No culture is more fixated on teeth than Americans. We will spend thousands of dollars for the perfect smile without blinking an eye. And if you weren’t graced with a perfect smile naturally, you will become a social pariah if you can’t come up with the dough.
I had congenitally missing eye teeth. Once my baby teeth fell out and there was nothing to replace them, I was in for an entire adolescence of awkwardness. I kept my retainer way longer than I should have just for the spacers. By the time I was in my 20s it was probably 60% Krazy Glue. But in a way, I’m glad I put it off for so long because as I waited, implant technology grew and became the absolutely best way to replace missing teeth. Grinding down perfectly good teeth for a mess of crowns and bridges never sounded attractive to me in any way.
Since I put everything off for so long, I was in need of braces yet again. Thank God for my Flexible Spending Account. Having money deducted from my paycheck over the course of a year was the most painless way to do it. Despite that program, I was still in need of the most low cost and reliable option available. New York University College of Dentistry hit both criteria.
Highly supervised, crazy thorough, and super clean, a dental school is the way to go. They wrap everything in plastic. Every switch, every button, every chair. A routine exam will include a blood pressure check and a full medical history questionnaire, so be prepared for multiple visits. If you’re lucky you’ll get a student dentist right at the sweet spot of having at the very least a year under their belt, but not too close to graduating so you can get them one more time before they go. Depending on the procedure, you’re going to be getting more experienced students regardless. My one molar implant was more forgiving of inexperience than the two in the front. That’s why front implants cost more. Because it’s a school, you do have to be a bit tolerant of errors. I had to have the molar redone (for free of course) and it’s perfect now. We both learned from the experience.
Between braces, whitening, and 3 implants, I hit my Flexible Spending account for a total of 10K over the course of three years. Doesn’t sound very Broke-ass™️ Approved but given the alternatives, it so is.
So don’t ask me why I smile so much. I paid a pretty penny for the privilege.