Monday, 9 January 2017

"You look really well”

I am not very used to thinking about about how I look these days. I’m 67 and though I know I probably seem ok for my age, I don’t really fish for compliments, and because of the work I do - using portrait photos of people to raise their self-esteem by looking beyond the superficial and into ‘who we really are’ - I can’t allow myself to get too hung up on externals. But I am human, so I do notice with a private smile and a blush if people pay me a compliment.2017 is starting with an external improvement - a newly modified feature of me I don’t want to hide or ignore. It’s amazing how long it’s taken people to notice anything different about me in the past few weeks, but there have been a number of "you look really well" comments. “Is it that your hair is blonder.....?’ has been the most popular comment or an apologetic ... “Have you lost weight?”  “No no look again - look at the shape of my face, my smile......”Maybe they are too polite to actually say anything or even hazard a guess, until I grin at them with a maniacal smile. Gosh this is embarrassing......some have no clue  what the full truth is going to be.” ... teeth whitening, or straightening ?”NO. NO Look -  “I have a brand new full set of dentures!”  A slightly embarrassed discomfort from them, undisguised excitement from me. Still confused I tell them - these are entirely new teeth - whiter, straighter, healthier. Plastic. Fake. And I am thrilled!  No more ‘gurning’ as I clench my 12 year old worn down gnashers together; no more embarrassment because of the super glue holding the top one in after it fell out as I chewed open a pack of salami with my teeth and it flew off into the car; no more stained and elderly dentures that remind me of my dad’s. “Oh you didn’t know I have had dentures for over 30 years - in fact all the time you have known me ??!” well I have...and it’s ok - we can talk about it!My own teeth were always a problem. Rabbity, uneven, one deadened after a bike fall that became more and more discoloured until it fell out after being hit full-on by a frisbee. Years of teeth rocking and rolling in my mouth, undermined by a period of bulimia; years of fake teeth held in with visible metal bridges; an overwhelming feeling of bad health and insecurity in my mouth and face...until finally I announced to my dentist that I wanted a whole new set of teeth. Yes - plastic ones  - dentures - not implants or even crowns. After an initial protest from him as I was then only in my 30’s, he agreed, as I vowed to find another dentist if he wouldn’t do it. And my life was totally transformed. No more fillings, cleanings, expense. No more ‘dentist phobia’. Through the years I have managed to dispel many common myths about dentures too; no you don’t have to take them out at night; yes I can chew on chicken bones and eat apples without peeling them; no, they never just fall out unless the denture adhesive isn’t working; and... nobody knows I have false teeth - until I tell them.I left it a long time to get these latest ones. Other financial priorities jumped in until finally I knew I had to do something about the jaw-ache and a top lip that was trying to hide the superglue.So my fabulous teeth and I are ready for a new year. I know they are external on a vanity level, but I feel better - healthier and more confident. The reason I have told this story is that it might inspire others to be less afraid of the inevitability of needing false teeth. There are worse things. Our mouths are important.
So let’s hear it for false teeth and new beginnings!

1 comment:

  1. You are a super star - I love reading your blogs