from $2,000-$4,000.
Also, if you are worried about the size of your teeth or gums like me, then Invisilign won’t change that. While Invisilign helped me with my gaps, it didn’t change the things I hated most about my teeth- the small size & how my gums showed when I smiled big.
That’s when I sucked it up & called Dr. Sarah Winters in La Jolla (San Diego, CA).
First step, research:
The first thing you should consider when making the decision to invest in veneers is research the best cosmetic dentist. YES, COSMETIC dentist. These are different from your generic dentist and they have a very special set of skills *Liam Neeson voice,* have ongoing continued education in the cosmetic field, & their primary focus is to make you look & feel your best.
A great tool these days is Instagram. I stalked so many cosmetic dentists profiles. Look at their before & afters, as well as their tagged pics to see patient’s smiles in real life.
Okay but how much do they cost?
Every case is unique just like every smile is different. Your dentist will give you their suggestions on what they think would look best. Initially I went in thinking I only wanted 4 veneers but ended up getting 8 because it made my smile appear much more natural, which was KEY for me!
On average a veneer will cost anywhere from $1,000- $2,500 each tooth. Yes, that is the price PER tooth. But remember, this is a lifetime decision & investment in YOU. It may seem like a big payment upfront, but many offices have financing options, and there’s always #creditandforgetit. I will say.. it’s worth every penny. It’s more than a surface level appearance investment, it’s something that will help you increase your confidence ten fold. To me, that is absolutely worth it.
Next, make multiple consultations
This is a BIG decision, change & investment, something you hope you only have to do once every 20 years if done correctly. Yes, I said correctly. Sadly there are some BAD veneers out there which means that doctor didn’t know wtf they were doing. So do your research, make multiple visits to different doctors and see what they have to say. Something that was huge for me was how much my dentist cared about me. Dr. Winters & I hit if off at my initial consultation & every since then I looked forward to our visits- who looks FORWARD to the dentist? Well, when they do fabulous work & truly care about YOU & your smile, and listen to your wants & needs for your new desired smile, that goes a long way. It was a personal relationship and she is now one of my dear friends.
X-Rays, Scans, Teeth Cleaning, Game Plan, etc
After your initial consult you’ll go in to prepare for your temporaries. This entire process isn’t that long truthfully. Once I decided on Dr. Winters, I went in to get a thorough teeth cleaning. This allowed the doc to see where my current smile was- not just my teeth, but my gums. I learned that GUMS are KEY to beautiful veneers. You know when you see bad veneers and the teeth look separated from the gums, which ultimately make the teeth LOOK fake? Those people have bad gums. When I learned this the first thing I did when I got home was purchase a WaterPik, which is a water flosser and within 30 days my gums were READY for veneers!
TRICK! I mix my WaterPik with Gum Control mouthwash + water to get a double duty gum cleaning effect.
During this time I would also DM Dr. Winters (& probably annoy her, whoopsie) with smiles I liked & wanted. I would rather give her more examples than less!! Our “pre-op” visit we went over the exact smile I wanted & made sure we included lots of different colors & transparency in my new teeth- this part is crucial for achieving a natural looking smile, so be sure to ask your doc about this. From there she sent our vision off to the lab to create my temporaries!
Smile Preview: Temporaries
Once you’ve had the consult with your doctor & are on the same page with the type of smile you want, you’ll wear temporaries anywhere from 2-4 weeks. This is the first “heavy duty” visit where you’ll go under. I opted for medication & numbing shot because I’d rather not be fully aware of everything going on. Like child birth- why would I push a baby out without modern medicine when I could get an epidural and make the process a little easier on me pain wise?
This process takes roughly 3 hours. This is the part where they shave down your teeth. Yes, they shave them down. Each case is unique and everyone wants different things. For me, I already had small & gapped teeth to begin with so she only had to shave down 5-10% of my teeth. From there they essentially superglue the temporaries on. That’s exactly what these 2 weeks are- temporary. It gives you a chance to wear your new teeth, get used to them, and make any changes you might want.
My dentist was SPOT ON with my wants and needs so we didn’t have to change much. I just wanted them whiter because you can’t whiten veneers so I wanted them as white as possible!
Temporaries DO fall out. This is common, sad & frustrating. Because they’re superglued on (I’m sure there is a technical term for this but the strength & smell is like super glue, haha), they aren’t nearly as strong as the true veneers. Once I was out on a date, mid bite into a lettuce wrap, bam, tooth fell off. Out to dinner with friends? That damn enchilada popped another one off. This happened 4 times. I was so frustrated & getting cold feet. I became fearful of eating!! Especially in public places. Thankfully I had lots of friends with veneers who let me know this is normal and happened to them, too.
The Big Day
A few weeks after temporaries you go in for the big day!!! YES!!! This was something I had been waiting for my entire life it seemed like. This procedure is similar to the temporaries appointment. It last 3-4 hours depending on your case, and again I had numbing shots and medication. The medication I was prescribed was FAB. I had a Zanax the night before so I woke up verrrrry chill- no nerves, no second guessing, just ready to change my appearance for the better and enjoy a couple hours of Netflix binge (yes, my doc has Netflix tvs set up for you during the procedure!!)
Here they shave down your teeth even more and then apply each individual veneer. The veneers are strong as rock and legit porcelain. What your toilet’s made out of? Ya, that’s what my teeth are made of. They are now cemented on and VERY sturdy. You can eat steak, burger, whatever you want (but I still stay away from biting into apples as I’ve heard that’s the #1 way to lose a veneer).
I was pretty loopy the remainder of my day, and I absolutely suggest you have someone drive you or get a driver as you won’t be able to drive under the influence of prescription medication. I just relaxed the rest of the day and woke up with a brand new smile. My gums were pretty swollen for about 4 days but went down to normal and I was back to using my WaterPik.
A week or so after your procedure you’ll go in for a final polish to give your teeth a natural shine. My dentist made sure everything was great, that I loved everything as is, asked if I would make any changes.. and honestly, I wouldn’t change a single thing. My new smile is SO NATURAL LOOKING. It’s INSANE. You wouldn’t know I had veneers unless I told you, which is EXACTLY the look I was going for.
*This is a before picture of my teeth & an after with my temporaries*
So are veneers for you?
Veneers are for everyone quite frankly. Bigger, straighter, brighter, whiter teeth, what’s not to love? I’m a fan. All in all the entire process takes about 4-5 visits, not time consuming at all, and worth EVERY penny once you’re willing to accept it might hurt your bank account for a little. But like I said earlier, this is a lifetime investment in YOU, & the best investment you can ever make is in yourself. Find a dentist who isn’t there just to take your money, but genuinely cares about YOU and your needs. It’s like searching for a best friend, someone you trust.
If you’re wondering if veneers are worth the journey.. yes, yes they absolutely are.
Feel free to comment below or DM me with any further questions!!
7776 Ivanhoe Ave., Suite 100
La Jolla, CA 92037
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