A Personal Story: Losing a Tooth Changes Your Life – Clara, Grafton

Clara is 63 and lives in Grafton, New Hampshire.

“I’ve lost a tooth. It’s a prominent tooth–it’s an eye tooth, so it’s rather in the front of my smile. It’s kind of interesting the way it’s changing my life…. This is actually a type of a disability, I believe. People judge you strangely when you’re missing teeth. It makes a lot of difference in how you can interact with people. They treat you as lower class.”

Clara is actually glad that the tooth is gone. It had been giving her a lot of trouble for a number of years. She says that she lost it as a result of bad dentistry, which makes it ironic that she can’t get help for it. “I was subjected to a deep scaling cleaning and that loosened this eye tooth. Then they sent me to an oral surgeon who implanted bone taken from a cadaver to try to fill the space and tighten the tooth, and my body never ever accepted it.”

As the tooth was loosening, Clara contacted the local free dental clinic. She learned that although she might have qualified for an extraction, cosmetic repair was not available from the clinic. So when the tooth fell out on its own, she decided not to fill out the paperwork. Although cleanings there are still available to her, it’s difficult for Clara to get there from Grafton without a car.

Clara is glad for the chance to tell her story. “The more of us that do participate and share our stories, the more the knowledge is out there that we need to do better.”

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