01 August 2011


i need some advice if you've got some extra...

so i was in this accident. and things are a supreme mess because of it. {i just backspaced out of four awfully whiny tragi-sentences that would've made a swell refrain if i were singing the blues and drinking jack, but were not-so-great for a monday morning blog post, yes? yes.}

short version of my story: my front left tooth died in the accident. which is way better than the alternative, for sure.

for. sure.

but now i've got a choice to make. do i get a root canal in that tooth - one of the first of two that you see whenever i smile...and did you know i smile all of the flipping time?! not a good coincidence. - and then have the dentist try his little heart out to match the whiteness of that tooth to the rest of my teeth and especially to the shade of white on the one to her right?

or. and here is where i start to lose my breath.

does he make sure the two front sister teeth match forever and ever and even when i drink coffee by giving me veneers? the way he delicately explained it, he would SHAVE DOWN MY CUTE FRONT TEETH TO LITTLE POINTS. and then attach something or other that look like teeth.


when i was in sixth grade, my last name was harvey. i didn't know that i didn't like my last name yet until i got to chemistry class right after lunch. the teacher was lovely and brilliant and kind of totally a geek. and when he reached my name, he smiled so big that i thought i'd won student of the year already.

karey harvey...hey! harvey the rabbit!

it didn't help that my two front teeth were the size of scrabble tiles. i hadn't had braces yet, so they maybe rested over my bottom lip. maybe. sigh. although not one of my classmates even knew who james stewart was until christmas eve, they were all super-familiar with harvey the rabbit from that day forward. and that is how my year went.

i got braces the day before sixth grade school pictures, and kept them on until the day after eighth grade pictures. forgiven. because for the rest of my life except for one night at prom where the boozy photographer asked me to tone it down with the teeth, sister! those two big front teeth have made nearly every picture i take better.

i honestly don't know what to do. i need some additional professional opinions, i think. and then i need yours...

if you have a second, what would you do? i think both options are going to hurt, aren't they?

don't forget to leave a comment to win 250 business cards, ok? they're going to be cute. i just know it. three teaspoons is my favorite today.


Anonymous said...

if you did both teeth you would have two root canals, no?

I had my front tooth just about knocked out by my boyfriend's dog in high school. I had the root canal and veneer. It matches. i would probably choose to do both though. Because with time the other tooth will match less, you know what I mean?

And root canals aren't as bad as everyone makes them out to be.

jules @ The Diversion Project said...

awful spot to be in i know! i only ever had one filling in my life, and then the thing cracked, and then there was the crown. man it's all not good. one tooth, big problems, always. the rest, totally fine. untillll, piece of birthday cake, little sugar candy fairies ( i know! was sooo sweet), but then crunch, and now i gather one of my teeth "is likely to die", totally freaked me out. And the dull pain is on my mind night and day!
the way i see it, try the first option, if it works - BONUS! - if it doesn't, you still have option #2.

one step at a time x

Amy@OldSweetSong said...

Well this is a toughie. It seems like you're leaning toward the veneers? Am I right? I feel like that will hurt less which is always a plus. And here's a little life mantra of mine: avoid root canals at all costs.

I am sorry for your teethy troubles.

Sherry said...

Listen to your heart today...it will tell you what to do. There is a plus/minus to both decisions....but one decision is going to feel totally right and the other is going to slowly gnaw (no pun attended) at your heart all day long.

I love teeth! I notice teeth right away. My husband was in an accident and chose your option #1. They match up pretty well..even after years of coffee and wine. You have to look pretty hard to see the difference...but, of course, us women look pretty damn hard at things.

So sorry to hear. Hope your smiling brightly in no time at all.

Livyb said...

Hi Karey-
I am a dental hygienist who reads your blog faithfully. If your tooth is dead, there isn't much choice about the root canal. You probably know this by now. Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth BEFORE the veneers, so the lovely shape should remain after. This is especially true if you tell him how much you like your natural teeth.
I would do both, because matching the two front teeth is really hard for the best of dentists. What I should say is, it will match for a while, but inevitably over time, you will see the difference between the two.

email me if you have more questions!


Cass said...

When I was 17 I had veneers put on my front top 6 teeth because my own teeth were 2-toned. Suddenly I had beautiful white teeth and I SMILED - a lot. I have loved having veneers these last 13 years - no complaints. Oh, and they didn't hurt a bit. Hope that helps. Good luck!

melissa said...

Awww, poor dear. The whole thing is such heartache, I know.

My front right tooth was knocked out/killed dead up into the gum line when I was in third grade, and I had no choice other than the root canal + dentist matching. My hometown dentist did a passable job, even replacing the tooth over the years to re-match the color...but it was never quite right. It was *fine*, but just a little different than the others.

I smile * a LOT* too, so about two years ago, I took a big chunk-o-change, went to one of the best cosmetic dentists in town, and got matching replacement crowns on both of my front teeth. I got everything whitened first, then went to the lab where there were people painting teeth at every table and they hand-matched my color. And....I'm SO happy I made the change! As my mom said "oh, it was so fine before, but the difference is AMAZING."

It's not much difference; they got the shape exactly the same and didn't change my smile much at all...just made it a little bit "extra".

Good luck on whatever you decide. I think you'll be good either way as long as you do your research (including how much time each one takes; it helps to know *exactly* what the process is, so there are no unpleasant surprises), take a deep breath, and follow your intuition.

c.bean said...

I'm with Jules... do the root canal and see how it goes. then you still have the veneer option if it doesn't look right.

besides, grinding ones teeth (one of which is perfectly perfect) down to sharp little points just sounds... creepy! but that's probably because I saw too many scary movies at a tender age.

I just went through a root canal recently and it wasn't painful at all. in fact, it was the best root canal ever... relaxing even! do you believe me? it's mostly true.

I wish you luck with whichever option you choose. I hope it is painless and leaves you with a bright, shiny smile!

Elizabeth said...

That is a crummy choice. I did have my back molars ground down practically hollow a few years back to replace bad fillings from when I was little, and it wasn't very painful with anesthetic but that was, of course, back teeth. Can you evaluate based on how they will hold up 15 years from now?

Richie Designs said...

veneers I think. You want your bunnies to match. The problem is....

will the other teeth change with coffee tea and fun? making the front two different? I'm not sure on that one ask an official person.

beth said...

well lucky for you, i'm a dental assistant :)

so here's my advice. matching "whites" rarely works when it comes to tooth enamel {no matter how hard they try} and based on what i know of you here in your space {being as picky and smiley as i am} i would suggest you do both teeth.
you will not be happy with just one tooth being done and you will always notice it not being quite right, even if everyone else says it looks great.

i hope this helps.

Life in vet school said...

Oh, that's awful -- your poor tooth!

In college, I killed my right front tooth in a swing dancing accident. I was practicing aerials out behind the dorm with my swing-dancing-partner-friend, and one way or another, I got dropped on my face. I had a root canal, then later another root canal, and then it turned out the tooth had been cracked beyond repair all along, and out it came! I have an excellent cosmetic prosthetic now.

I think you'll need the root canal either way, right? If it were me, I wouldn't rush into the veneers -- the color matching after a root canal may very well be fine for months, even a couple of years! And who knows what kind of dental technology we'll have by the time you're finally at the point of really needing the veneers? Once you've messed around with a tooth, it's never quite the same -- so I would leave the intact one alone as long as I could.

Jules said...

oh no! :-(

I have actually had BOTH things done. My left front tooth too.

In 6th grade I fell and broke off half my tooth which was repaired with bonding. In 8th grade the root died so I had a root canal. A few times throughout high school I knocked the bonding off and had to have it repaired. In college I bit down on a pen, (yep, I bite on pens) and it popped off! It was awful! The dentist I was currently going to "doesn't do bonding" so I flipped out! I ended up going to my orthodontist to have them fix the bonding so I wouldn't have to walk around with uneven front teeth.

Anyway, I got veneers on both front teeth after the last incident in college. No one can even tell unless I confess to having "fake front teeth".

I don't remember if the root canal hurt because I was in so much pain before that having it done was such a relief. The only thing that hurt about veneers was the shot to numb my gums.

I don't know if this helps with your decision, but just know that you're not alone!

melissa loves said...

Oh, my darling smiley effervescent friend....well, as soon as I read this I got on the phone and called my dad ( he has had veneers on his two front teeth for as long as I can remember, although he calls them caps) he has never had any trouble with them and they have always looked just perfect. You would never know they weren't his originals( in fact, I didn't know until he told me one day when I was older) Having said that,is there the option of doing the first procedure and seeing how it takes? And then doing the veneers if the first one doesn't work out? Whatever you decide, you will still be your gorgeous smiley self. No worries my friend, no worries. I am so sorry you are going through this and having to make this decision. Hope this helps a bit....

Simply Mel {Reverie} said...

well damn...what kind of choices are these? shouldn't life give one good choice versus two really painful ones? so sorry for you, and i took a few moments and cursed the A**hole who caused this dental nightmare.

i say go with the veneers, but i'm really no help as you know my doctor/dentist/any white coat wearing prof/ phobia i have.

either way, your smile will always be beautiful because it's the window to your magical soul.

StacyAC said...

Start with the lesser invasive and see how it is. I had a front tooth root canal, and they bleached it from the inside (sounds swful, but not that bad) and it matches exactly. Can't even tell.

Then, if that doesn't work, go for the more drastic (and expensive) veneer option.

so genki said...

Hi Karey,
I feel for you and the choices you are making. I have had similar problems. A dead tooth after an accident when I was young. After that a root canal and years of colouring the tooth. It always ended up darkening and never quite matched. I had a veneer put on it almost 20 years ago when it couldn't be coloured any more. Not sure how good a job they did back then though because the height of my fake tooth doesn't match the real one. I smile big smiles often and am particular self conscious about it when I look at photos. I am in the process at the moment of deciding what to do. I think whichever path allows your teeth to match the best will be worth whatever pain you have to go through to get there. Neither option is going to be fun so I think the one giving the best and longer term result is the way to go.
I will probably get a new veneer on mine, have a little gum surgery to make them the same height and get them all whitened so they match. Not looking forward to the process at all. But the result will hopefully be worth it.
good luck!! Tam

la la Lovely said...

Oh darn that driver. I would be beside myself trying to decide this one. But I think I would probably go for the veneers. Matching one tooth to another would be risky...esp since they are your front and centers. So sorry you have to go through this!

Anonymous said...

I had my two front veneers done three years ago and love them. No pain involved, just patience.

leigh said...

Regardless I think you'll have to have a root canal on the one the died, however root canals are not that bad at all - I had one when I was 12 (a long time ago) and even then it was not too shabby, and the tech has much improved since then. I say you should have the root canal regardless because you don't want damaged roots down there which could potential cause more harm to your gums over time. That shiz needs to be cleaned up ;) In regards to getting vaneers... okay.. the way I see it... why damage a perfectly good tooth by drilling it down and covering it up? It doesn't make sense to me... leave the happy and healthy tooth be and just fix up the damaged one.

Kristin said...

Oh karey, what a decision to have to make! I'm afraid that I can't tell you what to do -- as I'm horrible at making any kinds of decisions whatsoever, but I will tell you a bit about my good friend, Grace. Grace is so beautiful with a smile that lights the room. But what I never knew until a few months ago is that she actually knocked her teeth out or did something to her two front teeth when she was a girl and so she had to have her teeth shaved and veneers put on, and I am telling you that they look so great, and her smile is so perfect, that I never would have known they were veneers. Just saying. Hope it helps.
xo, Kristin

susan said so said...

start with the root canal. keep your own teeth as long as you can. when that doesn't work anymore, go to veneers.


Sharon said...

veneers! i would kill for an excuse to get rid of my rabbit teeth. go for it!!

Paragon2Pieces said...

i ended up in a similar situation for different reasons 15 years ago. my dentist did a root canal, bleached the tooth from the inside, and all these years later it still looks perfect--no discoloration (and I come from a family that is super picky about teeth--my brother is a dentist). of course, it's just one example and results vary. good luck with your decision!

Leah Mora said...

don't do it! i say. once they are shaved down to nubs there is no going back... (insert goosebumps)

Heather said...

o.k., just caught up, i've been a bit unplugged myself.

i had my front tooth knocked loose playing basketball at 17. took a few years for it to die and turn gray. had a rot canal and then the other surgery where they cut through the front of your gum to remove the rest of the root or whatever. have a veneer on the dead tooth. you can still see gray at the very top, which i hate, and should really do something about. they don't match exactly. i guess they should i don't know. if i think about it it is bothersome. i try not to think about it :-)