Forget the Chanel Jumbo that has been on my wishlist for countless years; the best accessory that I will ever own is my smile. Handbags may come and go but a winning smile never goes out of fashion and I’ve chosen to invest in mine.
Over the last few months I have been on my own exciting Smile Design journey with Ewan Bramley Dental Care in North Shields. This is the most sophisticated dental technology on the market which enables you to see the results of cosmetic and corrective dentistry before committing to the treatment.
This coming week, I will be having the dental work done which will enhance my smile to its best potential and give me the look that I’ve always wanted for my teeth. Enhancing my smile is a big commitment for me, as it would be for a lot of people which is why I decided to photograph and track my progress and review the service from start to finish on my blog.
I’m hoping that these posts will help others out there that are considering a cosmetic or corrective dental procedure. It isn’t a decision that I have taken lightly and I mean it when I say that this is something that I have wanted for as long as I can remember, which is a great starting point for this post.
I believe that your smile is powerful; it is your secret weapon for confidence and it can convey and evoke so many emotions. It has the power to light up a room, create a great first impression and a last memory. Smiling changes not only how you feel about yourself but how others see you too. It is one of the kindest gifts you can give someone and this makes it a timeless asset.
Smiling and smiling confidently are two very different things and your teeth play a big part in this. Some people are blessed with a Hollywood smile but for a lot of people, this is far from reality. A lot of dental issues are picked up as we grow up and are corrected in childhood but some of us still have dental hang ups as adults or experience insecurities with our teeth as we age, often through inefficient care.
I hated my teeth when I was a child and although I was mostly a bubbly, happy character, I didn’t have the sense of self that I do now to feel confident and open about my body and features. My teeth were the one part of me that I was the most self conscious of aesthetically and this really affected how I saw myself and how I smiled. I remember the top row being the worst as my two front teeth were considerably larger than the rest of my teeth but especially compared to the two either side of them and they were all really spaced out.
My two front teeth stuck out like a sore thumb because they weren’t straight; I didn’t just have a gap between them but a whopping great inverted V shape with one tooth looking like it was trying to escape out of the right hand side of my mouth and the other being far too preoccupied with what was going on with the left. I couldn’t bite into an apple, food would easily become lodged in the spaces between my teeth and this big gap felt really sensitive to cold food and when you’re an active kid that loves chasing after the ice cream van, that’s not a feature that you’re looking for with your teeth.
Kids can be so cruel and I remember being told that I was Goofy and had Bugs Bunny teeth on one too many occasions which only heightened the way I felt about them; self conscious and embarrassed to smile. I wasn’t judgemental of others as a child and that’s something that I’m really thankful to my parents for by the way that they brought me up. It’s funny because I would never have thought badly about someone else who had teeth like mine, bring it up or pick on them about it, I was just concerned with how I felt about myself and the aesthetic of my own teeth.
Although its awful to think of myself as a child having an insecurity about a part of my body, I’m proud that I wasn’t one of those kids calling someone else for how they looked. Those values and morals have stayed with me as an adult and even now when I say that I don’t like something, I mean in relation to me and it is not a judgement on anyone elses appearance. Life is much less of a headache when you learn to let go and leave each to their own; you do you and I’ll do me.
Another thing that was instilled in me as a child was the importance of taking care of my teeth. I didn’t have really sugary drinks (I remember my mam feeling particularly horrified when she discovered the sugar content in Sunny D and that was promptly banned from the fridge), I had regular check ups at the dentist and always thoroughly brushed my teeth. As a result, I have never really had any major problems with my teeth, they’ve always been strong and a healthy shade of white, even though they may not have looked as I would have liked them to.
By the time I reached my teens, I was hell bent on having a brace to align my teeth and close the gaps and thankfully my dentist agreed. I was referred to an orthodontist who fitted me with one of the metal train track braces with the colourful elastic bands on. I was lucky in that there wasn’t much bullying for having a brace in my comprehensive school, perhaps because a few of the cool kids had them and I was actually quite looking forward to getting it on because it was something that I had wanted for so long.
In the week leading up to having the fixed brace fitted, I did become a little apprehensive and wondered if I was doing the right thing as it was going to be on for up to 2 years. I’d heard someone say on the TV that having a gap between your two front teeth was unusual and lucky and I remembered hesitating for a split second, wondering if I’d regret closing the gap but I quickly reassured myself as it wasn’t just the gaps that I didn’t appreciate but the whopping great angle that my two front teeth sat at.
I remember the day that I had my brace fitted vividly. I think my dad worried I’d be picked on for having the brace too, as I’d already been a victim of bullying because of my weight and a lot of the films that were around at that time featured American schools with kids getting called names such as brace face and tinsel teeth, although I think that was more of a UK term. Plus, he knew that it would hurt; after all, no pain, no gain.
In an effort to console me, before my appointment he treated me to one of the first ever camera phones which was silver and matched my new silver teeth incredibly well. I’d like to think that the pink and purple elastic bands complimented the whole ensemble perfectly!
Each time I had the brace tightened, I’d be in a lot of pain for days until it eased off and I got used to it. While I knew that it was for my own benefit, I hated having the brace on. Food would get stuck in it easily, especially cheese, so I was always very self conscious of eating, my teeth were very sensitive, my jaw would ache and my mouth would feel sore at times and the little metal bits on my teeth would scratch the inside of my gums, often causing them to bleed.
Another thing that I hated was that the metal train tracks were glaringly obvious to the point where my teeth looked black when I smiled for photos… so guess what? I stopped smiling with my mouth open in photographs which changed how confident and happy I looked because I was awkwardly trying to conceal the braces.
Most photos that I have of this time with my mouth open are ones that have been taken when I’ve been caught off guard such as this absolute beauty above. Talk about a throwback! It was taken at one of my best friends 14th birthdays when I was two thirds of the way through the treatment; my teeth had been straightened and it was just a case of closing the gaps.
The treatment had been successful in a shorter time frame than expected and I was able to have the brace removed after 18 months, I think it was the day before my 15th birthday. I was told that the gaps hadn’t fully closed but my teeth were straight, in line and as close to having no gaps as I was going to get as my teeth weren’t big enough for my mouth. I was given a clear retainer to wear at night and that was the end of it.
I left the orthodontist feeling on top of the world and vowed to wear the retainer every night forever and ever amen. Of course that didn’t happen and after about a year or so the clear retainer disappeared to the back of a drawer never to be seen again. However I did continue to take great care of my teeth in terms of brushing and going to the dentist regularly. It felt great to be able to bite into something without getting it stuck between my teeth or having increased sensitivity to cold things.
Braces have changed a lot since then and I know of many people who have had the train track braces as adults but they’ve been white and much less noticeable, better still, almost invisible braces are available now which seems like a much better option. I’m so thankful that I was able to have the brace on because it made such a massive difference to my teeth, how I felt about my smile and my confidence which I think is really important to you when you’re in your teens.
When I was 19 and had moved to a different area, I switched from the NHS dentist that I had been seeing previously to a highly regarded private dentist as they were the closest to me. I noticed that there was a significant difference in the service and treatment options with private dentistry compared to an NHS dentist which I wouldn’t have realised before had I not changed practice because the dentist who I had always seen previously had been fantastic. We’re so lucky to have the NHS in the UK with a range of free dentistry options for those under 19 and in full time education and for those who are pregnant, etc but there’s only so much that can go round so naturally more options can be come available to you when you’re paying for the service and at a higher quality.
While I was paying for the dentist myself, I placed an importance on my dental health and kept some money each month from my job while I was at college and university to pay for it. I’ve taken good care of my teeth over the last 9 years, had any treatment that I’ve needed and had biannually hygienist appointments. I’ve been so happy and confident with my smile but there was always one little thing that was niggling me and that’s the gaps and the smaller teeth either side of my two front ones.
All of the photos you see here are of my teeth up to date (aside from the brace photo). I’m happy in myself and happy with my smile but I always knew that if I had the opportunity to enhance it then I would do. When I first joined the private dentist at 19, I asked about veneers to give me the smile that I wanted but I was advised to wait a while until I’d had some other necessary treatment first and then we could look into it. When that time came, I was advised that 10 veneers would give me the look that I wanted but it was very costly and something that I would need to consider at a later date when I could realistically afford the treatment.
I broached the subject again before my wedding as by that time I had heard of other options becoming available that could help me including a clear brace treatment called Invisalign and also of a fixed brace option that is applied to the back of the teeth, as well as the option of veneers. My dentist had changed at this point to another dentist within the same practice but he advised against treatment as my teeth were fine as they were, just slightly spaced which can be beneficial for brushing. Plus the cost had increased further and its a big outlay if you don’t know exactly what you’re going to look like afterwards, whether you’ll like it or if you would think that it was worth it.
Three years on and I still think about having dental treatment when I look at my teeth in the mirror. I’ve looked around for other options but its hard to know what information to trust. When it comes to something as important as your teeth and ultimately your smile, it is so important that you find a dentist that openly wants the best treatment for you and a service that is going to be able to achieve that aim.
Towards the end of last year, I discovered Ewan Bramley Dental Care near Newcastle in the North East and the revolutionary service that they offer. With a free Smile Design consultation, I could find out all of the dentistry options that would be available to me including invisible braces and veneers and I would be able to see a mock up of what my teeth and smile would look like before making a decision on what treatment I wanted to go ahead with, if anything. As well as this, their top private dentistry is comparatively more affordable than others around, especially for invisible braces which they have the technology to make on the premises rather than outsourcing and they offer interest free finance too.
It all sounded too good to be true but after having a look on their website, I really liked how friendly, open and honest they appeared as a business; first impressions count, even online! I had a look through the different pages covering the vast range of dental treatments that they offered with plenty of before and after pictures which showed the fantastic results that they had achieved with their patients.
I gave them a quick ring to book my Smile Design consultation and my mind was put at ease by the knowledgeable person that I spoke to. She knew all about the consultation so was able to explain exactly what to expect, filling me with confidence and excitement for my first appointment and the start of my Smile Design journey.
The rest as they say is history!
I’ll be sharing every step of my journey with you from the Smile Design consultation next moth where I’ll talk through the appointment, the options given to me and why I chose the treatment that I decided to go for, to the procedure itself and the aftercare.
If you love the sound of Ewan Bramley Dental Care already, then you can give them a call on 0191 303 7872 or get in touch on their website to book your FREE Smile Design consultation.
How confident do you feel about your teeth and smile? Did you wear a brace as a child?
Have you had any cosmetic or corrective dentistry in the past or is this something that you would consider having in the future?