Monday, 23 December 2013

Losing Teeth

We saw this in Port Isaac, on the way back from a dog review weekend, and had to take a picture... which has absolutely nothing to do with this post but I thought might cheer us up on this day of storms and lashing rain...

Having been anorexic for years, I now have gum disease which was undetected for a while courtesy of a NHS dentist, which has meant having to lose some of my teeth. But I was unprepared for being quite so upset over these teeth…

A few days ago, I went to the dentist to have a tooth out. He inspected it carefully, then the one next to it, and said, very gently, that really both should come out, “though I’m not sure if you can manage that.”

I wasn’t sure whether he meant psychologically or financially, but he explained that if I didn’t have the second one out now, it would have to come out in January, by which time it could be causing me trouble. He then talked about possible dentures or implants, and as he talked I could feel the tears dribbling down my cheeks. Actually what I really wanted was a good howl, but that’s a bit tricky in front of the dentist.

He stopped, poor man, and said, “I’m really sorry to have upset you, Sue,” I was, too, but he was only doing his job, poor fellow. So I took a deep breath, had visions of toothache over Christmas and said, “OK. Take them both out.”

He tipped me back in the chair, and both he and the nurse carefully dried my tears as he injected anaesthetic, then asked if my boat was out of the water. Well, sailing is always guaranteed to cheer me up – and him, so soon the deed was done. Afterwards, I felt desperately bereft, and sobbed onto the steering wheel.

Talking to several friends later, they both pointed out that they’re always upset over losing teeth – “they’re part of us, and our life,” one said, “as well as how we look.” The other one said, “and you’re bound to be wobbly if Mr B’s just left, so it’s not surprising.”

But it got me thinking, what did these teeth represent? I’d always had Good Teeth, but gradually, over the years, they’d become loose so I couldn’t chew on that side. But I didn’t want to lose them – they’re at the back so you can’t really see them, but I was still scared. It was a long standing part of me. And let’s face it – teeth are one of the first things we notice about people.

And it made me think of how my teeth were very like a relationship that has gone wrong. Or a job that is so stressful it makes you ill (like most of us, I’ve had both). We hang onto the situation for ages, because it’s too much hassle to change it or end it, or there’s no other job out there, or we’re frightened, or it’s going to hurt too much, or we don’t want to let the other person or our colleagues down. For all those reasons and more, we sometimes hang on to situations that are doing us no favours at all.

As I left yesterday, my dentist handed me another tissue and smiled. “You’ve done the right thing, Sue,” he said. “Your mouth will soon feel much better.”

When Mr B rang to ask how I was, I said, “I feel as if my jaw’s been attacked with a crowbar,” but the next day, although I felt sore, exhausted and weepy, and there was a huge hole in my mouth, I had a sense of relief. I was going through all those wretched grief feelings, but like ending that toxic relationship or chucking in the job that’s making you ill, I know I am better off without those teeth.

So this Christmas/New Year, I am going to have a good think about the rest of my life. What am I not happy with? What changes do I need to make, and how could I do that?

Wishing you all a happy Christmas. And if you aren’t where you wish to be, let’s hope you are next year.



25 comments:

ADDY said...

So sorry to hear of your loss and I can understand how you feel, as I would surely feel the same. But to put things in a wider perspective, at least it is "only" teeth which can be replaced with implants and could have been something much much worse. Have a lovely Christmas. x

Sarina McEwan-Bell said...

How very brave you`ve been. I`m sure that having to lose those teeth wasn`t easy. My teeth have for some reason worn down and are no longer showing when I smile, so I can understand your worries about your looks. But, sofar nobody had even commented about my teeth and none of my true friends mind the way I look. I still tend to refrain from smiling. Actually, I`m quite looking forward to eventually be given some dentures as I want to make sure they are truly white. Eversince my childhood my teeth were always yellow through and through. This was due to too much cortison having been given for my many allergic skin problems and a few anafalactic shock injections I had to have, then. White teeth in dentures would be a real treat for me and then I would surely smile a lot! Don`t feel sad over the loss of those teeth as in todays dental treatments they can do so much more for you than was possible some years ago.
Have a lovely Christmas and treat yourself to some delicious foods!

Flowerpot said...

Addy - you;re quite right, though I don't think I can have implants cos of gum disease. Hope you and Kay have a lovely Christmas - take care x

Flowerpot said...

Sarina - thanks for those wise words. AT least I can eat on both sides now which is a treat!

Akelamalu said...

I know exactly how you feel FP but as ADDY said it's 'only' teeth. Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year m'deario, with plenty of sailing. xx

Sophie Schiller said...

Well said! Sorry about your loss.

Melissa Marsh said...

Ah, Sue, so sorry you had to lose some teeth. But it sounds like you had a lovely dentist who treated you with care and kindness.
This was a great post as you compared the bad teeth with the other bad things in life - such a great comparison to make and so spot on.

Merry Christmas and enjoy eating those yummy holiday foods!

Flowerpot said...

Melissa - yes he is a fab dentist for which I am very grateful!

Flowerpot said...

Sophie - thanks!

Flowerpot said...

Ak - and the same to you but without teh sailing! xx

Kim @ Him, Him Me said...

A wonderful Dentist is worth his weight in gold. Keep hold of him. As someone who is petrified of the dentist, he sounds great.

Morton S Gray said...

Hi Flowerpot,

Sorry to hear about your teeth. I think I will be joining you on the life review. I spend too much time doing what I think I should, rather than what I want to do. Thought provoking post. Look after yourself and have a lovely Christmas. Mx

Morton S Gray said...

Sorry about your teeth - I hope you put them under your pillow for the tooth fairy!

I think I will be joining you in the life review - I'm too prone to doing things I think I should rather than things I want to do!

Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2014. Mx

Sally said...

Really hoping you are feeling much better and that you will be able to enjoy some festive food! You are lucky to have such a kind dentist. I'm sure he will continue to look after you well.
We both wish you all the best for the coming year xx

Flowerpot said...

Sally - thanks I'm feeling much better thanks - I hope you and Mr S and family have a lovely time and look forward to seeing you in Jan xx

Flowerpot said...

Morton - I think the end of teh old year and the approach of the new is a good time to have a look at what we're doing. Have a good one! x

Flowerpot said...

Kim - he actually specialises in dealing with nervous people as well as a lot of work at the hospital and to do wht implants etc. He's brilliant! x

Chris Stovell said...

One way and another you've had a heck of a lot to deal with. I wish you some plain sailing now - may light breezes and pleasant airs carry you into the New Year. x

Flowerpot said...

Thanks Chris - your year hasnt exactly been a breeze either has it? Let's hope we both have some plain sailing for New Year! x

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I followed a few crumbs to your blog today, and find your post very timely for the end of the year, and how things are for me--Thank you for a perfect reminder.

I am sorry that you lost 2 of your teeth. I've worked in the dental field for more than 20 years, and know how how it affects people--I hope you're not having too much discomfort today. Take care and enjoy your holidays!

Flowerpot said...

Kim - good to see you again and thanks for your comments. Hope you enjoy the holidays, too!

Nichole Mercado said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your current condition. I think I remember Matthew Horne DDS mentioning that tooth loss is influenced by incomplete nutrition intake. Anyway, you blogging about your daily experiences with anorexia is truly inspiring. It's not an easy thing to do, firstly to even admit that you are what you are. I doff my hat to you and your bravery. I hope everything goes well from this point on.

Flowerpot said...

Nichole - I'm glad to say the anorexic part was many years ago but I hadn't realised it would have such a long standing effect on my gums. Thanks for your thoughts though.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Just stopping by to let you know I'm thinking about you this evening--Hope you had a good Christmas and are doing well! Take care, okay?

Flowerpot said...

Kim - thanks for your thoughts and wishing you all the very best for 2014. Take care x