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My teeth were turning black and crumbling because I was too afraid to go to the dentist for 10 years

A WOMAN’s teeth have turned black and are crumbling after ten years of being too afraid to see the dentist.

Cara Smith, 43, blames her putrefying grind on her heavy smoking and “sweet tooth,” which would make her consume about two liters of fizzy drinks a day.

Cara Smith's teeth are black and crumbling after avoiding the dentist for ten years

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Cara Smith’s teeth are black and crumbling after avoiding the dentist for ten yearsPhoto credit: Kennedy News
Cara blames her decaying teeth on smoking and eating junk food throughout her life, for which she was too afraid to see the dentist

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Cara blames her decaying teeth on smoking and eating junk food throughout her life, for which she was too afraid to see the dentistPhoto credit: Kennedy News

Terrified of the dentist, she did not contact her office for an examination until December 2018 when she began to feel pain.

She was placed on an 18-month waiting list and in March 2020, when the Covid pandemic hit, she was in agony.

Cara claims she is unable to eat solid food or use silverware and has been surviving on supplements for more than two years.

Embarrassed by her smile, Cara has become a recluse, even avoiding her brother’s wedding.

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At the end of her tether, she is now raising £2,000 for private treatment which will see her sedated and hopes having her teeth removed and a denture fitted will “give her life back”.

Cara, who smokes 30 cigarettes a day, said: “I can’t eat anything, not even something soft like yogurt, because I can’t put a spoon or anything in my mouth.

“I still make a living off supplement shakes [since March 2020] and haven’t eaten since.

“I wouldn’t go to my stepdad’s over Christmas because you can smell the food and I just want to eat it, but I can’t.

“I’d really like to be able to eat a nice juicy steak or just a bag of fries or something, but I can’t.

“I can’t put anything too hot or too cold in my mouth, like a hot drink, because it just hurts.

“I can’t put a toothbrush in there, so I can’t brush my teeth or anything. I haven’t brushed my teeth since March 2020.”

Cara, from near Tavistock, Devon, said her teeth were black and pitted and “falling apart here, there and everywhere”.

They are now falling apart and crumbling so much that she occasionally “picks out teeth” with her tongue.

She says her doctor prescribes 200 painkillers a month.

But she gets “a couple of hours of sleep a night at most.”

Cara said: “I’m in constant pain. I have an ear infection and the pain is excruciating. I can’t sleep, lie on it or do anything. I get pains under my jaw because everything hurts.

“I can’t do easy things.

“The cold air hits my teeth. I can’t put a scarf around my mouth to keep the cold off my face because I overheat and because I have a heart problem I overheat very easily. I tried.”

Sweets and sparkling pop

Cara said a breakdown as a young adult meant self-care was the “last thing on her mind.”

She said: “17 years ago I was going through a really bad time and self-care was the last thing on my mind at the time.

“It was like I was having a breakdown and I went through a lot of trauma and I just wasn’t taking care of myself and then I started smoking and it got harder and harder.

“My sweet tooth would be anything from cookies to chips to cakes to basically junk food and too much sugar in hot drinks and fizzy pop.

“I used to use two liters of pop a day. Cookies varied from six to a whole pack a day. I got a pack of two fresh cream cakes from the store about once a week.

“Since I was petrified of going to the dentist, I hardly walked and only went for treatment when I was in pain.”

Cara said her fear of the dentist began about 20 years ago when she was given an injection to numb her mouth.

She said: “I think that triggered the fear. i have a phobia [of the dentist]big time.

“I’m shaking, I’m in tears. I’ve gone to a dentist before and literally run in the opposite direction from fear.

“It’s the noises and noises and when they look I can’t see what they’re doing and it just scares the shit out of me.”

While she was able to see the dentist 12 times over a 20-year period despite her phobia, Cara said, “The longest I’ve gone without going to the dentist has been about 10 years, I would say.

“I’ve tried everything to overcome my fear of the dentist.”

Cara enjoys being social, but her teeth have prevented her from making new friends and strangers make fun of her “manly teeth”.

She said: “I’m staying inside because I don’t want to go outside and for people to see my teeth.

“I wouldn’t go to my brother’s wedding because of my teeth.

“I’m totally ashamed, it disgusts me. People don’t want to see that.

“I try to get them even with parcels [delivery people] leaving them at the door because I don’t want to face them.”

Cara says she was forced to contact the dentist in December 2018 as her mental health improved.

However, due to her phobia, she requested a referral for sedation and joined the waiting list.

About six months later she requested an update and was told to wait 18 months.

She claims that on repeated calls she was told she was “on the waiting list”, she “just had to wait” and there was a backlog due to Covid.

Cara has also called 111, who gave her a number for an emergency dentist appointment, but claims they cannot guarantee reassuring dental treatment or an appointment near her.

Cara said: “I’m hoping for sedated dentistry so they can just take my teeth out and I can have dentures.

“It’s available on the NHS but I’ve been waiting since 2018 which is why I set up GoFundMe so I can go private.

“I’ll flash them [new teeth] everywhere and be like ‘look at me’.

“I just want to be able to eat and smile again. And be normal.”

A spokesman for NHS England and NHS Improvement South West said: “Unfortunately we are unable to comment on a specific case.

“We have asked Ms. Smith to get in touch with our dental team so we can further investigate her situation.”

You can donate to Cara’s GoFundMe here.

Cara when her teeth were in good condition. Her fear of the dentist began 20 years ago when she was 23

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Cara when her teeth were in good condition. Her fear of the dentist began 20 years ago when she was 23Photo credit: Kennedy News
Cara says she's in so much pain that she takes 200 painkillers a month

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Cara says she’s in so much pain that she takes 200 painkillers a monthPhoto credit: Kennedy News

https://www.the-sun.com/health/5498189/my-teeth-turned-black-crumbled-fear-dentist-decade/ My teeth were turning black and crumbling because I was too afraid to go to the dentist for 10 years

Sarah Y. Kim

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