I’m going to be honest with you, in my younger years, I never really cared much about my teeth.
I had no bite irregularities or any problems and therefore really had no major concerns or insecurities. My teeth were “fine”, just like everybody else’s.
I wouldn’t say people in the 80s were hugely concerned with how their teeth looked, procedures like veneers were something for movie stars and they definitely did not look like they do today.
But then, in 1999, when I was 35 all my teeth fell out after giving birth.
I had some problems during my pregnancy, which meant that the baby was taking all my nutrition, which resulted in me losing lots of weight and my teeth beginning to deteriorate.
Then, as the bones in my jaw had loosened, I lost all my teeth.
Out of nowhere, I had an aggressive form of gum disease (periodontitis) and according to my dentist at the time, nothing more could be done.
As a young woman, and a new mother, you can imagine how awful it was losing both my top and bottom set of teeth.
Read more: Periodontal disease and pregnancy.
The town I grew up in and was living in at the time had private dental clinics, but none who offered major restorative options like implants – it just wasn’t an option.
The internet and mobile phones weren’t really a huge thing, you couldn’t just ask Google anything in your hand back then, so finding another dentist in a bigger location wasn’t really the normality.
So for the next fifteen years of my life, I wore dentures.
There were multiple visits to the dentist, multiple sets of new teeth and multiple sores.
Tired of dentures
Now at 40, I wanted to feel better about myself, and with advances in the dental field, I learned of dental implants and went to a local dentist to discuss my options.
But guess what? I was told by my dentist at the time that I would never be a candidate or qualify for implant dentistry because I had been wearing dentures and had missing teeth for so long.
This meant that I had lost bone in my jaw, so I did not have a strong enough structure to support implants.
There was no information about pre-implant procedures or steps that could be rectified for this, so again, I believed there was nothing that could be done.
A few years later, I had heard from a friend living in London, who was suffering from receding gums about a practice who specialised in implantology, periodontitis and restorative procedures.
Instantly intrigued, I organised a consultation that was free and went to London to stay for a few nights.
Following my consultation, I was told I would need a bone graft procedure to restore bone and laser gum surgery to rebuild gums, and then I would likely be able to qualify for dental implants.
See: Dentures vs implants.
At last, lots of options
After my pre-op treatments were a success, the next step was to choose the type of implant procedure, there was All-on-Four, also known as ‘Teeth in a day’ (how incredible), that used only four or six (All-on-Six) in the mouth, which could then hold cosmetic dentures (unlike normal ones) securely.
Another option was implant-supported bridges, which would have to fix four implants in each corner of my jaws, which would be fitted with a bridge of porcelain crowns to mimic a full set of teeth.
The most expensive option was individual implants, which I seriously considered because it would look the most natural out of all three.
However, in the end, I did go for All-on-Four as I would always be able to add more implants if I wanted to. I’ll keep you updated!
The cost of it all
Cosmetic dentistry is actually not as expensive as I originally thought or perceived.
It cost £1,250 to place the implant and I needed four posts.
Then my cosmetic dentures cost £750.
The total bill came to £5,750, which I could have paid on 0% finance for 24 months, but I chose to pay in full.
In hindsight, I wished I would have used some initiative and sought out better dentists, who could really help.
In the end, I had to go through three surgeries to restore my mouth back to its original state.
I’ve lived with dentures for years, suffered from the embarrassing slip-ups of them sliding or falling out. I’ve had to put up with countless jibes and jokes.
In the end, I wish I did this all immediately after my teeth fell out. There are years I cannot help but feel I won’t get back, but now, still young in my 40s, I finally get to enjoy the ease and comfort of a full mouth of basically real teeth!