I have thought long and hard about this….several weeks in fact. I have finally arrived at the decision that if I don’t ask for help I am just going to continue a downward spiral. First allow me to tell you the dental situation: I have lost all my molars starting when I was 18. I am now 56. I have 6 teeth left on top but just lost a critical front one and have serious cavities in 3 of those and another front one is dead and will break off soon. I have 9 on the bottom but 3 are almost gone due to cavity. Eating is very difficult and no matter how I care for my appearance the missing and black teeth are judged very harshly and I am embarrassed any time I have to talk.
So, how did I get here? I unfortunately followed my Mom and siblings in how they lost their teeth so there is some genetics at fault. Up to 5 years ago I worked and over the years either paid for dental care myself or used insurance when I was lucky enough to have it. I brushed and flossed more than anyone I know (literally) and watched as my teeth started to get worse no matter what I did. Then (5 years ago) I was the victim of a violent and random assault which by itself was terrifying and degrading but it opened up the memories of a childhood I had worked very hard to keep “boxed up” in my mind. I cannot go into very specific details and I can only hope you will not hold that against me when deciding whether or not to help. I will tell you that my Dad was killed when I was a year old and I suffered along with my siblings under two step-fathers. There is probably very little abuse that I have not witnessed or been a victim of. I did however vow to myself, as a teenager, that this abuse and sexual abuse would not define me or hold me back and for about 30 years I held my head up and worked hard. I pretty much worked two jobs or the equivalent for 28 years and I married a wonderful woman and raised two beautiful children while breaking the abuse cycle. Of this I am very proud and those who know what I endured as a child have offered so much encouragement and praise for what we accomplished.
The attack that happened approximately five years ago has robbed me of the ability to function normally. I live with gut-wrenching anxiety every single day. I am now as I was as a child. I jump at the slightest noise and when anyone raises their voice even slightly I feel scared and sick to my stomach. I have done everything right as far as getting help but keep running into walls where long-term mental health is concerned. I have lost virtually everything except my wife of 35 years, our two children and wonderful grandchildren. It is so humiliating though when my 4 year old grandson asks why I have “no teeth”. I have only ever wanted to teach my children and grandchildren to be ethical, have integrity and work whenever work is available and now I feel like such a failure. There are very few days that don’t start with me sitting on my bed crying. I cry for the pain I carry from my childhood. I cry for being a victim 5 years ago. I cry for the look in my wife’s eyes and I cry because with this dental situation people are reacting to me in a way I have never experienced.
I have three teeth broken off at the gum line and the remaining pieces are rotting in my gums so they have to be removed. I then have to have all remaining top teeth removed and replaced with a denture. The bottom teeth will need to be repaired and three removed with the intent of a partial denture for the bottom. As it is now I have difficulty eating and combined with my anxiety I have lost 45 pounds in a year without trying or wanting to.
These procedures and devices are going to end up costing approximately $7,000 and I have absolutely no resources or the credit rating to get any.
I hope I have given enough information for you to make a decision and if you decide to pass on my situation and help someone else I will say thank you for reading to this point and hope that if you encounter someone with missing teeth that you will consider it may not be because of neglect or personal habits. Thank you so much for reading my plea!