Great News!

Last week I excitedly went in for my appointment with my area’s most reputable periodontist. I thought I knew what I needed but was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was wrong. Rather than having another gingivectomy, my case requires something slightly more invasive however it would deliver an instant, more dramatic result: crown lengthening paired with a lip stabilization surgery (also called ‘lip lowering’ or ‘lip repositioning’). He was impressed that I had prepared some before and after photos to show him (Yes, I’m a nerd.) and assured me that my ideal “after” wasn’t too far from a possible reality. Plus my top lip would be fuller and cover most of the exposed gingiva.

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simulation of crown lengthening without lip repositioning

I’m all for the crown lengthening and think that it alone will do wonders for my smile. After studying my x-rays and examining under my gums with a measuring probe, Dr. K determined how many millimeters of tissue and bone would need to be removed. I lucked out. Some people have short teeth and the enamel stops at the bone. My enamel actually goes up under the bone making it possible for me to have it removed to expose natural, beautiful teeth (ME? Beautiful teeth?? NO WAY!). This is one reason why some people need porcelain veneers during their crown lengthening process… because they were born with shorter teeth. Just one more thing for me to be thankful for, right?

Here are a few examples of crown lengthening, along with their respective sources, that I pulled from the interwebz.

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Please take note that these photos do not belong to me. If you click on the pictures, you’ll be directed to their original source. I chose these examples because the procedures were clearly performed by a doctor who knew what they were doing.

The lip stabilization surgery is something that I’ve contemplated for a while now but always assumed it was way too out of the box to even be considered. I didn’t realize it was such a simple process though! Take a look at some more before and afters I’ve found via Google. In particular, I really like Dr. Farnoosh’s work (my first two examples, and in the past he’s given me permission to link to his website) but he’s on the west coast and I’m on the east, so it’s just out of the question… he might as well be on the other side of the world.

I’m assuming the first patient below had crown lengthening done as well. WOW!

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And lastly, this YouTube video.

But as usual, things aren’t as awesome as they sound. There is always a downfall, right? When I shyly mentioned my insecurities to my orthodontist about my “gummy smile” (god, I hate that term and I pray for the chance that I’ll never have to use it again very soon) she tried reassuring me that eventually my lip would move further down as I age. My periodontist confirmed this too.

I get it! But here’s the deal… who in the hell wants to put off having a pretty smile until they’re eligible for a senior citizen discount?? NOT ME. Because let me tell you something about gravity and body parts– you don’t get to pick and choose which ones are assholes first. Pop out a kid and that shit accelerates!

 

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At the rate of the chart above, my mouth might look normal when I’m about 178… I ain’t got time for that!

me

JEEZUS.

Regardless of the possible outcome though, people who have never experienced the extreme insecurities that “excessive gingival display” can inflict on everyday life have zero idea how life changing this surgery could be! People like my husband. The guy with freakishly perfect teeth.

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He says he loves my smile ‘just the way it is’, and I understand that. I wouldn’t want him to change a damn thing about his appearance, but I also understand that if there was something that he wanted to change that has bothered him his entire conscious life –and there was an easy fix– I’d be okay with that. Within reason of course. Do you get where I’m going with this? Yep. He doesn’t want me to do the surgery.

Though he won’t voluntarily admit it, I think it may be because of my past luck with shelling out tons of cash for, as he sees it, an unachievable result. The crown lengthening alone is $1,800. I believe that after watching me go through all this bullshit with my current orthodontist, he’s lost all hope in cosmetic dentistry, et cetera. Yes, I totally disagree with the notion that orthodontics is purely cosmetic!

Anyway, I’ve got several weeks until my next appointment. Regardless, I will be getting a fiberotomy on one of my rotated teeth. Hopefully by then, I will have convinced him that his “hot wife” can be even hotter.

 

Fiberotomy

Tomorrow I’ll be going in for a consultation with my area’s most reputable periodontist to inquire about undergoing a fiberotomy procedure. While I’m there we’ll also discuss the possibility of having a second gingivectomy. I’m more excited about the latter because of the drastic difference it could make in my smile.

If you’re unfamiliar with these terms, I’ll explain: A gingivectomy, in short, is a near-painless procedure where the doctor basically lasers away excess gum tissue to contour your teeth. I know gingivectomies are done for other health related issues too, but this is why I’m wanting one. Solely for aesthetic purposes. And from Wikipedia, a fiberotomy “is an orthodontic surgical procedure designed to sever the gingival fibers around a tooth. It usually reduces the tendency to relapse of tooth rotations corrected by braces or other treatments. The most frequently encountered post-orthodontic problem is the retention of re-established tooth position. Relapse (drifting of the tooth back to its position prior to orthodontic correction) may occur anywhere, but it is often associated with teeth that have undergone rotation (twisting) as part of the orthodontic therapy. A fiberotomy involves the detachment of the fibers that attach the tooth to the bone via the gum. The fibers act much like twisted rubber bands and releasing the tension between the fibers and the tooth reduces the forces that attempt to pull the tooth back to its original position. It is performed near the completion of the orthodontics and is shown to be effective in preventing the relapse of teeth. To perform this procedure, the area around the tooth is numbed and simple cuts are made along the gum to sever the fibers; this procedure is painless as long as the patient takes an analgesic after the numbing has worn off.”

I’m not so worried about the healing process with the gingivectomy because I experienced my first one as a nine-year-old kid when I went for a teeth cleaning. While I was there, my dentist asked my mom if the procedure was something we’d be interested in and of course I said yes. I was tired of the little assholes at school calling me gummy bear.

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I remember returning to class not too long afterward. No pain. I was still growing then, so my dentist could only remove so much and it obviously wasn’t enough.

Now the fiberotomy on the other hand… that one seems pretty scary. I just tried watching a YouTube video of an actual procedure… I got about 14 seconds in, and then immediately got the hell outta there. Nope nope nope. Cannot watch that! I’m no sissy when it comes to dental shots and procedures, but that’s probably because I’ve never actually seen what goes on- and I’m not about to start now.

Here’s a more G-rated animation that will only turn your stomach just slightly.

Also, here are side by side pictures of how I’d like my gums to be contoured.

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This after picture is the product of some pretty shoddy photoshop. I used the liquify tool which is basically just pushing around pixels so the specular highlights on my teeth are in unnatural spots… this is merely an idea. Of course, whether we can do this or not is contingent upon the anatomy of my actual bone. My fingers are crossed. Most people have to pair this procedure with veneers which is something I definitely don’t want. I’m not even considering it an option.

I’ll report back tomorrow with what he says!