My toothless adventure (and what I did about it)

If you’re the observant type, you’ll notice something unfortunate about my photos from the past year - I NEVER show my teeth when I smile.

In fact my lips are pressed so tightly together, you’d be forgiven for wondering if I have any teeth at all.

(I promise I do.)

It’s not that I’m a grouch, but I’ve been hiding a missing tooth for the last seven months (one of my front-ish side teeth...I believe it’s called a “first premolar”).

Last summer I tried surfing for the first (and last) time at a health retreat with my friends (J looked after the little ones...bless him). Never again. It was a disaster. The ocean tossed me around like a toy and a particularly vengeful wave sent the board flying into my mouth.

Not only was this humiliating (the spunky instructor actually laughed at me, I kid you not) but it must have loosened my tooth somewhat.

Nothing “zen” about that.

Fast forward to a week later, there I am eating an olive (perhaps a little too enthusiastically). I accidently chomp down on the pit, and BAM….my poor tooth is hanging on for death life. I had no choice but to yank it out - instantly transported to my childhood, but with no gift from the tooth fairy to look forward to!

Anyway, you probably don’t want to read my entire life story. The point of this post is to brag that I now have a smile that rivals even the flashiest models in those toothpaste ads. My confidence has been restored with a full set of teeth, and I have Dr Alistair Graham from Mona Vale Dental to thank for that (thank you, thank you, thank you!).  

  (not me...but this is how I now feel)

“Dental implant” sounds like a daunting procedure to me - which is why I delayed getting one for so long. Dr Graham put me at ease straight away. He explained everything and patiently answered my long list of questions (I like to be prepared). Dr Graham held my hand (figuratively speaking) through every step of the process - from the consultation, x-rays and scans to the actual procedure and recovery.

A dental implant is basically an artificial root that’s surgically inserted into your mouth to replace the root of your natural tooth. This attaches to an artificial tooth that looks and feels every bit as real as an organic tooth (I can’t tell the difference, neither can any of my loved ones...and they’re painfully honest about these things).

The surgery itself went really well and I’m booked in for another appointment in a few days (not dreading this one).

Why didn’t I have this procedure sooner? I could have spared the world so many grimacing “half-smile” photos and avoided looking like a camel when chewing food disproportionately on one side of my mouth.

If you’re in a similar situation but feeling anxious about getting a dental implant, don’t procrastinate like I did. The sooner you get it done, the better (so you can stop hiding your smile and chewing like a camel too).