Monday, August 24, 2009

Sink Your Choppers In!

One of my favorite bloggers -Suldog -has posted several times on a topic that I think about a lot. It's one that has affected me, my children and grandchildren too but it is one that I've steered away from because it is a source of sensitivity for me. It's caused me a lot of grief over the years in the form of embarrassment and being very self-conscious.

But I've decided if Jim can be brave and talk about his problem with this stuff, so can I.

And that would be teeth!

For me, this has always been something that made me wish for someone like the Plano cosmetic dentist and I'd be willing to wager that all three of my kids and my older grandson too would vote with me on that!

As a child, the shape of my teeth -that they came in and protruded, bothered me and was also a source of teasing by kids back then too. Even family members made comments about my teeth. Some of my relatives told my Mom the reason this happened to me was that it was an inherited thing passed on to me from my Dad's one sister who had what was then referred to as "buck teeth." As a child, going into my teens, I wanted my Mom to see about my getting braces but the dentist we had then advised against that. It was his thought that my teeth were too soft and that braces would totally rot them out so that ruled the aspect of straight teeth out then and there.

After I got out of school and began working, I sought out another dentist for a second opinion. His theory of the cause of my crooked teeth was that it was because my second teeth came in before my jawbones were fully formed and that pushed the front teeth out that way. (I got my 6-year molars at age 4; 12-year molars at age 8 and my wisdom teeth by the time I was 12. Not that they gave me any abundance of wisdom though.) That dentist extracted two teeth near the front of my mouth and fitted me with a brace -of sorts -just a retainer thing, not the wires directly on my teeth for months on end. This did move the two front teeth back a tiny bit but not much.

Years passed and my teeth went "south" on me and I ended up with an upper partial plate about 15-20 years ago and then 10 years ago, a full set of dentures. The first upper partial actually did improve the appearance of my mouth a little bit but the change over to a full set of dentures did more damage -in my opinion -of my image than good.

You see, by the time I got the full set of dentures in place, it was more than obvious that the problem all along was not just the way my teeth came in too early but also that I have the same bone structure in my lower jaw that my older daughter -and my older grandson have -a maloclusion of the lower jaw!

Translated that means the lower jaw doesn't meet properly to the upper jaw so with my "new" full set of dentures now my lower teeth extend out and do not meet with my upper teeth! This, to me, is just as bad, if not worse than the situation was with the damned upper teeth protruding out!

And it makes eating a lot more difficult too.

Now that last bit there should be a big of help to me if eating is difficult then maybe I wouldn't eat as much but unfortunately, I have learned to worm my way around that problem.

But, considering all the dental problems there I've had over the years and that proper fitting teeth -whether they be the ones the Good Lord gave us or ones the dentist made for us -should work to provide complete and proper mastication which in turn, is an aid for proper digestion. And, with that in mind, perhaps as I grew up if my teeth had been fixed then or the maloclusion corrected, my digestive processes would not have come under attack and who knows, perhaps I wouldn't have ended up with colo-rectal cancer then either. Well, that might be a far stretch there with the cancer thing since colo-rectal cancer as well as stomach cancer both run in my family so that still might have ended up on my doorstep anyway.

But one thing is for sure, had I had proper care and straightening of my teeth early on, it sure would have helped my ego immensely then -and even now!


Sandee said...

My teeth are crooked too. Not real bad, but crooked nonetheless. I wish I had straight teeth too. I see you have a bit different problem though. I can relate. Our appearance is indeed important to each and everyone of us. Thanks for sharing.

Have a terrific day. :)

janeywan said...

Your absolutely right about how ones teeth can really effect self esteem.
We have some friends that their daughter has crooked teeth and I know the poor thing is self conscious about them, as she always covers her mouth and you never see her smile.
How does one politely suggest to the parents that they should do something?? They have the money, could be a cultural thing, don't know.
I'm sorry you didn't get the proper care when you needed it. It sure hasn't kept you from being a wonderful person and that's what counts.

One Wacky Mom said...

Hi Jeni,
I understand this issue and thank you for your courage to discuss it. Bless you! Warmest wishes, Ev

Anonymous said...

Kudos for the courage to post about this issue that affects or will affect all of us to some degree, at some point and time. Thx for the education in maloclusion as well! I had never heard of it and I'm guess a lot of your readers haven't either.

Deb said...

This is a post that so many can relate to - myself included! People who are born with perfect teeth or who can afford dental work have no idea how blessed they truly are. Being able to smile without fear of ridicule and to eat without any complications or worries is a gift and the cost for necessary dental work can be astronomical. Thanks for writing an educational and honest post. Take care.

Maggie May said...

Jeni, my teeth are crooked to. There wasn't much could be done in those days.
I get a bit fed up with children asking me why my teeth are crooked.
Oh well.......!

Linda said...

When I was in my early 40's, I finally had the money to get my teeth straightened after a lifetime of putting up with crooked teeth. It wasn't fun having braces at 40 but it wasn't horrible either and after three years, my teeth looked great!

Then ... I went to see a new dentist and he told me that one of my teeth really needed a crown so he put one in and it has totally messed up my bottom teeth as now there are all out of line again and there's a gap between the crown and one of the teeth next to it that gets stuff stuck in it all the time and it hurts! The dentist totally messed up three years of braces and rubber bands and retainers and probably all for nothing. I went back to my old dentist to see if I really needed the second crown this guy was proposing and he said 'heck no!'

I so wish I had stuck with my original dentist to begin with and not gone to someone located closer as my bottom teeth would probably still be fine if I had!

Jocelyn said...

So true. Those childhood issues never leave your case, I respect how you're trying to get the problem into a perspective you can deal with. But, oh, I feel for all you've been through.

terri said...

They're doing so much more to prevent dental issues these days and catching problems earlier, but it's still SO expensive!

I too had dental problems as a kid. My jaw was too small for all my teeth and I had extreme overcrowding. My parents couldn't afford braces, so I had to live with it. When I was 23, I had some problems and I learned I could still get braces, so I went for it. Paid for them myself and I feel much better about how my teeth look. I still wish things could have been taken care of when I was a kid... there were a lot of self-esteem issues associated with my teeth!

Skittles said...

I've had good teeth most of my life but lately they are going bad. I need to get to see a dentist soon. Maybe after we move. (Yeah, right.)

Here's another comment for the Skittles/Shelby file. =)

Debo Blue said...

My teeth aren't crooked but they have spaces between them. I guess you can say my mouth looks like a picket fence:-)

I'm the only one of 7 siblings with spaces between the teeth, everyone has perfect teeth.

Sometimes life isn't fair:-)