Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Personal Makeover

There is something different about you, they said.

It's not your hair, or eyes, but something.....

I embarked on a personal journey this summer. A personal makeover. I didn't change hair styles or makeup, or the way I dress.

All of my life since leaving the comfort of my parents home, I worked as a waitress and bartender, and later as a flagger for road work. In all of those years, health insurance was non existent. Especially dental. And I hated the dentist due to terrible experiences as a child, and through all of those years getting regular cleanings was impossible. I did my best by brushing and flossing, but the reality was, it was simply not enough.

As I turned 50, I began to notice that my teeth were in bad shape. Well, I knew it was not good prior to then, but it really hit home at 50. About that same time, I adopted 2 German Shepherds and one was lacking training and self control. As I worked with her, she repeatedly bumped my front teeth, and it wasn't long until on of my upper teeth was quite loose. Combined with lack of proper dental health, this was extremely bad for me.

Here I am in 2007. That's the year I adopted both of my dogs.

Here I am around that 50 year mark.

Finally this past summer it was not something I could ignore any longer. That tooth was so sensitive and painful that I could not eat without enduring pain. I managed to get health care, including dental, and went in to discuss what to do. At that time the tooth was abscessed, so I was given antibiotics and my dental office applied for approval to extract the teeth and provide me with an upper denture.

I also went to work here in Oregon about the same time so was doing my best to schedule my dental appointments around my work schedule. It took many appointments to accomplish this makeover. And I have to say here and now, that the dentist I found was awesome! This was the first time in my adult life that a dentist was able to get me numb enough to actually do the work!

So, I decided to get the extractions done first with the end goal of getting the tightest fit possible with my new dentures. After that, I worked, talked, shopped, and ate with no upper teeth for two months. Meanwhile there were 4 appointments; to take impressions and to try on the initial plate, etc.

The day finally came when I was supposed to get my teeth. I was nervous and uncertain. Skeptical. I had heard from a variety of family and friends that I would not like them and it would be tough to adjust. By the end of this appointment, when I should have had my plate, I was in reality, scheduled for a surgery. The plate didn't fit because my gums had not healed as expected, and to make the plate fit I would need oral surgery.

I was told by my dentist that following this surgery I would not feel like doing anything the next day. He said that on the day of surgery I would get my plate too. He told me it would be bad, but not as bad as the extractions.

So I went in to have what I thought would be a horrible experience. While I was tense and not overly thrilled I knew it had to be done. Sitting in the waiting room, I asked the receptionist for the name of the procedure. Alveoplasty is what it was called. Let me tell you....there are times when having cell phones with Internet capabilities is NOT a good thing. I looked it up and a youtube video popped up. I watched about 2 seconds of it, got grossed out, and scared, and turned it off.

After surgery, I had lots of stitches and could not put the plate in, so that was scheduled for the following week. I needed time to heal. Also, after surgery I did not feel terrible at all really. An hour later I walked down the block to find my dad and chatted with friends of his. The next day I felt so good that I went to work at noon. So as ugly as the video looked, it was far better than the extractions.

The following week I finally got my plate. I HATED it. I couldn't talk, eat or barely even swallow! I gradually started wearing them, practiced talking with them, learning how to cope with them overall. My aunt wanted me to post a picture on FB of me with my new teeth. I was still fairly uncomfortable with them, but each day was getting better.

Here is that selfie.

I have had several adjustments since this photo and as of yesterday I feel at home with these new teeth. I am able to swallow (good news there huh? LOL) to eat, to talk pretty well and the gag reflex is finally gone. 

So while I didn't change my hair color or style, or the way I dress, or anything else like that, I did undergo a huge makeover that has enabled me to feel so much better about myself. I feel my self confidence coming back. I feel ready to take on new jobs, new challenges and I am not embarrassed about my smile any more! 

This was, by far, the best thing I could have done for myself. 

I would like to give my dentist and his staff a huge shout out for making it all possible! 

Thank you Dr. Hayden and staff! 

Thanks for reading, and for your continued support here and on FaceBook! Rest assured that this winter I will be working at getting my mojo back in crafting, painting and creating!!!