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Really struggling post extractions and bone grafting



Junior member
Jan 14, 2018
My journey started as a child-my mother never brushed my teeth, nor did she encourage me to do so. I was unwanted and she made sure I knew it. The first dentist appointment I went to was after she hit me in the face and chipped some of my bottom teeth, which when I handed the chips to her, she threw them down the sink and turned the disposal on. She made sure I knew how inconvenient not to mention expensive it was to take me to the dentist to get these teeth fixed. Into my teens, my teeth eroded, my molars down to the gum line. My mother would tell me to open my mouth then poke fun of me for the condition of my teeth.

Fast forward and I’m 22 years d and my mouth is a nightmare. My mother sends me to her dentist(she never missed a checkup) where he told her the only thing he could do was crown all of them except the bottom front 6, which he could do fillings. It took 3 years to do all the work, but it got done, and bizarrely, my mother paid for it all.

I dont go to a dentist again until I’m 34 and have a raging toothache. My bottom 6 front teeth had by now eroded. My dental plan at work(in the US) assigned me a dentist. I went looking for help and he couldn’t do anything that day. I was in a blinding amount of pain and blatantly begged him to do something, anything. It was utterly humiliating to be in that situation. He showed no compassion and his disgust was obvious. He checked with the endodontist in the office to see if he could help and he was able to do a root canal then and there. He was a lovely and reassuring man! I vowed to fix my bottom teeth and proceeded to have an extraction, 4 root canals, 5 crown lengthening procedures, a bridge over the extraction site and crowns on the rest. It was awful, but I did it. The dentist though never stopped about all the work i’d had done, how I obviously didn’t take care of my teeth etc. I had a molar crown break off and the resulting infection caused the whole side of my face to swell and I couldn’t open my jaw. He pushed a bite block in to be able to look, the pain of which I’ll never forget. I started crying from it. He said I needed an extraction, gave me a list and said to call round and find someone to do it. I never went back to him ever.

At 45 I am able to get a dental plan where I pick my own dentist. I have a cavity under a crown, it doesn’t hurt and I can’t deal with going to a dentist who I assume will once again mock me, and question whether I was anorexic or bulimic because that’s got to be what happened.

At 47, I feel a couple more cavities along the gum line between the crown and tooth. I mentioned to a coworker that I need to see a dentist but I’m terrified to go. He recommends his saying I’d love her, she’s the best. It took me 6 more months to pick up the phone. I was literally nauseated when I went in. She asked, as she should, how did I come to have every tooth crowned. I told her. She was stupefied as to how a parent could treat a child in such a way. In an instant, I knew I’d found ‘my’ dentist. I needed a couple new crowns, a molar extracted since the decay was too extensive. These were taken care of quickly and pretty much painlessly. But the big problem was the I had severe external root resorption along my bottom front teeth to the extent that she was surprised they weren’t loose. She sent me for a cone beam CT scan and the results were devastating. Not only were my roots destroyed, but I had lost a bunch of bone in my jaw. The only choices were to have these 6 teeth extracted. Then choose either a partial or implants. I’m fortunate in that I can afford the implants, and so have chosen that route. She referred me to an oral surgeon, who like her, showed me nothing but kindness and reassurance.

8 days ago, I had the 6 extractions with an oral sugeon. After the extractions he made an incision across all the sockets in order to clean out everything, then I had extensive bone grafting. Thankfully I had IV sedation that worked an absolute treat. Everything went better than I expected.

I took 5 days off work. I was fitted with a temporary partial while I heal and during the implant process. I used it for the first day back to work. It was really tight and by the end of my shift I couldn’t wait to take it out. It almost hurt worse after that and my gums bled. They had also become more swollen. I dreaded putting the stay plate back in the next day, but there’s no way I’m working without it. The days that followed were a bit better. I’d get home, take a pain pill, put an ice pack on. Crawled to the weekend to have 2 glorious stay plate free days. My regular dentist also called to check up on me which was lovely. I was reassured as the swelling goes away, it will fit much better. She scheduled a call to check inagain this coming week.

I did well the first couple days back at work with a super sore mouth. But come the 3rd day, I woke up just wanting to cry. I was depressed, anxious, feeling lost and broken. Really feeling fragile, vulnerable and overwhelmed. My gums are still really sore. I didn’t imagine they would hurt and be swollen for so long. I’m not eating nearly enough since being anxious and depressed causes me to lose my appetite. I have so much shame around my teeth-I remember all too well the years of covering my mouth when I talked. Ashamed when my mother would make me open my mouth and show her my teeth when she knew damned well what they looked like. The idea of anyone seeing me without the stay plate in is beyond horrifying. I imagine people would laugh at me behind thier hands. I can’t wait until this is over. I never thought it would be so difficult emotionally.

Thanks for reading.
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Dear ZannaBanana,

your story is a very sad one, I'm so sorry to read what you have been through in your life. I wished you would have found someone supportive much earlier and would be saved at least from further negative dental experiences as you were adult. It's not ok for a dentist to show disgust and it's not ok to mock you. It must have cost you a lot of self discipline and suffering to complete the treatment despite that.
It is relieving to read that you have found a lovely supportive dentist.

I understand that there are a lot of emotions and memories going on for you right now and it's not just the pain and discomfort you are dealing with but your past and trauma as well. You are being very brave for enduring this and I wish you will recover very soon. Hopefully once the pain subsides you will feel better and start to feel proud for what you achieved. It's also sure that nobody would laugh at you because of your teeth. I understand that this is how you think because you experienced it this way, and I also get how deep seated this thoughts are, but the most people are kind and would have compassion for your situation.
Hope you have some friends or family members around who can support you on this journey and also hope you have a counsellor who helps you to process all those terrible things from your past.

All the best wishes, may you recover very soon, may your lovely dentist keep offering you support.
Keep us posted.