Dr. Ian Harper's smile rehabilitation story

Dentists are patients too (that's justice!)

This is my story as a patient.

As we age a few things happen. Our teeth wear – so they shorten, they wear out – so they break, they become crooked and crowded – so they are hard to clean,  they become discoloured – so they look unhealthy.

Sometimes they end up missing!

Lucky us!

All of these things happened to me.

So how does a dentist treat their own dental problems?

The first thing is to realise you have a problem.

Learn more

When I looked around my remaining teeth I could see a few more which would also be  at risk of fracture and I didn’t want to be in a place where my teeth were extracted one by one – facilitating a slow collapse of my oral health – then scrambling to correct the situation far too late.

My health is important to me and I fully realised that the health of my mouth is a pillar of  my general health.

So I prescribed for myself 3 crowns and 3 porcelain fillings. Even in teeth which were only moderately filled. I didn’t want to miss the boat by turning up too late!

When the dentist I trust to look after my dental health was preparing the teeth for the porcelain fillings he found multiple fracture lines at the base of cusps. A stitch in time saves nine. The treatment was carried out in 2007 and has functioned perfectly ever since.

So, I had fixed the problem of my teeth wearing out but I was still subject to the laws of ageing and I hated my smile. When I was a teenager my teeth were perfectly straight, but from then to age 45 teeth are becoming increasingly crowded and misaligned. I knew that if I left them to their own devices they were only going to get worse. Because of the misalignment it was already becoming difficult to brush them adequately, I didn’t want to imagine how unhealthy my teeth would be after another 20 years of ignoring the problem (and the domino effect on my general health). I also hated how they looked.

The teeth were also becoming darker in colour, becoming more fragile and brittle (another fantastic benefit of ageing, not!) and generally looking less than healthy.

What I needed, to maintain my teeth for the rest of my life wasn’t just fiddling around the edges but a comprehensive treatment plan to maintain my oral health for my lifetime.

First I needed to straighten my teeth. But like a lot of adults I did not want to go through a 18 month treatment plan. Clear aligners were the answer to this.

I also needed to strengthen my upper incisors. I decided that veneers were ideal.

I also needed to change the colour. Whitening would be ideal for this.