This is a reblog of a post from October 2010.
We haven’t talked about my manky teeth for a while. I have the worst teeth in the world. When Americans whisper behind their hands about British mouths, it’s me they’re thinking of.
I had root canal treatment on my front tooth, twenty-odd years ago. Being dead, it got greyer and greyer until I begged my dentist to help me. He suggested veneers – in the plural, because one’s front gnashers should match.
I told my friend Flo about it and she thought it was a great idea until she spoke to her own dentist. Next time I saw her, I asked her if she was going to have her own teeth done but she fobbed me off. She didn’t want to upset newly veneered me, or make me feel uncomfortable. I knew she was fobbing me off by the way she blushed and ran to the other side of the playground every time teeth were mentioned.
I never did learn what horror story her dentist told her about veneers, but I can take a good guess. First of all, installing them hurts. My teeth were sanded down to nothing and every time I breathed (which I do a lot of; there’s no getting round it) it felt like a gale force wind was prodding my pearly yellows with a skewer. Then the cement used to stick the veneers on was so adhesive, it dried before my dentist had time to remove the excess. My mouth spent weeks looking as if it had been grouted to match my bathroom.
Worst of all, the cement only seems to work on the gaps between the teeth: my veneers have fallen off several times and always have to be glued back on. I was on my way out one night when it happened again. ‘I don’t know why it does that,’ I said to the Hub as I finished my chewy lollipop.
I don’t go out with a broken mouth. It’s one of my rules. My dentist agreed to fix it next morning. She keeps a spare appointment just for me: I am forever losing crowns, fillings, veneers and bits of old tooth that I don’t use anymore.
I hope my children read this as a cautionary tale: brush your teeth twice a day for three minutes. If you don’t, I’m warning you: I’m going to smile.