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Dentures at a Young Age

Updated on June 14, 2013

Hi, I'm Young and I Have Dentures

Most people with dentures get them later in life. I'm sure you've seen Grandma or Grandpa putting their teeth in a glass of water at night. It's a common thing to associate false teeth with the elderly, but that's not always the case.

Me? I'm 25, and only 6 of the teeth in my mouth are my own now. Last year, I had 26 extractions and was fitted with immediate dentures. I've created this lens to share my story, and also to hopefully help and encourage anybody who may be going through what I went through, or something similar.

Getting dentures is a scary process. Saying goodbye to your own teeth, knowing that you'll never have them again is hard, no matter how bad they may be. It gets better, though. I can tell you that first hand. Barely two months after my procedure, and I'm happier than I've ever been in my life.

My Story

I've always had problems with my teeth, ever since I was a little kid. A lot of it was my own fault... When I was a child, I did all I could to avoid brushing my teeth, simply because I didn't like it. As I grew older and started to realise how important oral hygiene was, I started to take more care of them, but it still wasn't enough.

When I reached my late teens, I went through a bout of severe depression where I neglected all personal hygiene completely. I didn't even want to get out of bed in the morning. As a result, the health of my teeth suffered and, due to past bad experiences, I didn't go to the dentist for years. Add to this the fact that some kind of gum disease runs in my family, and both my mother and grandmother had full dentures before they were 40 years old, and it wasn't looking great for me.

Eventually my teeth went past the point of no return and I knew they couldn't be saved. It started to affect my daily life. I became depressed again, simply because I was so embarrassed. My teeth were ruining my life. Sometimes it got so bad that I actually contemplated suicide.

I didn't smile anymore - at least, not with my teeth showing! I was self conscious when talking to people and often looked away. I'd cover my mouth while laughing, and always look at other people's teeth, wishing that I could smile genuinely like they did and not have to hide.

I'd look back at old pictures of myself and it would make things worse. I used to have a nice smile. I was happy, confident and outgoing, but all of that had been ripped away from me.

I went to see a cosmetic dentist in August of last year to get a consultation. I didn't tell anybody that I was going, but he confirmed that most of my teeth needed extracting and only 6 of them were worth keeping. The problem? The cost would be £11,000 per jaw. There was no WAY I could afford that. When I got home, I told my Dad where I'd really been (I told him I was covering a shift for somebody at work) and I told him I'd have to look for a dentist on the NHS (British health care), or a cheaper, private one.

Then fear overtook me again, and I left it for months. By December, I was suffering from unbearable toothaches and repeated abscesses. It took me until February to do anything about it. I registered with a local dentist, and it's the best decision I have ever made.

Are you worried?

Do you worry about needing dentures in the future?

See results
Before being taken down for surgery.
Before being taken down for surgery.

The Procedure

Things moved FAST!

From registering with the dentist (my first appointment was February 8th), things moved very, VERY quickly, and I'm grateful, because it gave me no time to change my mind and continue to suffer and be unhappy. My dentist recommended that I had the extractions done at the hospital, because it would work out a lot cheaper.

In England, we're fortunate enough to have the National Health Service, so undergoing surgery wouldn't cost me anything. If I had the extractions done at the dentist, it would have been £95 per tooth, putting the cost of the total procedure at over £2000. Having the extractions done at the hospital left the cost at £800 - the cost of the dentures.

I met with a consultant at the hospital and was given the option of having just Novocaine (the usual dental anaesthetic), local anaesthetic (I'd be awake, but completely numb) or a general anaesthetic (totally out, and no idea of what was happening). Because I was such a nervous dental patient, I opted for the general. I was having 26 teeth taken out - I didn't want to be awake while they did that to me.

My surgery was scheduled for the 16th June - 5 days before I was due to fly to America. The doctors advised against my trip being so soon, but there was no way I wasn't having the op, so I went ahead with it.

I had my impressions made at the dentist a couple of weeks before the surgery, so that my teeth would be ready to be put in on the day. I'd specifically said I wanted immediate dentures, because there was no way I was walking around for months with just six teeth! The impressions weren't very pleasant, but they weren't completely horrible either.

I'd never had surgery before, so I was a little nervous... but more excited than anything. I was told to be at the hospital by 8am, but they didn't know what time I'd be going down for the operation. I could be first on the list, or last. They wouldn't know until the day. I ended up being taken down at around midday.

The surgeon told me he was going to give me something to relax me, but that I seemed relaxed enough already. The nurse then talked to me to keep me distracted - asked me about my favourite bands and what I liked to do. I remember talking about Avenged Sevenfold, rambling on about Fozzy and Rich Ward and the next thing I know I'm back on the ward with gauzes stuffed in my mouth. It was WONDERFUL. I didn't feel a thing. I don't even remember waking up in the recovery room!

There was quite a lot of bleeding so they kept me a little longer than planned, and even talked about transferring me to a bigger hospital in Manchester to stay the night (this hospital didn't have an overnight ward for oral patients), but - luckily - I was able to go home that evening. My Dad picked me up around 6, and I went home with my new teeth already in my mouth. I was smiling already.

I was extremely lucky with my recovery, and many people have told me that. It's not so easy for everybody.

Immediately following surgery. Still waking up.
Immediately following surgery. Still waking up.

Recovery

I was incredibly fortunate when it came to my recovery. I'd heard from many sources that the first couple of weeks would be miserable and painful, but I barely had any pain at all. The hospital had prescribed me some strong painkillers (Co-Codamol 30/500) and some Ibuprofen (400mg) and they worked wonders. I feared that I'd have some problems on the flight over to America. I was worried that the altitude would put too much pressure on my gums and my stitches would burst or something... but nothing happened. I wasn't in any pain, there was no bleeding. I was completely fine.

My main worry was eating. I thought that it would be difficult to actually find something I could eat while I was in the States, but before I even went I was eating chicken nuggets from McDonalds! After 3 days with my new dentures, I was chewing foods already. It was uncomfortable and weird, and I had to cut my food up into tiny pieces, but I soon got the hang of it. I felt sorry for my dad, who had stocked up on soups, noodles, ice creams and other soft foods for me, because we'd both expected that I wouldn't be able to eat properly for weeks.

Speaking wasn't much of a problem, either. I heard horror stories, like you do with anything, so I was a little scared about what my speech would be like, but after a few days I was over the initial lisp and getting used to this piece of plastic in my mouth.

I went to see my dentist not long after for my first check-up since the procedure, and he was incredibly impressed with my progress. He said that my gums were healing very nicely and it may only be a couple of months before I need my permanent dentures. Originally, he'd told me that within 6-8 months I could expect my immediates to be loose, because my gums are still shrinking, and a brand new set of teeth will have to be made. The time was later reduced to less than four (he booked me in for a second appointment in early October) because of how quickly I have healed up.

The picture at the top of this lens was taken just a few days after my surgery. I couldn't believe how easy and quickly the recovery process went for me.

This isn't the same for everybody. I've been extremely lucky, but it's proof that getting dentures doesn't have to be completely horrible. My experience has been relatively pain free, apart from a couple of bad days, and happy. I didn't do anything out of the ordinary. I just did what they told me - rinsed my mouth with warm sea-salt water, took the medication to relieve pain and swelling, and regularly cleaned my dentures.

Living with Dentures

Life with dentures isn't as scary and difficult as I'd imagined it to be. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I'm much happier in myself than I was before. I'm smiling without feeling self-conscious, I got my confidence back - and my cheeks! A lot of people have commented on how great I look now and how much happier I seem to be, and they're right. Looking back at pictures before I had my dentures, I realise how gaunt and sunken my face had become. It's much fuller again, now, and I look healthier overall.

I've had to change my diet a little bit. I can't eat anything too sticky or chewy, but other than that, not a lot has changed. I still enjoy most of the meals I did before, and even more! I can eat things like chocolate and ice cream without my teeth giving me excruciating pain. As a young woman, it feels incredible!

A lot of people may think that dealing with dentures is easy because you don't have to brush your teeth or anything anymore. This is completely false. If anything, my oral hygiene is more difficult to keep up than it was before! It's broken into two parts, because I have to keep my dentures clean, as well as brushing my remaining teeth gums, tongue and the roof of my mouth. It takes longer than it used to, and I have to use several different toothbrushes, but I don't mind it. It's much better than living with my teeth with the state that they were in.

Now and again I'll get a sore spot on my gum because of the pressure of the denture and my gums still shrinking and adjusting, but it's a hundred times better than living with toothache, and with the correct care, they go away after a couple of days.

Help and Support

You are not alone.

I couldn't have made this journey all by myself. While my family and close friends were supportive, they didn't know what I was going through. Even though I really wasn't, I felt completely alone. They were there for me, but they didn't know what it was like to live with teeth that ruined your life, and they didn't know what it was like to have to go through something so traumatic and permanent at such a young age.

When it came to time to bite the bullet (not literally, because I couldn't bite anything!), I searched online and came across a support group for people with dentures, and people who are in the process of getting them. This community was a Godsend to me. I realised that I wasn't alone. There are many people my age, and even younger, going through what I was going through. I was too embarrassed to talk to my family and friends about it, so I turned to the lovely people of Dentures: A New Smile.

I told my story and received an overwhelming response from people with advice, similar stories, sympathy and understanding. Never before have a group of strangers been so influential in my life. If you are going through the process of getting dentures, or just thinking about it, I urge you to check out this group. There are people there of all ages, races and backgrounds to support you and help you in your journey to a healthier and happier you. I honestly don't think I'd have gone through with the procedure if I hadn't found this beautiful little corner of the Internet. I dread to think what I'd be like now without the wonderful people there.

New-new teeth!
New-new teeth!

Update - 5 Months On

I now have my permanent dentures, a lot sooner than was initially thought. My immediates had been loose for a while, so after four months I went for my impressions to get the new, permanent teeth made. When I first went for surgery, we expected to have to get the new teeth done after 6-8 months, but my healing went so well that it took around half that!

The new teeth I have are a little longer than the other ones I had, and I love them already! I have to relearn to eat and speak with them again, because they feel different, but I'm sure it'll only take a couple of days and it's more than worth it.

I definitely have no regrets whatsoever about saying goodbye to most of my teeth. I have never been happier in myself than I am now.

Comments

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    • profile image

      anonny 20 months ago

      I'm 16, and I want dentures. I had my braces from 13 until 15; I had to get braces because I sucked my thumb up until I was 15...I realized (mostly because of the overbite I'm getting) that I must still subconsciously suck my thumb in my sleep. I barely brushed my teeth when I was younger because I hated it, and when I got the braces I went through really tough time so I barely brushed them then (so yes, I do have stains and marks) and even with them off, since they're already stained, I just don't really see the point in brushing them and because I'm lazy... I don't want to have to get my guardian to pay more money for another set of braces, especially if I know that I'll probably wreck my teeth AGAIN with the subconscious habit. I have retainers currently, not the removable kinds, and since I still have that nasty habit, the wire on my top row of teeth is getting pushed into the roof of my mouth making it uncomfortable and painful. I think my gums are starting to recede, because I can see a larger chunk of my tooth than I used too. I also smoke (maybe less than half a pack a day.) so I know that that can also be contributing into a lot of this. I want to ask about getting a removable retainer for my top teeth, but if I can't get that then I want to ask for dentures after I get my wisdom teeth removed (I'm starting to get a lot of pain in the back of my mouth too, so I feel like they're coming in.) I just want to feel as confident as I did when I got my braces off.

    • profile image

      Anonymous Kid 23 months ago

      *sigh* I wish I could be lucky like you. I'm a 13 years old and I wore 4teeth dentures. My classmates saw me when I don't have those (dentures) now when I have they always bully me more because they say I do have dentures now so I keep smiling and laughing. I have dream a dream to be a star in the future. And it is ruined by my teeth. I don't know what to do. I'm not rich to afford those things that can help me through my teeth.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great read. I hope you're nicely settled into those dentures by now. I am a 38 year old male who has been suffering lately from gum problems. My teeth are fine for my age but my gums are poor and I found out today that I have pretty bad bone loss around quite a few teeth. I've spent so much time and money in the past to fix this but nothing has worked. However, after reading your article, I believe I can let go of the anxiety and accept dentures in the not too distant future.

      I am tired of worrying and trying to fix this ongoing problem that is both painful and worrisome. I think it started when I got sick for a long time back in 2004-2006. Today the periodontist just spoke to me as though I was some fool but life is never so straight forward as that. I never knew there was a problem and my normal dentists did not stress any urgency.

      Anyway, I am tired of worrying and will take your post as encouragement that life can be fine without teeth.

      Be well

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 4 years ago

      You brave person! I think your story will help a lot of others who are having to go through major dental stuff!! It's a pretty emotional thing and requires support, I think!! The NHS is changing fast with regards to dental care. In the past year I've noticed them cutting back so much on what they will cover and what they will not. It's very hard now for working people who don't earn much but they still say you earn enough to pay dental care, which is so not true!

    • profile image

      Gala98 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your story. It's something I'm probably going to have to deal with in the next few years but I'm on the downhill slope to 50 so in some ways, I've been lucky there. I know this is going to sound a bit silly maybe but I worry about the whole kissing thing! I'm already having to stay away from crunchy or sticky foods so that won't be too bad. All my grandparents had falsies by their mid 50's but I'd say dentistry has come so far, my dad has managed to keep many of his own as has my mum. I don't think I'm going to be that lucky though.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I had what was left of my upper teeth removed yesterday (around 8 teeth). The worst part was the actual injection to numb the area, I went in at 2pm, was out heading home by 2:40pm! Felt a little rough yesterday, mouth constantly tasted of blood but with the painkillers I managed some sleep last night. Today they are again sore but prehaps not quite as bad as I had imagined. For 20 years (i am now 40) I suffered with bad teeth and a phobia of dentists, then on New Years day this year my front tooth broke at the root and I decided enough is enough and booked myself in. Personally (so far anyway) the worst part of this was the anxiety leading up to the extractions as I had a dentist that was not very communicative and spent hours online searching for info, some of which put fear into me!

      But I do not regret having it done, quite frankly I had no choice but to do so. The human body and mind is great, with enough time you can adapt to anything! To those who are still contemplating the extractions and a denture, just do it, you have lived with the pain and embaressment of a bad smile for too long!

    • Sidewinder6661 LM profile image
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      Sidewinder6661 LM 4 years ago

      @anonymous: It's natural to be scared. I was, too, but then I thought about how much better I was going to feel without having to deal with toothache all of the time. It's a big step, but once you get used to it, you'll feel much happier.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for posting your story. I am having 7 teeth extracted which will leave only 2 of my own teeth in my top jaw so will be having an immediate partial fitted at the end of this month. Am petrified but trying to remain positive, especially when I am now suffering with severe toothache.

    • Sidewinder6661 LM profile image
      Author

      Sidewinder6661 LM 4 years ago

      @anonymous: You're welcome.

      Speaking honestly, at least for me, wasn't all that hard. For the first few days, I had a lisp with some words, but with a little practice your speech will be back to normal in no time. Try reading aloud when you're alone and you'll soon get the hang of it.

      I wish you all the best!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you so much, your honesty and positivity come through in your story. I've been looking for help and advice as I've just found out I've either got to decide to have my teeth out or wait for them to go one-by-one. I'm a lecturer and worried sick I won't be able to speak. At least now I've got an idea of what to expect.

    • Louidam1 LM profile image

      Louidam1 LM 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your story!

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 5 years ago

      I think you'll help other people feel better about having the procedure done. A high school friend of mine also had dentures in her early twenties and it never caused her a problem at all.

    • Sidewinder6661 LM profile image
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      Sidewinder6661 LM 5 years ago

      @savateuse: Thank you so much :)

    • savateuse profile image

      savateuse 5 years ago

      very brave for sharing your story with this great lens - blessed!

    • profile image

      Natural_Skin_Care 5 years ago

      I'm happy that you're on the other side of it now, and I'd never be able to tell your teeth weren't your own.

    • aviwolfson profile image

      Avi Wolfson 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Wow, that's an amazing story. Truly inspiring!

    • Sidewinder6661 LM profile image
      Author

      Sidewinder6661 LM 5 years ago

      @aviwolfson: Thank you! The hardest part of it all was telling it. At first I was ashamed, but then I realised how much happier I am in myself now.

    • victoriahaneveer profile image

      victoriahaneveer 5 years ago

      @Sidewinder6661 LM: Delighted to hear it. I love your positive attitude and honesty.

    • Sidewinder6661 LM profile image
      Author

      Sidewinder6661 LM 5 years ago

      @victoriahaneveer: Hi Victel,

      Thanks for reading and commenting, and thank you for the compliment! A lot of people have said they can't tell that they're dentures, which makes me feel great! Only my family and friends that have known me for a long time know, so it makes me feel confident about the future. The depression was definitely the hardest part of the whole thing, but now that I have my confidence back, I'm thankfully over it for the most part.

    • victoriahaneveer profile image

      victoriahaneveer 5 years ago

      This is a well-told and interesting story. I can't tell they're dentures from your photos. You look really great! I enjoyed reading your lens and look forward to more of your writing. Sorry the experience was traumatic and I also feel for you with regard to the depression (as a fellow sufferer I know how it can make you lost the zest for pretty much anything in life) but thanks again for sharing. This is one of the best lenses I've seen in a while.

    • rainykua profile image

      rainykua 5 years ago

      I can imagine how hard it must have been before you got your dentures.

      As a kid, my dentist would always tell my mom how beautiful and clean my teeth were. I was taking good care of my teeth. But after that dentist moved to another place, I didn't see a dentist regularly anymore

      I wore braces during my teens. Then my gums started to swell. My second dentist kept on blaming me for not cleaning my teeth, which isn't true. I didn't like that dentist, but I had no choice because I couldn't afford other better dentists that time. After I got my braces removed, I didn't see that dentist anymore.

      A few years ago, I found another dentist who is much better than my previous one. She told me that I have mild gingivitis and gave me gum supplements. I also have my teeth cleaned twice a year.:) I'm happy to still have all of my teeth.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, Sidewinder6661. I'm really happy for you. It must really feel great to be able to smile again.:)

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 5 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Great lens though you went through a traumatic experience.

    • eternisemoi profile image

      eternisemoi 5 years ago

      Even after reading this, I'm still really scared of getting dentures one day. I'm also scared of hospitals, even though I've been to them before. I'm glad to know there's support groups out there though to help you get through it.

    • Sidewinder6661 LM profile image
      Author

      Sidewinder6661 LM 5 years ago

      @StewartClan: I often have moments where I kind of regret it because it's not something that can be undone, but it never lasts for long. When I think about how unhappy my teeth made me before the procedure, I know I've done the right thing. I hope this can help your mum in some way :)

    • StewartClan profile image

      StewartClan 5 years ago

      Thanks for making this lens. My mum had her teeth removed at an early age, and she regretted it for a long while I think. I am going to show her this lens, because although she is now 70, she is still a bit funny about her teeth. She sleeps with them under her pillow, so she can put them back in, in an instant.

      That was a good idea until she got two staffie dogs. One of them nicked her teeth and ran into the garden with them. Took her 30 minutes to get her teeth back!

      Anyway, great lens. Thank you.

    • StewartClan profile image

      StewartClan 5 years ago

      Thanks for making this lens. My mum had her teeth removed at an early age, and she regretted it for a long while I think. I am going to show her this lens, because although she is now 70, she is still a bit funny about her teeth. She sleeps with them under her pillow, so she can put them back in, in an instant.

      That was a good idea until she got two staffie dogs. One of them nicked her teeth and ran into the garden with them. Took her 30 minutes to get her teeth back!

      Anyway, great lens. Thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      nice

    • Sidewinder6661 LM profile image
      Author

      Sidewinder6661 LM 5 years ago

      @captainj88: Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I hope that it can inspire somebody who may be going through something similar, because it is scary to face alone, or just inspires people to make sure they take their oral hygiene seriously :)

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      This is a very inspiring lens. Good for you, facing it head-on and overcoming the challenges. God may use this story to encourage others to take preventative maintenance more seriously or to realize that other people go through this stuff--successfully!

    • Sidewinder6661 LM profile image
      Author

      Sidewinder6661 LM 5 years ago

      @sunny saib: Very true. When I first knew I was getting the surgery I was kind of embarrassed to say I was going to be 24 with dentures... but then I came to accept it and realise that being able to smile again would make me a much happier person, and I am. Any embarrassment I felt was nothing compared to how ashamed I was of my teeth.

      Thank you for taking the time to read, like and comment. I hope you eventually beat your depression. It's a tough thing to deal with.

    • sunny saib profile image

      sunny saib 5 years ago

      Very honest of you, and I must say- very inspirational. Acceptance solves some of the hardest times of our lives. I have fought with depression for a long time and still every once in a while it all takes my head over. But you always be hopeful and that's it.. All else comes to shape

    • Sidewinder6661 LM profile image
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      Sidewinder6661 LM 5 years ago

      @JamesReed1: Thank you for taking the time to read :)

    • JamesReed1 profile image

      JamesReed1 5 years ago

      Really good lens. Lots of quality content. Welcome to Squidoo.

    • Sidewinder6661 LM profile image
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      Sidewinder6661 LM 5 years ago

      @CoolGamesOnline1: Thank you! :)

    • CoolGamesOnline1 profile image

      CoolGamesOnline1 5 years ago

      GREAT STORY!

    • Sidewinder6661 LM profile image
      Author

      Sidewinder6661 LM 5 years ago

      @ohcaroline: Thank you, and thank you for taking the time to read it :)

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 5 years ago

      Great story and many will be blessed by your openness and honesty. Welcome to Squidoo.

    • Sidewinder6661 LM profile image
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      Sidewinder6661 LM 5 years ago

      @mojoCNYartist: Thanks for reading.

      This is the first time I've shared it outside of the support forum.

    • mojoCNYartist profile image

      Dan 5 years ago from CNY

      Interesting story.