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Periodontitis and my journey to retained implants


Yorkshire boy

Junior member
Jun 23, 2018
I wanted to share my journey (currently starting on the retained implant route) for anyone in a similar position who might like a read. This maybe long so i do apologise for going on and on, but i find it cathartic.

My current position as of today is this, I'm 54, have suffered from advanced periodontitis for many years, all through my own fault. I have 4 teeth left at the top (back 2 each side, and 7 teeth on the bottom, all at the front). I have worn several partial upper dentures including acrylic and valplast, and I have just started my treatment for getting an upper retained denture, the bottom teeth I have left are okay for now and suffice. Since being a child i have hated visiting the dentist, and walked out of waiting rooms before treatment on several occasions because the dread had overcome me.

To be honest actually writing this down and sharing it is a bit of a wake up call realising you are in this position with your teeth and mental state about them, but here i go:

I have never looked after or cleaned my teeth, not even slightly well. In short i have been a worst case scenario. As a child i didn't brush well and even now my Mother who is in now in her 80's tells me so. I sometimes feel like saying "Well maybe you should have told me" but then realise she probably did and i just carried on doing a bad job. Fast forward to teenage years and my early 20's. I was a bit of a rogue and lived a nightclub life full time. and the habit of not cleaning got worse, sometimes not bothering at all before going to bed, and only a cursory quick brush in the morning. I'm pretty sure looking back that i probably went some days without cleaning at all and used chewing gum to freshen my mouth.

To exacerbate matters i had smoked since i was 18... yes ...not only was i not cleaning, i had introduced the gum killer specialist to my mouth. My dental visits were also few and far between. i didn't like going to the dentist by now, and this probably stemmed from a painful visit as a child in the late 70's. I don't know to this day whether it was a dentist at fault, or technology was not that good in those days, or just an unlucky one -off, but the visit was painful, very painful. From then on being aged 18-30 i maybe had 5 further visits!! This was early 1980's so there wasn't (or didn't seem to be) the focus there is nowadays on having good oral hygiene. If you had asked me what a hygienist was in those days, i wouldn't have a clue. Plus nothing was really showing major problems yet, but when i dated a dental assistant when i was 28 she told me i "had bad teeth". I think maybe smoking was disguising problems, as i have heard it can prevent bleeding gums, which can be tell tale.

Now anyone else might have thought twice now and had their teeth checked, and been concerned about their self image, not me, i just carried on with the bad habits. In my mid 30's things got worse. I went for a wisdom tooth out and asked for sedation. Apparently it went okay, but when i came to i was crying my eyes out. No idea why to this day, but it left a further impression on me....i DIDN'T like dentists.

The bad cleaning carried on, cursory brushing, never flossing (i first flossed at the age of 50, the horse had bolted by then!) , still smoking, and a sweet tooth - to literally put the cherry on the tooth decay cake. Close friends were occasionally commenting now, especially one who had worked in dentistry who told me my gums were receding alarmingly. I never really looked at my gums, i mean, i had hardly even been looking at my teeth. Yet still no alarm bells were ringing inside my obstinate head, I carried on regardless. I needed some kind of push, and it would take self pride and vanity to show their face. At the age of 45 they turned up to the party.

I had come out of a divorce and was dating a new girl when whilst in a restaurant one of my front upper teeth just snapped off. I blamed the sticky toffee pudding, but in reality it was waiting to come out. The pudding lasted longer than the girl, it needs to be said, and my pride was shot to pieces.

I called a local dentist (yes ...again i wasn't registered with anyone and it had been 8 years without even seeing anyone), who agreed an emergency appointment. He managed to fix it, but said i needed to see a gum specialist and a hygienist, as they were severely receding and i had major plaque build ups. In the meantime i had lost a few back teeth, so in the back of my mind it bothered me but was hardly noticeable if smiles were not big grins. I was referred to a periodontist.

Honestly they were superb, I had deep root cleaning, polishing, whitening, etc etc, and was very happy with the way they looked. Now at this point i should have stuck to the visits and gone for 3 monthly cleaning, but yet again, i started to lapse. I flossed with inter-dentals for about 3-4 weeks, and was cleaning well, but this didn't last, again my own self discipline let me down, this along with a busy work life and several changes in my personal life meant i went back to forgetting about my mouth.

Forward to 2 years ago. The specialist i had been seeing was a long lost friend, and by now several of my upper front teeth are becoming mobile, and things don't look good. Smiling or even talking is becoming an issue. I'm now conscious of it on a daily basis. They are also stained quite badly because of the smoking, not cleaning well and red wine which had become my favourite tipple. You will no doubt have no sympathy and rightly so, i had been given warnings and continually failed to heed any lessons. Honestly, i cannot put my finger on it as to why. I spend hours now wishing i had done things differently and even in my own head i don't know why i haven't at least tried to look after my teeth. Maybe i'm lazy, or maybe if i put my head in the sand i thought it would go away, or maybe i was happy as long as it wasn't obvious to other people.

The harsh truth is i have waited until I have 10 teeth left and waited until its become an issue to even leave the house.

So i just read this all back and not realised how much i have rambled on, without even getting to the issue of my treatment over the last year, and which is ongoing. I had extractions last week and hope to have retained implants fitted in September.

I have run out of spare time today, but will continue with hopefully a more concise story next time, but includes:

How the last year has been full of lessons not just about teeth but dentists
What i did next, the treatment i have had, including visiting various UK dental specialists along with that old favourite, a visit Hungary to enquire about cheap implants.

Yorkshire Boy
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Super Moderator
Staff member
Jul 26, 2017
Minneapolis, MN
Wow.. Thank you so much for sharing your story! You will be an encouragment to many ! Its sounds as if you were so brave to go through much treatment and different experiences .. Can't wait to hear more of your journey!