“Jenny” is a 15-year-old young lady who came to our office as a referral from her mother after she had orthodontic care. She had really skinny laterals and the orthodontist sent her over to have veneers, bonding or crowns done. The lateral teeth, the ones that are just to the side of your upper front teeth, are the most common to be either missing or misshapen. When they are misshapen, they are most commonly really, really skinny, sometimes called peg laterals. Before we addressed adding width to the teeth I wanted to know if there was anything else that bothered her about her smile. She thought that she showed too much gum, had too much pink to white ratio when she smiled. I would agree with her. How were we going to correct the misshapen teeth? How did we correct the issues with showing too much gum in the smile? Was a gum lift required? Was there any pain involved with the treatment?
With her smile, if we increased the width of her lateral incisors then they would become really wide. In fact, they would look like rectangles laying down horizontally. Nice looking teeth are rectangles vertically sitting upright. If we were to widen those teeth it would have just looked odd, too wide, almost like a barn door. We had to start with the gums and bring that procedure to completion before we were able to address the misshapen teeth.
To address the pink to white ratio and widening her teeth, we performed a gum lift procedure. We lifted up the gums on the teeth to make the teeth longer so that when we widen them, it would be vertical rectangles sitting upright, as opposed to rather than laying down horizontal. The best order to follow to restore her smile was to lift and align the gums and whiten the natural God given tooth structure. Once that was complete we will add the filling material to widen the teeth to their ideal shape and contour. The gum lift has very minor pain involved in the treatment.
After the gum lift was complete, she was left to heal for approximately 12 weeks. during those 12 weeks she began to do some whitening on her teeth so that when we added filling material to her teeth it would match. We added bonding or filling material to the lateral incisors. She and her mom and I chose not to do anything porcelain such as veneers or crowns. I think in her case it was smart, as we could get a really great result without having to go that route. In fact, our job as dentists is to do as little amount of dentistry as possible to get the same result that the patient wants and/or needs to get the teeth back to health and beauty. Therefore, we added some filling materials to widen the teeth after the gums had fully healed and after she had done her whitening. We waited until after she had done her whitening to add the filling material because natural teeth whiten, God given natural tooth structure whitens but filling material or crowns or veneers, anything man made is not going to whiten.
We ended up with a really great result and a result that she is really happy and confident with. She no longer covers her mouth when she smiles. In fact, she has so much confidence in her smile that it beams.
We offer the full breadth of dental services at Reflections Dental Care in Oklahoma City. Call 405-751-4556 to set up a consultation or visit www.backup120517.mystagingwebsite.com for more information. Lance R. Schmidt D.D.S. is the owner/proprietor of Reflections Dental Care. Follow us on Twitter.