Tuesday, 20 March 2012


Can we talk about teeth for a minute?

They're a bit of a pain, aren't they? I mean, ok, they do a reasonable job of masticating our food and, in the right formation, can enhance a smile, but does that in any way excuse them all their deficiencies?

Look, here's where I'm coming from. At the age of seven, just after all my adult teeth had come through, some dick on a bike ploughed through me and destroyed the four at the front. One was lost forever, the other three ruined beyond redemption. I won't go into the years of suffering, the operations, the eventual removal of the traumatised teeth, the repulsive dentures I wore until I was twenty-one (that's why I never got off with girls - and you thought it was the acne and immaturity) or the stupid bridge some artless buffoon attached to my real teeth which made me look like I had no teeth (it was way too short and, I seem to recall, green). The replacement bridge (paid for by the NHS after some clumsy anaesthetist decimated the old one while I was having a knee operation - result!) was slightly better, but it didn't exactly twinkle.

Anyway, picking up the story many years later, there I was watching the football one Sunday, eating, as you do, a lump of nut brittle when, snap! the whole thing came off. I'm not just talking the bridge itself, I'm talking my own supporting teeth, sheared to the gumline. This was not an attractive look. And so it came to pass that I was left with two options. A denture like grandma used to wear (massive lump of pink plastic with a row of white plastic attached and something to stick it to my palate with) or implants. Now we're going back a few years here to when implants were in their infancy, but there was really no choice at all. So all the dental debris was removed and, when it had all healed, five bits of titanium were screwed into my head. Three months later and voila!, a neat, aesthetically pleasing denture was attached. And it's still there today.

And now, the many tortured teeth that supported the many dentures over the years, and which have been slowly disintegrating following years of fillings, agonising root canal et al, are ready to go. Here's the thing. Teeth hurt. They crumble. They chip. They jolt when you eat something too hot or too cold. They require painful, regular treatment just so they don't fall out. Implants? None of the above. Screw them in (granted the treatment is uncomfortable, but once it's done, it's done) stick them on, end of. Break one? Unscrew it, stick a new one on. Fancy something whiter, longer, more sticky-outy, maybe a Dracula fang? - just ask your dentist. They don't hurt, don't require much maintenance, rarely fail and leave you with a mouthful of expensive metal you can leave to your children. So I'm about to have six more. Why not?

And here's what I'll be recommending to the government to save us all a lot of bother, a lifetime of treatment and, I'm sure, huge NHS savings in the long run: at the age of 21, everyone should have all their teeth removed and replaced with implants. Nature has screwed up on this one - good idea, natural teeth, but the execution's awful - and titanium, trust me, is the future.

1 comment:

  1. Impants on the NHS....Where, how? Please recommend really competent NHS dentist with space on their list!

    Here, in the UK, at between £800 - £1,350 per implant I don't think the NHS will listen.

    ...Anyway, just in case you hadn't heard the NHS is in all likelyhood being privatised. Bet the cost will increase even further when that happens.

    PS I really do take care of my one, single implant. I love it - even though new kitchen cupboard fronts would probably have been cheaper. Lx