Jaana: A missing tooth was replaced with an implant
“I was diagnosed with a missing mandibular front tooth already in primary school. My dentist told me that the milk tooth would not last all my life. The roots of the milk tooth began to deteriorate when I was 19, and after a few years I felt pain in my mouth. There was a minor inflammation next to the tooth. Going to the dentist, I already knew what to expect.
The tooth was in bad shape and inflamed, so it had to be removed immediately. I was still young, so a dental implant was almost the only option. Had the tooth not been replaced, the other teeth in the upper and lower jaw could have shifted, which probably would have caused malocclusion. The treatment itself was not painful, except for the little pain from the local anesthesia. What with the inflammation, the extraction of the old tooth naturally caused a little pain, as the local anesthetic could not be administered everywhere.
I believe that most people did not even notice the missing tooth, or at least they never mentioned it. When I watch old photos, the missing tooth shows if I am smiling in the picture. In my case, it was easier to handle the matter as I always knew the situation was temporary.
I hardly ever think about the missing tooth anymore—though I have to say that if someone mentions a dentist, my first thought is usually the implant treatment.
When I brush my teeth the implant feels like one of my own teeth, so I am very happy with my new tooth.”
Anni: Dentures at the age of 21
“I was given dentures at the age of 21; this was in 1969. At that time, it was not uncommon since people did not have toothpaste or toothbrushes.
If there was a problem with a tooth, it was not actually treated: the tooth was just pulled out. When I was about 15, all my molars had been pulled out. You would go to see the dentist who agreed to give you dentures immediately after your teeth had been pulled. Normally you would have to wait for three months.
During the 48 years of our marriage, my husband has seen me without my teeth only once. The worst thing would be if I could not wear dentures at all.
I cannot eat anything hard, and my lower denture is easily dislocated.”
Tarja: Had I known about funding possibilities, I would have sought treatment earlier
“For me, the worst thing is to think that I am seen as a person who has not taken care of her teeth. Since I lost my milk teeth I have never had teeth on either side of my upper jaw. However, my friends said they never even noticed the missing teeth.
My biggest frustrations came from numerous dentist’s appointments, where I was always told that I do not need new teeth to replace the missing ones. For years, I believed and accepted it. But all that time, I was ashamed of my teeth.
Financially, implant treatment seemed to be out of my reach, so I tried to figure out how to get treatment. In the end I was advised to pretend that I could not properly pronounce the S sound in order to get a referral. I am finally in the implant treatment process and am awaiting a crown to be attached. Had I known about the other funding possibilities, I would have sought treatment years earlier.”
Henriikka: A childhood accident eventually led to an implant
“I was twelve when one of my front teeth broke on a playground slide. It was initially repaired with a plastic material which had to be replaced several times as it came off. When I was twenty, the tooth became sore. It was discovered that the strong jolt had damaged the root of the tooth.
I received root canal therapy for the tooth, but my dentist warned me that at some point it would become necessary to replace the tooth with laminate or possibly an entirely new tooth, or dental implant. As the root of the tooth was dead, the colour difference between my front teeth became more pronounced over the years. I was surprised by how much darker the tooth became after the root canal therapy in the course of several years.
We eventually decided to replace the whole damaged tooth with an implant. After that, I finally felt that I had recovered my tooth.”
Elina: We easily forget our overall well-being
“Some three or four years ago, when I was on my summer vacation, I had a moment to stop and reflect on how I really felt. I felt pain in my lower jaw but I thought that there could not be anything wrong with my teeth, as I had just had root canal therapy.
I postponed going to see a dentist and soon found myself in a situation where I had been taking painkillers for two days in a row. When I got to the dentist, the situation was bad: I had a huge inflammation in my lower jaw and two of my teeth had to be removed.
We can easily forget and neglect our overall well-being, which today includes dental well-being as a very important factor.
I hope that when I place my own well-being in the hands of someone else in an area I do not know, they will take the matter seriously and look at the whole and tell, based on their expertise, what they see and what they think should be done. To me, that is caring about people.
It is no longer important to me what other people think of me, but it is, however, important that I can see myself as a person with normal teeth.
Fortunately, these things can be fixed so that I do not have to live the rest of my life without the lost teeth.”
Janne: An implant was the best solution
“It was the night of Good Friday, and before going to bed I decided to have a little snack. When I bit into a piece of hard bread I heard something snap and I immediately realised it was a tooth. The next morning I started thinking about where I could find a dentist. I got to see a dentist on Easter Saturday, and he said right off that the tooth could not be repaired satisfactorily.
I started looking in the mirror, grinning and grimacing, and trying to figure out how I felt about the missing tooth. I noticed that even though it was not a front tooth, but a tooth behind the canine, my laughter began to be more restrained. Having reflected on the aesthetic and functional discomfort, I gradually ended up deciding that an implant might be the best solution after all.”