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METAL Mouth no more?

Sarah Connor will soon be pleased with my teeth. Why? Because the metal got an eviction notice. Translation: I'm getting my braces off!!!!!!!!

Wait. Halt. Stop cheering.

Those exclamation points of excitement were a bit premature. See, there's a slight problem with this celebration: I'm not happy with my top front teeth. Just one top front tooth, actually. And the more I look at it, the more I think it's positioned wrong. After staring at it in the mirror for a few days, I asked some family members what they thought.

"Looks great," they said. Augh. So it's just me? It's just my eyes that think this tooth looks funky?

PhotoShop to the rescue! I'm not sure if I hoped to convince myself the tooth was okay or hoped to convince them it wasn't, but I took a picture and did some editing. First, I just "filed" the bottom edges of my front teeth to simulate what I think they'll look when the orthodontist is finished (he said he was going to file them when the braces come off, to even them up). Meh. Even with smoothed edges, that one tooth still looked *off* to me. So I played around a little—pulled the tooth down a tiny bit, turned it a tiny bit, then filed the bottom edges. Aha! Now it looks good to me.

I showed these PhotoShopped pictures to my family, thinking I'd get a consensus of opinion. I got a split vote instead. So this is where you come in.

Yeah, they're my teeth and I'm the one who's worn braces for two years and paid thousands of dollars, so I'm the one who needs to be happy with them. But maybe this tooth is positioned correctly and it's more my perception of it that's skewed. The bottom edge of the tooth is worn or chipped or maybe just deformed, making it look different than the other one anyway, so it's hard to get a sense of straight vs crooked. That's why I think opinions are varied and probably why the orthodontist, with his precise measuring and bracket placement, thinks it's good to go while I think it's... not.

So tell me what you think. Is it just me or could this tooth be better positioned? In case it's not obvious, the tooth in question is top front left (top front right from your perspective).

What my teeth looked like before the braces went on:

What my teeth look like now (left pic), along with my simulation of how I think they'll look filed (right pic):

How I think my teeth could look if the tooth is repositioned (left pic) and how they'd look after filing (right pic):

By the way, with the exception of this controversial tooth, I'm extremely pleased with how my teeth have turned out. You can't tell from that first picture what my bottom teeth looked like before, but trust me, they were a DISASTER. Now they're awesome :)


( 9 comments — Add a comment )
Feb. 11th, 2014 10:21 pm (UTC)
Left Upper Incisor
Your simulated filing appears to be higher on YOUR left, which exaggerates the effect I believe you are concerned about. It looks to me that treatment pushed LUI deeper into its socket, and possibly moved the bottom of it left a little, judging by the vertical edge closest to the canine.

I had to look really hard to see it, and as long as the filing is done straight and level across the bottom of both incisors, I don't think anyone will see what you're worried about.

OTOH, if you've really become attached to the Metal, you can insist that it saves you... ;-)
Feb. 11th, 2014 10:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Left Upper Incisor
Thanks for the unput.

Yes, both of the center front teeth were pushed up to correct the deep bite. The original plan the orthodontist had was to make the lowest point of the "good" tooth line up with the highest point of the irregular tooth and then file (so mostly it would just be filing off that low hanging nub).

Where I think the glitch lies is in the rotation of the tooth. The short part of its edge was originally horizontal and now it angles upward, away from the other tooth. In order to even the teeth up with no curvature to them, I think they end up looking too short and blunt. What I was doing with my filing/shaping was mimicking the natural curve of the good tooth.

Not sure if you were able to follow that, but here are two other pictures that might help illustrate.

Teeth as they are now with a horizontal line drawn in:

How they'd look in current position with straight across filing:

^I filed up as far as needed to make the high point of the tooth disappear. I think they look unnaturally short like that. Your thoughts?
Feb. 12th, 2014 01:50 am (UTC)
Re: Left Upper Incisor
They do look a little bit short, filed straight across, but not badly so. I think they would still look good, but would require more filing of the RUI. My gut doesn't like filing teeth, though my dentist is always wanting to even up my molars.

I'm used to seeing upper incisors slightly longer than the teeth on either side of them. Achieving that would involve pulling LUI back closer to his original position. You could then file both teeth LESS to even up the bottom edges. With the cost of more pain and waiting.

If you can stand it, you deserve to get the result you paid for, a result YOU are happy with.
Feb. 12th, 2014 08:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Left Upper Incisor
My central incisors do hang lower than the lateral incisors, just not anywhere to near the extreme that they did before. There's an illusion that they're up too high now because my laterals are undersized (the tiniest of my tiny teeth). If you google search pictures of people after braces, you'll find central incisors either end up even with the laterals or just slightly lower. I think it depends on the size and shape of the individual's teeth.

I'm surprised your dentist would want to file your teeth. I asked my dentist to file my front teeth years ago and he refused. He said you should never file away enamel. Yet people do it all the time. And after braces, I think it's pretty common. Years of uneven teeth cause years of uneven wear and when you spend a few years with metal brackets on your teeth and all the discomfort that goes with it, you start to get a little pickier about the finished product than you ever thought you would. And when I say you, I mean me ;)

I want as little filed as possible, though. That's kind of my reason for wanting this one tooth adjusted. I think if it stays where it is, it'd require more filing of both teeth to make them look similar. The same would be true if it was back in its original position (relative to the other tooth, I mean).

Anyway… I feel more comfortable now about delaying my braces removal and talking to the orthodontist about moving this tooth. I thought I needed other people to agree with me, but what I've discovered instead is that I'm solid on how I feel about it regardless of what anyone else thinks. I guess that revelation is what I really needed :)
Feb. 11th, 2014 10:57 pm (UTC)
I can see the SLIGHTEST of differences between what your teeth looks like now and the photoshopped version thereof. I can see no difference between the two photoshopped versions.
Feb. 12th, 2014 08:29 pm (UTC)
Well I guess that's better than if you could see an obvious difference and thought my altered version was awful ;)
Feb. 12th, 2014 07:23 am (UTC)
Ah, braces. I went through that in elementary and middle school. I was glad when it was over. Although lately I've been starting to worry that my overbite might be coming back...

I... cannot see any real difference between your before and after pictures up there, no matter how hard I look. Sorry. Maybe I'm just oblivious.
Feb. 12th, 2014 08:48 pm (UTC)
I've talked to so many people that had braces in their teen years that either got them again as adults or have thought about getting them again because their teeth moved. I think that's why they told me I'd have to wear a retainer all the time for several months, then every night for several months, then every few nights... forever. Teeth will eventually go back from whence they came if not restrained!

I'm wondering if it's my graphic designer eye that makes this so obvious to me and not so obvious to most others. I'm forever dealing with shapes and positioning—moving little anchor points a few pixels this way or that way in Adobe Illustrator to make things exactly how I want them. I've probably trained my eye to pick up on small details like this.
Feb. 13th, 2014 06:00 am (UTC)
Yeah, I really hope that I don't have to have braces again. I don't want to be walking around with braces at my age. Plus, I'm pretty sure that my insurance doesn't cover orthodontic work.
( 9 comments — Add a comment )


roxy burglar
Roxy Bisquaint

Roxy Bisquaint...

Is self-indulgent. Over thinks everything. Tweets too much. Looks really good in these jeans. Wants to eat butterscotch. Makes herself laugh. Obsesses about aging. Does some crunches. Lives with two ghosts. Procrastinates daily. Measures once, cuts twice. Hates Foo Fighters. Drinks lots of coffee (keep it coming). Puts spiders outside. Brings balance to the force. Draws a perfect curve. Enjoys dark chocolate. Bangs on the drums. Always gets in the slow line. Orders from a menu. Hopes to be reincarnated. Speaks fluent Sarah Connor. Cooks tasty crack theory. Loves a good storm. Dances like a dork. Picks some locks. Tips well. Refuses to share the popcorn. Dreams about the future. Ignores the clock. Sings off key. Has a superpower. Shoots the paper bad guys. Needs some eyeliner. Goes to bed at dawn. Can't resist good smut. Quotes movie lines. Eats whipped yogurt. Lets the story tell itself. Maintains a rich fantasy life. Knows all the mysteries of the gods and of the universe.

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