I’m about to talk about something that’s deeply personal to me. Now that it’s happened, I can talk about it. I couldn’t talk about it before, because I was in the middle of it and it made me feel bad.

Teeth.

If you don’t like things about teeth, move along.

First, a little backstory. Growing up, my parents got fluoride treatment for me and my brother. I couldn’t have asked for better dental care from them.

And now the story at hand. It started ten years ago. I was eating a chicken korma, and a tooth that had been fixed with root canal treatment a number of years before broke off. I had a gap. This is what I looked like;

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I went to the dentist and they removed what was left, and damaged the one next to it, which they fixed.

Then, a couple of years later, that one broke. Then the other side, another broke. I stopped smiling in photos. I mumbled. My confidence plummeted. Every night, I went to sleep, dreaming about getting them fixed. As time went on, my teeth got worse, and worse. I had no smile, and rarely let out a “proper” smile. I ignored the problem.

I got into ham radio, and made some friends. I chatted with the guys alot, including one. Louis. In planning the IOTA 2012 trip to Guernsey, we had a chat on Skype. He remarked “The image isn’t great.. are you missing teeth?” And it stuck with me. It got into my head, and I started obsessing about it internally, yet still putting it off… “I’ll call the dentist next week.” Every week.

Warp forwards to September 2014, and I got tired of not smiling. There wasn’t a single photo of me letting a smile out. So I made the call, made an appointment, and went. I sat in the chair, and said “I know it’s awful. Please fix me.”

Over the course of 18 months, I had four extractions (one involved the hospital), two dentists,  and plenty of waiting. In May 2015, Louis passed away. That’s a whole other post. November 2015, and the last extraction was done. I was ready for teeth! Sort of…

This is what I looked like.

The dentist advised that I had to wait for the gums to heal…. for 4 months. This felt like such a long time.

But it passed, and in February 2016, we went for a checkup and I booked the first of four sessions for getting a denture made. First, an impression. Second, bite analysis. Third, soft version of the finished article.

Then the date came… 9th March 2016. I went to the dentist, they sat me down, I tried the denture. It needed a little adjustment, but it’s fine now.

My confidence has skyrocketed. Eating with it is still problematic, but my waistline won’t complain. 🙂 Most of all, I can smile… ten years of not smiling takes its toll. I’m still learning how to talk properly, and not mumble. I’m learning how to smile again.

Why am I saying this here? It’s a tale of caution. If you’re a parent, don’t let your kids drink pop. This is what happens when a young man is left to his own devices. No matter your age, go to the dentist regularly. If there are issues, get them sorted as soon as possible. It’s worth it, trust me. They will only get worse.

Oh, and one last thing.. this was the picture I sent to my wife and my mother as soon as I left that day. I can only hope that Louis would approve, and then call me a terrible cunt.

FINALLY!– Dan

As a last note, I’d like to give thanks to Dr Afrin Magra and the staff at Whitecross Dental Centre in Leeds. They were nothing but fantastic all of the way through the process. The whole team at that practice deserves an award, and they are fantastic at what they do.