By Melinda Haws, MD
When I was 2 years old, I had terrible tonsillitis. My tonsils actually got so large that they not only touched each other in the back of my throat, but that even my mother felt that she had to prop me up at night and keep her ﬁnger in my mouth (to push my tongue out of the way) and give me space to breathe! Despite my young age, the doctor decided to take out my tonsils. I remember waking up in this impossibly long white hospital bed with my mother there, holding a new Raggedy Ann doll for me. Little could I have imagined that these events would lead to me seeking out a cosmetic dentist ﬁfty years later.
You see, in 1968 one of the big antibiotics for bad tonsils was Tetracycline. A side eﬀect of Tetracycline is that if it is given while teeth are developing below the gum line, the child will grow up to have Tetracycline staining of the teeth. This gray discoloration is in the deep pulp of the tooth, not the enamel, causing staining that cannot be bleached away. One of the solutions to hide the staining is to cover the teeth with veneers. Traditional veneers mean ﬁling down the underlying enamel so that the tooth is not made to be too big with a veneer coating. For years, numerous dentists have warned me that ﬁling down my enamel would make my teeth darker, and then the veneer would have to be thicker, more opaque, and look less real. I decided decently straight teeth that were a little gray were better than “chiclet teeth” so I waited.
Fast forward several years later and guess what?! The science caught up! There are Prepless Veneers now available that are micro-thin and don’t require ﬁling of the enamel. I found a dentist, Dr. Dennis Wells, who is well experienced with these veneers and a leader in his ﬁeld. After an 8.5 hour visit to the dentist chair a couple of weeks ago, I am now in my prototype teeth. They already look so much better, and I am so excited to see my ﬁnished product!
Plastic Surgery science is also in a state of continual evolution. Whether it’s breast implants that keep getting better and more durable, or new injectable ﬁllers that can help with a non-surgical Facelift, plastic surgery is evolving. At the Plastic Surgery Center of Nashville, we are constantly working to stay at the leading edge of plastic surgery. This doesn’t mean we chase fads, but rather, like my dentist, we follow the science, make sure it’s proven and then use those new developments in our patients when appropriate. For example, those who couldn’t or wouldn’t have liposuction in the past, can now get CoolSculpting (FDA approved non-surgical fate reduction) performed instead. Patients who feared the pain of a Tummy Tuck surgery, now beneﬁt by our use of Exparel in TAP blocks during surgery, to dramatically reduce their need for pain medication.
If you’ve given up on the idea of having something done in the past because the options available at the time didn’t suit your needs, give us a call to see if there is a new journey of discovery in front of you, kind of like me and my teeth. You’ll recognize me when you stop in, I’ll be smiling.