You may not have noticed, but you never see my teeth in my photos. I hate my front teeth.
When I was a kid, I borrowed a friend's banana-seat bike to ride round the crescent we lived on. It was a good ride for a fit little kid like I was. A nice loop that went up high and then came down past a whole block's worth of houses with a gentle but firm swoop. Such fun to ride! Except I blew it. I took a header over the unfamiliar handlebars and landed incisors first on the tarmac. What followed was a painful 1970s root canal, topped off by a massive shiny silver crown on one of my front teeth. I already was a US expat living in rural New Brunswick (the Canada one), where I was mercilessly mocked for my New Brunswick (the New Jersey one) accent. I didn't fare much better in our next home, London (Ontario), where the crescent was located. I was already a weirdo and now I was a weirdo with a shiny silver tooth in the front of her face.
For years, dentists experimented with new! dental! technology! on my front teeth, which left teen Amy <- with a lumpy yellowish thing that vaguely approximated the shape of a front tooth, made up of the new composite materials that dentists were using in the 1970s and was a totally different size than the tooth next to it. In my 20s, I got that front tooth capped, and was left with an incisor that was more tooth shaped, but not the right color for to match the rest of my mouth, topped off with a thin rim of metal that you can see if I open my mouth wide enough. I rarely do. I couldn't afford to fix it again, and I had enough dental PTSD that I just couldn't face it even if someone had gifted me a mouth full of pretty new teeth.
There it is ->. One of my two big, ugly chiclets right up front where everyone can see them. Right next to them are two smaller-than-normal teeth. Lucky me. You probably think, "it's not that bad." But it's not your mouth. It's that bad to me and I've hated my smile since I was that little girl with the ice-blue eyeshadow.
Something happened in my 50s and I started to pull myself together a bit at a time. Divorce does that for some of us. I got the tattoo you can see on my right arm in an attempt to reclaim and love my body at its current size. It has helped. A lot. One of the best things I did was a) find a sweet partner who conveniently has great health insurance and b) start saving regularly using an app called Moka (no affiliation). This has resulted in me having saved enough money to cover what the insurance won't as I get my four front teeth fixed. Properly, this time.
My current (and hopefully last) dentist is a lovely man who knows how to freeze my mouth the first time, before he works on me, a feat that no previous dentist has able to achieve in my 6 decades on this planet. He's done enough work on me already (including crowns and another root canal – painless this time) that I trust him to do this most intimate and important restoration. He showed me the mockup of what it should look like and I was...confused. My mouth just looked normal. Where was the big change? Then he swiped the image back to my actual teeth, and there were the jarringly big yellow chiclets again. Ugh. I swiped back between the two images over and over, trying to process it.
So now, at 61, I will soon have my new smile, which includes whitening the teeth that aren't changing. And if it turns out well, I'll be smiling wide in all my future headshots. It's never too late to fix something that makes you unhappy, especially when the fix is this easy.