As a child, I had poor, if any dental care - my own lack of taking care of my teeth set me up for a bad dental future! That, and my family on both
sides, has a history of bad dental health. Both my mom and dad had dentures at a fairly early age. Keeping in mind that dentistry
was a bit different then, things have become much better in saving teeth.
At 17, I joined the US Air Force. I joined for the educational benefits, but I really got great dental care - I took care of everything I could while in
the service. I count this strategy for the length of time I was able to continue to keep my teeth.
In my thirties, I had rarely seen the dentist. At some point I had to have a tooth pulled (molar). Right after that, I needed a root canal on the
tooth next to that one. During the root canal, the tooth broke, so I just had my dentist at the time extract the rest of the tooth.
I met my wife in my mid thirties (I am 48 as of January, 2011). She had a good routine about getting in for dental appointments and cleanings, so
I got in the groove too.
What I noticed for some time however is that I consistently had a dull kind of pain all the time in my mouth. I would say that in general, my
mouth was never fully "happy". I started to do some research on the Internet and look for the causes and solutions to the problem. In my work,
I am around doctors of all types every day. I get to hear how they solved someone's problem for a variety of situations - all types of doctors,
but dentists too.
Eventually, I discovered that my situation was probably not all that rare, but it is interesting. I had relatively healthy teeth in good bone. What
I had was poor gums. Food particles would remain below the gum line and have a field day in there. I don't remember when it was,
but about two years after I started looking into my condition on the Internet, I had decided to extract all of my teeth and get dentures.
With my wife's help, I located another dentist, but I did not trust him so much and he did not do all the extractions himself, and he did not have
a dental lab in house to make the dentures. After a few months, my wife located my current dentist just as I was prepared to go to Canada and
seek out a denturist.
After an initial consultation, Doc and I discussed what we could do and how it could be done. Remaining on the conservative side financially, I
went along with the idea. Why not save the teeth I have if they can be all that they had never been?
At first, I went into a study group he participates in where about 20 dental experts examine my teeth and records to find he best way
to save the teeth. Long story short, I was certain that extensive dental treatment was out of the question for me - I don't have the time to
spend that much in the chair.
So Doc and I decided together to go along with a conservative treatment plan and watch my situation very closely. I had deep scaling done (very
good cleaning that requires numbing to do). Then I followed up with cleanings about four or more times a year. During this time, cosmetically, I
had my teeth whitened with BriteSmile. I also had the two front teeth bonded to make a nice smile you see on other pages. I kept up the
cleanings and after about 2 and a half years, we checked on my overall condition once again.
At this point we decided together that in my situation, trying to achieve all the dental goals that I wanted to make at the best cost / benefit
would be to go ahead and extract the teeth and do the dentures.
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