I don’t remember having my teeth taken out. The first time was at some dentist office in Texas. Then Chicago, then in Colorado. I don’t remember how many got pulled out every time either or in what year this whole process even started. I have 5 front-bottom missing teeth and I am now 28 years-old. I can’t believe that I don’t know how long or if I even ever walked around for a period of time in the beginning without a tooth. When did I start wearing retainers to cover up my missing teeth? I seriously can’t remember.
At the time all of this started, I would definitely say that I was a cocaine addict. I can look back now and confidently say, I was sick, I was someone who truly was addicted to cocaine and “needed” it on a constant basis for a few years. I also smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day. (how did I ever do that?) So…my dental health was not at the top of its game but I would not have thought that things would have turned out the way that they did.
I became aware at some point along this journey that I have a gum disease called periodontal disease. Basically, my gum lines began to recede quickly and became extremely bothersome. It was not comfortable. I remember one day realizing I was seeing the nerves underneath my tooth and the pain was excruciating. Of course, using cocaine did not help this disease, which at the time, I didn’t know I had. I did not have insurance in any way, shape or form, and so I went to a dentist. I was not necessarily surprised to hear that the root of the tooth was dead and it had to be pulled out.
The next time I actually remember getting anything pulled was in Chicago by an awesome dental student who has now graduated. I am very thankful for his time and efforts spent with me. You are the real MVP man. You took your time to try and help me, not only to figure out financially how I could budget getting work done but you also had a way of making me feel comfortable. You created multiple retainers to make me more confident with who I was on a daily basis. When one was bothering me or beginning to feel uncomfortable, you were sure to make another option for me. I thank you for all you did.
Many people might not know, but this is and has been such a difficult journey for me. I sit here now with 5 missing front-bottom teeth but as the most motivated and determined woman I have ever been. Tuesday, I get to go and get my final implants in and I cannot explain the emotions I imagine I will be feeling. I decided I wanted to write about this difficult journey I have had because it is so raw and real. I think when people look at me, they wouldn’t believe some of the stories I have to tell. I don’t think I am anything special, because everyone has a story. My hopes are that someone reads this themselves and feels empowered to share a difficult story of a hard time they have experienced.
I have had to take out my retainer every time I have wanted to eat for the past couple of years and it has, at times really broken me down. My confidence levels have fluctuated over the years due to my dental issues. I am 28 years-old and could not afford and did not have the resources to immediately get these dental issues fixed. I have mentally torn myself down and compared myself to looking like a grandmother without her teeth in. I can hear and feel the slight lisp it makes me have. The pain and the emotions from this specific experience cannot be compared to any others for me.
Last year, I finally went out in search of someone who could solve my problem of having missing teeth. I wanted a quick fix for the problem but it wasn’t exactly that. This has been a yearlong process and almost $10,000 of hard work later, I am going in to get my final teeth put in. They will last me for the rest of my life and I am really at a loss for words as of right now on how thankful I am that the day has finally come. I’ll be documenting how Tuesday goes for me as far as the emotions because I feel this will be an overwhelming experience for me. Everyone experiences different difficult situations in their lifetime and I think sharing these emotions and stories with others can be such a growing process where we can not only learn from one another but also learn more about ourselves.
Stay tuned for Tuesdays update!