“My dental problems date back to when I was a teenager,” 53-year-old Kathleen said. “When my mouth was shut, my front teeth were too close to my bottom teeth. But I didn’t have braces because my teeth were straight.”
A poor bite and wear and tear throughout her life resulted in routinely grinded teeth. “I can remember being at yoga class in pain because I was clenching my jaw,” Kathleen said. “Back in the 80s, if you had a chip they would drill it down and use bonding that didn’t last long. My front teeth were getting shorter and shorter. Overtime, the grinding resulted in my teeth and bite changing shape.”
By July 2014, Six of Kathleen’s front teeth were crowns and one was missing completely. “My teeth always bothered me,” she said. I didn’t like how dark they were and really wanted a good-looking smile. And my face had started to change as a result of my worn down teeth.”
As a registered nurse, Kathleen knows the impact dental health has both her physical and mental health. “One day I just decided ‘I’m going to do this. I’m going to get this fixed. And the process started with having a dental implant placed,” she said.
After recovering from dental implant surgery, Kathleen was determined to finish off her long awaited smile makeover. “My esthetician friend said, ‘go see Dr. Amy Norman!’ so I did,” Kathleen said.
“At first examination, Dr. Norman thought there might be issues with my jaw,” she said. The Dream Team performed detailed testing and confirmed that Kathleen was experiencing neuromuscular problems related to the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ). “She explained how the cracking was caused by my bad bite pulling teeth in,” she said. I found out that I could attribute many of my problems such as grinding, ear pain, headaches and shortening facial profile to TMJD. Everything that she told made sense with everything that had been going on in my life.”
Dr. Norman broke Kathleen’s treatment into three phases, the first being a temporary solution to alleviate TMJ symptoms. She was sized for a lower orthotic to hold her jaw in its proper position until her bottom teeth are restored. “Dr. Norman was able to show me with the CT scan how my bite was without it and how it was with the orthotic,” Kathleen said. “It helped me understand how when your jaw is out of alignment, you’re trying to find a comfortable position and end up grinding your teeth.”
During phase two, Kathleen's upper teeth were restored and her silver crowns were replaced. “She was able to rebuild one of my teeth and keep me from loosing it, Kathleen said. “My teeth look natural now. It feels wonderful. I always get compliments from people saying I have a nice smile. People tell me I look about 10 years younger! It’s been such an amazing thing in my life in terms of both comfort and appearance. I am smiling so much more! I’m more outgoing, getting out more—just living my live more fully.”
Dr. Norman corrected Kathleen’s upper bite permanently and will soon begin phase three restorative work on the bottom that replaces the orthotic. “The teeth will be longer and they will match the upper teeth for a well-formed bite,” Kathleen said.
“Every single member of Dr. Norman’s staff is awesome and I can’t say enough about them,” Kathleen said. “I loved all the staff and the focus they have on making procedures comfortable. I felt like it was movie star treatment. Time just flew by during appointments. It’s the best experience I’ve ever had of course with dentist but also in a medical facility in general. I have a cleaning scheduled tomorrow and I’m excited to go!”