A partial denture? It’s even worse than my cardiac surgery
TRY to grow old gracefully… That is what people say. But of course it’s much more difficult than you’d think, especially when old age comes unexpectedly around the corner and smacks you right in the face.
Or in the mouth, to be more precise.
Any dentist will tell you that when God went about designing the human body, He or She did a poor job when it came to gums and teeth. The mouth is a potential disaster zone – the one place in the anatomy where the inside of you meets the great outdoors – and those little seals otherwise known as gums can do a poor job of keeping the big bad world out.
So bad things can happen. I won’t go on about plaque or bacteria, but things you can have no idea about when you are young can invade and harm this delicate and vitally important part of you.
If you did know, you’d do a lot, lot more to look after and protect your molars, incisors and all the rest of them…
The Tooth Fairy should either leave a little message alongside the
Even a single false tooth is hard to swallow, writes Martin Hesp
£1 coin (or whatever it is nowadays) or whisper in a sleeping child’s ear… “I am the Angel of Teeth, so here’s a quid for your loss – but I need you to know that one day, unless your are scrupulous when it comes to looking after your teeth, the Dental Devil will visit you. And that will be very unpleasant indeed!”
The dental devil in question is otherwise known as a denture – a small but monstrous thing with which, alas, I have recently become acquainted.
My single-tooth partial-denture is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. And I say that as a man who had a major heart operation a year-and-a-half ago. An operation that went slightly awry which meant that I spent double the time out cold on the slab. An operation which beat up my heart so badly, that I’m told it will never fully recover. An operation that still leaves me out of breath when I’m walking up steep hills. An operation which hurt like hell for weeks.
But no one ever heard me com- plain after open heart surgery. I didn’t like it, but I soldiered on and worked hard at getting back my fitness.
This single-tooth denture, however, has taken over my life. It is horrible. I hate – really hate – having it in my mouth. Eating with it is not only difficult, but I swear I can no longer taste food like I used to. Speaking with it is difficult and slightly painful. Or uncomfortable. But it’s there. Always. Like some terrible medieval torture that is driving me nuts.
At which point a large number of Western Daily Press readers will say: “Welcome to our world!”
I know that for certain because I’ve just done an Internet search on the subject of “getting used to dentures” and I see that it is one of the most widely discussed personal health issues in the western world.
Millions of people have either partial or full dentures, and millions of people complain about them.
The general idea seems to be that you simply get used to having these invasive things dominating the inside of your mouth. Call me impatient, but after half-a-week I cannot see how that can ever be possible.
My dentist – who is an excellent chap I trust implicitly – did warn me that some people don’t ever get used to them. But what he didn’t fully describe to me was the mere shock of having a denture fitted in the first place.
When one of my front teeth had become so wobbly thanks to what he described as “bone loss” , he said: “We’ve got to do something about this now. It’s an emergency. It might come out and you might swallow it in the night. And choke. So we’ll do a denture with a couple of clips to hold it in. If you don’t like that after a few months, we might have to think about a Plan B.”
I wonder how many other millions of folk are thinking about this particular Plan B at any one time on Planet Earth?
I can almost imagine that if you were really unlucky and had to go for a full set of false-teeth, you’d just have to swallow the bad news (so to speak) and get on with it. I can imagine a dentist saying: “All your teeth have had it – wearing this full set of dentures is the only way you are ever going to chew food again.”
A big and bitter blow, indeed. But at least it would be a case of “a serious problem requires serious measures”.
But the loss of one tooth? Why should that mean that half the top of your mouth (at least that’s what it feels like) has to have this horrible plastic artificial ceiling just so one little gap can be filled?
I say little gap, but when I took the offending medieval torture device out and asked my wife if I could get away with walking around the world looking like the Gap Toothed Yokel from The Simpsons cartoon, she gently shook her head and whispered: “Very definitely not.”
So that’s it. Old age has come and hit me, very suddenly, in the face. I am not the first and I won’t be the last. Like millions of others, I shall go in search of Plan B, no matter what the cost. And I shall become a “look after your teeth whatever you do” bore when I eventually have grandchildren.
Martin wishes he’d looked after his teeth better whenhe was younger