‘Dental implant treatment gave me my life back’
Caroline smiles and laughs a lot. To anyone who meets her now, she is an outgoing, confident lady. Until recently her bubbly personality was overshadowed. For more than eight years she suffered the pain and embarrassment of a failing front tooth. This is her story in her own words:
“I was on holiday in the USA with my family when I developed an abscess behind one of my front teeth. I put up with it, as I didn’t want to spoil the holiday. But a gap grew in between my teeth and it was very painful. By the time I was home, the abscess had gone but gradually the tooth started to drop, until it became quite noticeable.
Everyone I worked with knew I had a problem, but they were discreet and acted as though they didn’t notice. However, I work as a secretary and have to face new people every day. I became more and more conscious of them looking at my tooth. I would tighten my lip to avoid it showing. I was very embarrassed and didn’t want to talk to anyone about it.
I couldn’t eat properly as the tooth was very painful. I had to put food to the sides of my mouth to be able to bite and chew. I didn’t want to go out for meals or to friends’ birthday parties. If I had to eat in a public place, I would make excuses and find somewhere out of the way to sit. Having my photo taken was horrendous – I wouldn’t smile and would look serious, which isn’t me at all!
Eighteen months ago, I decided enough was enough, I had to do something. I researched local dentists and found one or two I thought might be able to help. A colleague had been treated by Dr Jatin Desai at Gipsy Lane Smiles. He was enthusiastic about his experience, so I decided to make an appointment.
I was impressed by the practice - everyone was friendly and welcoming. Dr Desai put me at ease, and was thorough and professional. I felt I could trust him, and I relaxed. Having examined my teeth, Jatin recommended I see a specialist periodontist colleague. She would confirm whether I could have a single implant to replace my front tooth or whether more treatment was needed.
After consulting his colleague, Jatin told me that he could remove the infected tooth and replace it with a single implant. But I would need some bone grafting, as the infection had destroyed some of the bone in my jaw.
At my next appointment, Jatin removed the tooth and cleared away all the infection. He grafted the bone and put the implant in at the same time. The treatment was painless and, although I had a little swelling the next day, I did not need any painkillers.
The implant was left to heal for three months. In the meantime I had a temporary bridge. I was amazed how even that looked so much better than before. The pain had gone and I felt different already. I could smile again but, if I smiled too much, the bridge showed.
After the healing period, Dr Desai took x-rays to check the grafted bone, which he was happy had taken well. I had a trip to the laboratory in Newbury to colour match my final crown. Then, just before Christmas, I had the final fitting.
When Jatin handed me a mirror and I looked at my tooth I was so delighted, I cried! I then hugged him and his nurse, Jenny! I just couldn’t believe it and words cannot explain how I felt. Now I can smile, I have no pain and I am back to normal.
I realise that, through all those years, I couldn’t be me, but now I have my life back! I have just celebrated my wedding anniversary and I was so excited about going out for a meal. I could relax and enjoy myself at last.
To anyone who is thinking of having dental implants I would say: Don’t hesitate, go and speak to a dentist. There is always something that can be done.”