When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do was watch pageants. Miss USA, Miss America, Miss Teen USA. It didn’t matter which one was on – I was glued to the tube, keeping my own scorecard & attempting to pick the winner. I still remember that in 1984 Shawn Weatherly from South Carolina was crowned Miss USA & went on to win Miss Universe. She was my PICK, from the first walk across stage. In 1981, my mom’s friend, Susan Powell, was crowned Miss America. I knew in the 80′s, when Vanessa Williams had to step down, that she would be back and succeed. She was beautiful & well-spoken. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you probably are aware that I still love to watch them. And rate the contestants. I should clearly be outside sweeping off my own doorstep, I know. As a child, I loved to see the evening gowns and the crowns and the scepters & the PERFECT TEETH. However, I never really, thank God, had a desire to compete in pageants. Putting it all out there really isn’t me. And I’ve never seen anyone sweep the talent competition by taking a great photo, tying a cherry stem in a knot with their tongue, or standing on their head for two full minutes, three of my most formidable talent options, should I have entered. Nope, I just wanted the crown & teeth. The pretty, sparkling crown & the pretty, sparkling TEETH. Both of which can be purchased without the catty backstage antics & fake breasts.
My teeth were very discolored from a young age, due to my mom taking an antibiotic during her pregnancy, having no idea that discoloring the teeth of her child was a possible side effect. It got worse as I aged & eventually it became the source of a terrible amount of insecurity about my appearance. Oh, I still smiled & laughed because both of those things come pretty naturally to me AND I’m honestly too ditzy to consciously remember not to smile. I hated photos of myself, at least until Photoshop came along , and in the last couple years, I was really letting it affect my self-image & my “imagined criticism” of what I thought others were thinking. My kids, when they were still innocent & not intentionally rude, would ask why my teeth were yellow or tell me I needed to remember to brush & even though they were young and innocent, it was pretty crushing. (I know, I know……most people say they never noticed.) Through the years I was always going to “get them fixed” but as I’m sure you know, AETNA does not care how how pretty I am & cosmetic dentistry is expensive. Something always seemed to push this priority to the backburner. It’s no lie that we take much better care of our cars and our houses than we do ourselves. After going through a deep, dark time in my life & coming out of it better than I was before it hit, I felt I deserved it. It was really the only thing that still brought me down when I looked in the mirror each day. And everything fell into place, just in time for people to think I’m having a mid-life crisis. Yea!
I had discussed my options with my family dentist but he kept putting me off, telling me my gums were not healthy enough. Last summer, he finally said he would love to do it for me soon and I should look at the teeth of one of the girls who worked for him. She was their “spokesmodel” for what they could do. So I looked, and the first thing I thought was, “Uh, that is not what I want my teeth to look like.” I can’t even pinpoint what I didn’t like about them but I knew then that I would probably go somewhere else. I struggled with this because I’m a very, very loyal person. But this is my face/mouth/appearance we’re talking about. And a lot of money. The advice of a friend led me to Hatley Family Dentistry. I loved the Hatleys, John & Nayla, because their girls and my kids went to preschool together, so we had a strong link from our past already. I went in for a consult, booked the appointments to get veneers & left with a feeling of confidence and anticipation that I really can’t even describe. This past Monday, I went in for the appointment where they shape my teeth and adhere my temporary veneer mouthpiece, taken from molds of my own teeth. I was in the dental chair from 8:15-1:30. And it was so cool. I was drilled, filed, injected numerous times, buffed, polished and even had an incidental cavity filled. I couldn’t feel my face, not even my nose & it was awesome. The staff was wonderful. You could feel their excitement at getting to do something fun instead of routine. Dr. Nayla was soooo concerned with my comfort and so attentive to detail. She asked if I had any anxiety & I told her the only thing I was scared of was that my nose, which had no sensation, was going to run & I wouldn’t know it. She told me that if that was my biggest fear, I was doing great. I even TURNED DOWN VALIUM, people. When they finished, they handed me a mirror. I was initially apprehensive to look at them but I did & I really couldn’t believe that was my mouth. It was amazing. At home, in my own bathroom, I will admit I shed tears at finally having the perfect white teeth that I’d always wanted. The funny thing is, these are only temporary. I get the permanent, individual veneers a week from Monday. And I’m not posting any pics until then. But then I will. The only thing I’m missing now is that crown.