I’ve been having appointments every week or two, working on my final set of teeth. Between going to see my implants team and going to see the people at the lab and tweaking and fine tuning, we’ve been getting close to the final set. Colour matching was a fun exercise, think Pantone colour wheel but for teeth. Or maybe it’s more like going in to choose nail polish colours. Not that I chose, they matched them all to my original teeth. They also match gum colour. So the first set came out and I tried them on and we made some tweaks and now the colours are good. Here are some facts you never knew about teeth colours –
Your canines are generally slightly darker than your other teeth (canines are the vampire teeth).
The tops of your teeth are generally slightly darker than the bottoms.
Gum colour is hard to match.

These are all things to tweak to make the teeth look as natural as possible. They’ve done well with the colour.

Well yesterday they put them in, So I’ve now got my final teeth. My implants team are very happy with them.

It would have been good to know earlier not to expect them to be proper functioning teeth. I can bite into things with the front ones, which is great. But I’ve only got one molar, which doesn’t meet up with the lower molar because it’s been moved one place forward (so a big enough tooth is over the implant), and also outwards. I only have two teeth further back than my canine and the rest is just a big gummy gap. They sit considerably higher than my bottom teeth too, so they don’t meet that way either. So most chewing will have to still be done on my left side (my remaining teeth) which is a bit of a let-down. I didn’t realise that would be the case until very recently. At the moment even that isn’t possible because they’re quite painful with the new teeth pushed tight up against them. I’m told it will settle but it’s back to soup for now. I must say though, since I can’t breathe through my nose anymore, it’s probably best if I just chew on one side anyway. That way I can leave the right hand side of my mouth free for breathing while eating so I have slightly less chance of choking (it happens regularly).

There are some things I would have done differently with the teeth that I don’t really understand why they haven’t been/can’t be done that way. They’ve done a fantastic job compared with where I was before they started, and they’re SO CLOSE and a big improvement on what I had for the last few months, but the way some things have been done doesn’t seem logical to me and I feel there could be simple improvements to make me a lot happier with it. I’d love to be able to have a discussion about the decisions that have been made and why. But they’re all so happy with them and I don’t think I’m really allowed to have any more opinions on them now. There were hugs and photos, they were happy, but no one asked if I was happy… They keep saying I’ll just get used to whatever they give me so I guess that’s the end of it. I don’t want to sound ungrateful for all they’ve done, it’s definitely an improvement on where I was a year ago and I know it’s been a difficult job for them. It’s just a bit disappointing we didn’t get them slightly more right. Or at least have it explained why certain things can’t be done, if they really can’t. I got them in yesterday morning and spent most of the day in tears, then most of the night too, I hardly slept at all. It’s all been quite upsetting. I know I have to make compromises with them, like that they have to sit further out to support my lip, and apparently they have to be big, but… I’m really not that happy with them. They’re better than the last set I tried (though while some things improved in this latest set, it feels like some things got worse…) but I would have thought they still need tweaking. It’s not just that I’m not happy with what I’m left with, that I can’t deal with the fact they’re bound to be different from my originals, it’s that I’m sure they can be better. But here we are.

I’m quite annoyed that no one thought to take moulds before they got rid of all my teeth, this should be the standard thing to do! To be fair, they took a mould for another purpose and knocked all the teeth out of it and threw it away. I thought they were going to keep a copy of what my teeth looked liked but I guess that’s just not of interest to the surgeons. So it’s just been down to me saying ‘well they used to be more like this, is that possible?’ and being told I most likely just don’t remember what they were like.

I’m sure some people will probably be reading this thinking ‘you should just be grateful you’re alive’. Obviously I am. I’m so grateful for everything I’ve had access to and all the fantastic people who have been devoting so much time to me. For being at the stage I’m at and that I’m still breathing and existing (and thus far with no evidence of cancer, touch wood). And as ever, I’m grateful for the NHS (and my implants team of course). I really really am. I know how lucky I am. And I’m so so grateful I’ve been given teeth at all! At this point it’s just small things, but small things that could make a big difference to me, and I’m certain I could be so much happier with them… Am I supposed to just give that up now that they’re happy? Everything I’ve wanted up until now with the teeth there’s been resistance to and I’ve had to fight for it and they’ve eventually allowed it and we’ve all agreed the results have been better…

I’ll say one thing for the newbies, they make talking a LOT easier. Not perfect, ever so slightly lispy (which probably only I will notice/be bothered by) but a lot better. They no longer crowd my tongue, which is fab. Another thing I had to fight for, to get more space inside.

In other news, the next step is going to be more surgery, hopefully next week. I’m sure you all remember me ending up in hospital a few weeks ago with an infection. Well we think that’s going to keep happening if we don’t do something. And ‘something’ includes removing the ‘plate’ from the original reconstruction, which they think is too close to the implants and is therefore giving rise to ongoing infections. I’m currently on another course of antibiotics to manage the current infection. I’ve been in a lot of pain in my mouth around the implants and so I’m hopeful the antibiotics will help with that.

I wasn’t expecting to have more surgery, and I’m not ecstatic about the thought in general, but I’m really keen to get it. I’m worried that I’ll just keep ending up in hospital with infections if not, so I’m so keen to (hopefully) get that sorted. And ASAP.

So I thought with the new teeth I’d give the blog a bit of a makeover, it’s been the same way since I launched it a couple of hours after I was told I had cancer, over two years ago. So I thought a bit of an update was a good idea.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jayne says:

    Hi, do you know what? I just read this and thought…hang on this is not right!
    It doesn’t matter how happy your implant team is, you should be happy too. You have the right to say how you feel and that whilst you’re incredibly grateful, can someone please explain why your teeth are the way they are. Please tell them about the tweaks you feel would make a difference and hopefully they can give you either an explanation as to why they can’t be done or do them.
    Being thankful that you are alive and cancer free will not be enough for you if you don’t tell them how you feel. Yes, there is a process of getting used to them and you know that.
    I am not someone who usually responds, but as a retired paediatric palliative care nurse, my heart goes out to you and how you are feeling. X
    Wishing you luck for your next surgery


  2. Gordon Tapp says:

    Hi Jen
    Some thoughts and experiences .
    My false teeth make it difficult to bite in the front so I always when possible use a knife for all my eating.
    Was at the puketapu pub having lunch with the tramping club and everyone ordered a hamburger with various filling available. I cut mine up with a knife into small pieces as I alwzys do and a lady next to me commented she was impressed with my manners as everyone else lifted their burger to their mouth’s. I guess its an ill wind that doesn’t do some good could apply.
    Love Gordon


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