This is something very hard for me to do, I’ve always been very uncomfortable asking for help, especially financial help, but I’ve reached a point where I am truly desperate.
I’ve had a very unfortunate dental history. In my teens I had an excellent dentist, unfortunately, when he retired I ended up having to find a new NHS dentist.
At about 17, I had an incident where a door swung shut into my face and chipped one of my front teeth.
The dentist at the time frankly did a terrible job of repairing this, it was quite clear the ‘filling’ he made to repair this joined my two front teeth together. It was also quite a painful experience, something I’d not encountered before at the dentist, largely due to how excellent my childhood dentist was.
This resulted in me avoiding appointments with that dentist, I ultimately was then removed from their practice and had to find another NHS dentist.
I met my partner at 19, she was a couple of years older than me and had a 1-year-old son, who had essentially been abused and then abandoned by his biological dad. As our relationship grew I took on the role of his dad, and raised him as my own, we then had a child of our own a few years later.
Unfortunately, a few months after he was born, I ended up out of work after a car accident, the only marginal advantage to this was at the time, I could get free dentistry (to an extent on the NHS), and had recently started having some toothache.
I went for a checkup and it was discovered I had picked up an infection that resulted in some of my back teeth decaying rapidly, I was given a course of antibiotics and then had all 4 drilled and filled.
However, it turned out the infection wasn’t completely gone, and about a year later, all 4 of those teeth had the fillings fall out and break apart within a couple of days of each other.
I was however back in work at this point but we were on a breadline, and I couldn’t afford the NHS fees. We were at a point where I was skipping meals to ensure my missus and my boys had enough to eat, that we could pay bills, etc.
Due to not attending any appointments, I was taken off the register and without an NHS dentist.
After about 5 years, I was able to take on a second job, although I was then unable to find an NHS dentist, due to the massive waiting lists there were in the UK.
We then ended up with another mouth to feed (contraception failure, not intended), and once again I found myself having to skip meals, to feed the family, etc.
Over this time, despite efforts to keep my teeth as well looked after as possible, pain, inflammation, abscess, etc. made it very hard to brush properly a lot of the time.
Even now, I have to take ibuprofen prior to brushing my teeth, and it’s still painful. As well as using an antiseptic mouthwash daily to keep things controlled.
As money started to get marginally better, new job, and was then quickly promoted, I was able to possibly afford some NHS treatment again but was still on the waiting list.
I managed as a matter of luck and perseverance to get registered with an NHS dentist at the end of 2019. I had an assessment and their plan was to remove 7 of my rear teeth. They said implants would be better, but they don’t offer them (both as a practice and via NHS) and I would need dentures.
I explained due to the nature of my work, I would need to plan this in advance as both roles are customer-facing, one more than the other, and being able to talk is essential. They said that wouldn’t be an issue.
However, shortly before the end of 2019 I had the first 2 removed, I requested they did more as explained it needed to be a reasonably quick process overall. They said it’s always been policy not to remove more than 2 teeth at a time.
In between assessment and this appointment, I’d sustained a knee to the face which had damaged the previously botched filling on the front teeth from when I was 17. They said they’d address it at the next appointment.
However, Covid then happened and I was back to not being able to get an appointment/have any work done. During this time, problems progressed, especially at the front where the broken filling had become painful. This, unfortunately, resulted in part of that tooth breaking away, which has had left a noticeable half tooth gap and had a significant impact on my mental health/self-esteem.
The dentist after reopening in 2021, became very awkward about booking appointments so far in advance, and it became difficult to get anything to work around my employment. Money was again an issue for us, and I am again working multiple jobs so being able to arrange and plan in advance is key.
I was then unable to attend the first appointment since, as I had come down ill (not covid, but still not able to have the appointment).
Shortly after this, I was walking back from the school run and a chipping lorry drove through the highstreet and spilt some stone chippings, one of which was then ‘shot’ from the moving tyre and hit me in the face. This damaged two of my teeth, the one intact of the front teeth has a chunk from the side chipped out, the tooth next to that was badly destroyed. Obviously, my mouth was very sore and swollen.
This has left me with most of my top row of teeth damaged significantly, beyond repair or in need of extraction.
I’ve spoken to the dentist, and they’ve said really I should be looking at going private and having the top row replaced with an “4-in-1” implant, but it won’t be done on NHS and they can’t do it.
They’ve said if I can’t afford that I’ll just have to continue having 2 teeth removed at a time until they are all removed and I can have dentures fitted after a recovery period.
I’ve explained how that would leave me unable to do my job and they essentially had a “that’s how it is” attitude.
I’ve looked into this “4-in-1” implant and it looks like it would cost at least £10k, which I simply cannot afford, but comes at the advantage I would be able to essentially have the work completed in a single day, and would allow me to continue being able to work my jobs.
If there is anyone who can afford to help me, this would change my life.
Over the last 15 years, I and my family have battled with hardship and challenge after challenge, to the point, that it feels like we’re cursed. My mental health has not been good for a long time, and this only exacerbates it, the recent issues are more so as my confidence and self-esteem have dropped. The few occasions I have reason to smile are always bittersweet, as I quickly become self-conscious of how hideous my teeth are now.
Being able to have those implants would be entirely life-changing.