I got a new smile for less than fifty dollars! (Don’t look at me like that — keep reading!)

toothless-old-woman-image-41425394

Hey girlfriend!  You don’t have to do that anymore.

 

I have a problem many people today have.

I don’t have dental insurance.  I haven’t had dental insurance in about 20 years.   Although I try to take good care of my teeth and brush and floss at least twice every day, I have not had regular checkups and I certainly can’t afford any expensive dental work on my own.

I had strong, beautiful teeth as a child and didn’t get my first cavity until I turned 13.  But since I turned 50, my teeth have become a lot weaker and much more prone to decay.   I also have a sweet tooth. My love of sugary treats has certainly done me no favors.

me1977

Me and my winning smile in 1977.

In spite of my careful dental self care, over the years I have lost all my back teeth (molars) and find it difficult or impossible to eat steak or anything that requires a lot of chewing.   But that’s okay.   You can’t see those teeth.  I can still eat most other foods.  I’m not confined to eating soft foods like yogurt and macaroni and cheese.

My real problems began about three years ago, when one of my front incisors developed a pinkish orange tinge to it.  It soon became sensitive to hot and cold, and I realized that tooth had a cavity in the back of it that wasn’t visible but was hollowing it out.   I couldn’t afford to have it capped or fixed or replaced, so I lived with it, brushing it constantly, hoping against hope I could ward off the inevitable:  tooth loss.

Last spring the tooth finally split in half while I bit into a piece of bread, and about a month later the rest of the tooth chipped off.  It was horrifying to look in the mirror and see a gap there right in front of my mouth.   But even more horrifying was what I saw next to it:  the tooth next to it also had a huge cavity coming in from the side.  I would soon lose that tooth too.

I called dentists but all the quotes for implants, partials, or bridges were in the thousands of dollars.  Not to mention pulling the rotted teeth which would require me to face my fear of being in a dentist’s chair for a painful procedure.  Even professional veneers are very expensive.

The Internet is such a huge blessing.   I looked for cheaper alternatives and was intrigued by the “flippers” that pageant contestants use to make their teeth look perfect.  Of course, those “flipper” teeth are too white and too perfect. I wanted something more natural looking but it was a start.

imakoteeth    imakotopteeth

The package appears to contain the “bleached” teeth.  I don’t recommend those.  On the right is the “natural” color in “small.”  This is what I ordered and I am very satisfied.

 

I finally came across a video about a man who had lost most of his front teeth and tried a product called Imako Cosmetic Teeth (I can no longer find the video I saw, but there are others on Youtube).   I was very skeptical, but I watched the entire video and the man looked so much better with his new teeth.  It looked so easy and hardly cost anything.  (There are also “how to” videos in case you need help getting your teeth to fit).

I did a search for Imako Cosmetic Teeth and looked at some other brands as well.   In the ads, the Imako teeth looked the most natural.  They cost a little more than some of the cheaper alternatives, which looked like Halloween teeth and were blindingly, fake white and ugly.   What I liked about the Imako teeth was their natural looking color: the “gums” were a natural flesh tone rather than bright pink, and the teeth were available in an off white “natural” color which was much closer to the color of natural teeth.

They cost about $40.00 plus tax and shipping.  I ordered the top teeth (my bottom teeth are fine).  They come with a set of thermal plastic beads which melt at low temperatures and are used for molding them to fit your mouth.  I ordered the “small” (recommended for women) and received them in about a week.

It takes some patience and time to get the teeth to fit your mouth.  You might have to practice for a bit.    The teeth are made of a flexible plastic that becomes more flexible in hot water.     Microwave the teeth in water for a couple of minutes, and then while they are soft, fit them over your own teeth (you must have at least one or two natural teeth for them to stay in place).   You can also shave down the “gum” or even the teeth themselves with the tool provided in the package to make it thinner if you need to, but be careful because they are fragile and break easily.

I actually did something you’re not supposed to do.  I cut the teeth in half, since using the entire row over my good teeth on the right side of my mouth made me look buck toothed and I couldn’t close my mouth properly.   I only needed to use the half that covers the left side of my top teeth.

In order to get them to stay put, I had to melt the plastic beads (they have a low melting point and turn to a clear goo when microwaved in hot water).  As they began to dry (but are still pliable), roll a spaghetti like piece and fit that over the back of the “gum” of the teeth and then press into place in your mouth.  The soft plastic will make its way into crevices and gaps between your teeth.  Keep pressing in place until the plastic dries, and then carefully remove the entire piece from your mouth.  It should now be a custom fit, and almost “snap” into place, but I still find I need to use some extra strength Polident to be sure they stay and don’t slip out.

I won’t show a picture of my “before” teeth because I’m too embarrassed, but believe me, my smile was ugly and in photos, I could only wear a closed mouth smile.

Here’s a selfie I took of my new smile, which looks natural and very much like my original smile.   The fake teeth can be seen on the upper right hand side of my mouth (actually the left side).  The rest of the teeth are still my own.  The one next to it was taken almost five years ago, before I lost any front teeth.

smile1  gravatarphoto

Please be aware that you should not eat any chewy or hard foods with these teeth in place, but you can drink and speak normally without worrying about them falling out.  They should be soaked in peroxide or denture solution after each use.  Do not sleep with them in place.

I’m posting this today because I know how much it sucks when you can’t smile or hate to have your photo taken because you’re embarrassed about your teeth.   If you think you can never afford to have an attractive smile again without spending a lot of money, you’re wrong.   This may not be the perfect solution (or a permanent solution), but if you can’t afford thousands of dollars in dental work (not to mention the time and trauma of it), this is a workable solution. It cost me less than fifty dollars.  I hope this helps some of you having dental issues.

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About luckyotter

Recovering from C-PTSD due to narcissistic abuse from childhood. I was married to a sociopathic narcissist for 20 years. Proud INFJ, Enneagram type 4w5. Animal lover, music lover, cat mom, unapologetic geek, fan of the absurd, progressive Christian, mom to 2 Millennials, mental illness stigma activist, passionate anti-Trumper. #RESISTANCE
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4 Responses to I got a new smile for less than fifty dollars! (Don’t look at me like that — keep reading!)

  1. bobcabkings says:

    Beautiful smile. Around 2000, my teeth began to seriously deteriorate. Old fillings started falling out and several teeth just fell apart and periodontal problems followed. When I retired in 2006, I was able to use dental insurance (a plan under COBRA) to begin fixing everything. The insurance paid about 10% of the cost (almost exactly what I paid in premiums on that plan), but I have good credit. So, a year and many extractions later, I had new removable teeth (6 real ones remaining) that have served well. Had I not had that financial flexibility, I would have been in very serious trouble. Many, many people are in exactly that position, far too many.

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      You were very fortunate to have that!

      In our country, it’s so rare for most people to have decent dental insurance, never mind medical insurance, and of course Medicaid only covers pulling of teeth (and most people can’t get Medicaid). That’s why so many people here have such awful teeth compared to other countries. (Our junk diet loaded with preservatives, chemicals, processed ingredients, and HFCS doesn’t help either).

      There’s a stigma attached to having bad or missing teeth. It’s a visual indication of one’s economic status. If you have beautiful straight teeth at an older age, you are probably wealthy enough to have enough money to cover expensive dental cosmetic procedures or excellent dental insurance that covers it (which means you probably have a great job).
      If you have broken, missing or rotting teeth it screams to the world you are POOR. It can be very stigmatizing and of course, in our country, you are judged by many people if they think you have a low economic status. It’s like wearing a neon sign saying, “I’m a loser, kick me!”

      I’m glad I found a relatively cheap and painless way around that classist bullshit.

      Liked by 2 people

      • bobcabkings says:

        I worked many years with mental health clients, most of whom were on SSI and Medicaid. Dental coverage is probably the worst part of that program, and inflicts huge unnecessary suffering (and stigma) on that population. To make matters worse, some mental health clinicians then regard the bad teeth as signs of “poor self care,” further blaming the victim.

        Part of the reason my teeth got a bad as they did was that due to some less than wise financial decisions in the early 1990s, I spent most of that decade living paycheck to paycheck without credit, and had had a nasty surprise of uncovered charges with my dental insurance for some earlier work.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. bobcabkings says:

    Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
    LuckyOtter gets her smile back.

    Liked by 1 person

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