Hello! My name is Betsan, and I used to absolutely hate my smile. I had even stopped smiling around other people!
It was only when one of my grandchildren asked me why I never smiled and was it because I was sad, that I made up my mind that it was time to take some positive action!
The first thing I did was speak to my dentist about my teeth and the fact that they were getting loose. I knew my dentist did basic dentistry, but I was sure that I needed some major stuff doing.
I would also describe myself on the extreme side of terrified when I thought about having anything done to my teeth. I only ever went to the dentist when I really had to.
Seeing another dentist was going to be a big step for me.
My dental implant journey begins
I asked my friends and family where they go for dental treatment and did loads of research on who was the best Practice/Dentist to go to/see.
Some of my friends told me to go abroad, saying that it would be cheaper, but the thought of travelling for hours/days to a foreign country for dental work didn’t sound too appealing to me!
When I thought about it, travelling out to an exotic place would be fun but travelling back swollen and in pain? I didn’t fancy that.
I was also worried about what would happen if something were to go wrong? How would I get it fixed?
During my research in Cornwall, one name kept coming up and that was Mark Durnall at Pure Dental Health in Truro.
So, eventually I decided to go for a consultation with Mark.
I must have watched the videos of other patients who had had treatment, a hundred times!
Pure was only 45 minutes away from my home, which was much more convenient for me than sitting in Heathrow airport for hours.
From the outside, the practice is not much to look at, I think you would describe it as clean and clinical. There is parking at the front, and when I arrived for my first visit, I managed to get a parking space.
The moment I walked through the door I was greeted by the receptionist who smiled and welcomed me, it made me feel more comfortable instantly.
With lights in the floor and a lovely smell throughout, it was more like walking into a spa than a dental practice. The reception made me a lovely cup of coffee whilst I filled out the necessary forms in the waiting room; that was a lovely relaxing space to be in.
Mark greeted me with a smile, and I can confidently say, his consultation was the most thorough that I’ve ever had. He asked me what I would like, and he explained that practically anything is possible, it is just a question of how we get there.
I could really see he knew his stuff and ran a very slick operation. He took photos, x-rays and assessed my jaw, face and obviously my teeth. Mark is not a chatty dentist, more Doc Martin than a chatter box, however, you can really tell he has an exceptional knowledge of dentistry and a genuine warmth and caring side.
He clearly explained, in a language I could understand, all my options and what would need to happen next to clarify that the treatment I would like to have was actually possible. He gave me ballpark figures of potential costs which were very similar to what it said on the website.
This was a nice surprise for me, I was worried because everything always says ‘from’ on every dental price list I have seen. No pressure was placed on me to rebook for what they called ‘Treatment Planning’. But I didn’t need to think about it. Just this first experience told me I was in the right place.
Should I go abroad for treatment?
I asked Mark about travelling aboard for dental treatment and he gave me a very honest opinion.
He said that he had seen good work and bad work that had been done abroad. He explained that no matter how good or bad the work was, at some point things could go wrong and need fixing because the mouth is such a harsh environment.
He explained that there are over a thousand different types of implants out there and finding the right components to fix these problems can often be tricky. He explained that the main issue was that many implant dentists wouldn’t be prepared to fix these issues as they did not do the initial work.
This clearly means that you would have to travel back to where you had it done originally, every time you have a problem, by which time, any money you saved in the first instance would be gone and it would most likely end up costing you more in the long run.
Mark also explained that if the work were of a poor standard quite often it would need to be completely removed. This would mean having to pay for the work 3 times, once having it done, once to have it removed, and once to have it replaced. On replacement, it would always be more complex because of the damage caused by the initial implant work being done.
I compared this cost to the cost of going abroad for treatment, and yes, the dental work was cheaper abroad. Rough quotes were £8,000 – £10,000.
I then weighed up the potential cost of travel abroad and the cost of accommodation that I would need. I also considered several other factors.
- How much of my time would I need to sacrifice to travel and how much hassle would it cause me?
- What if I needed to change an appointment at the last minute, like with my review?
- But for me the biggest factor was that if something were to go wrong or I had any issues or problems, who would fix it?
- Even if everything went perfectly, what would happen in the future?
It’s not like I was buying a car that after 5 years I could swop, these are screws in my jaw that need looking after for as long as possible, hopefully for the rest of my life!
I decided that although the cost to have implants placed with Mark was more expensive than having implants placed abroad, I was reassured that I would get a high standard of service and care from Mark and his team, not just for the actual treatment, but for years afterwards.
Time for my review appointment
At my next visit, I was again greeted warmly by the receptionist and was offered another coffee, I was made to feel so welcome. Mark took impressions and 3D scans of me so that he could assess my bone and look closely at my bite, this cost me £600.
I was booked in 6 weeks later for another appointment with Mark so that we could discuss my treatment options and Mark could explain anything that I wasn’t sure about in a way that made sense and he could give me fixed quotes.
Interestingly, I had to move my 6-week review appointment as I had to go away. The reception team were amazing in reorganising the appointment and Mark saw me in his lunch hour.
I thought to myself afterwards, what if I were travelling abroad? What would have happened if I had to rearrange my appointments?
My treatment planning appointment
At this review appointment, Mark took photos, x-rays and assessed my jaw, face and obviously my teeth. He explained that what I wanted was indeed possible and that it would take 9 to 12 months to complete, I was told that this type of treatment was going to cost just over £15,000.
What is more, I found out that a major part of the treatment could be done in one go, what he called “Same Day Teeth”!
My implant treatment starts
My treatment started with me seeing the dental hygienist, Nicky, who was fantastic!
She cleaned my mouth and upper teeth (even though they were to be removed) because Mark wanted my mouth as healthy as possible before the day of surgery.
Nicky showed me how to look after my lower teeth better as I was keeping these, it was the first time I had ever been shown how to brush my teeth properly and how to clean between them effectively.
The day of surgery came, and I was greeted and looked after by Terry, a consultant anaesthetist who works with Mark on complex cases or people with complex medical issues.
Terry was truly amazing and looked after me so well.
Mark greeted me and explained again what was going to happen at that day’s appointment.
The 4 hours that I was in the chair for, flew by, and at the end of the appointment I already had a brand-new smile!
Not that I knew much about it, I was sedated for this appointment and can honestly say that I didn’t remember anything about the process, and I didn’t feel a thing, it was totally painless!
I can only remember leaving the practice, and by late afternoon of the same day, I felt like I was back to normal, most of the effects of sedation seemed to have worn off.
The aftercare I received was incredible. I had had a hip replacement a few years previously and afterwards was just told to take a few paracetamols.
With the surgery I’d had at Pure, I was given a goodie bag by Mark that had painkillers, an ice pack, other drugs, special mouthwash, written aftercare instructions and Mark’s home and personal mobile number, in case I had any initial problems or concerns and needed to contact him.
He said to call him if I had any issues at all. He also reassured me that if he was not available for any reason, there was an experienced implant dentist available every working day at Pure Dental Health.
The reception team called me the next day to see how I was and to check that I had understood the post-operative instructions. It was such a lovely thing for them to do, to check I was ok.
I am not going to lie, for the next few days I was sore and swollen but not as much as I was expecting. I would describe it as tenderness rather than real pain.
I have had teeth out previously and suffered 10 times more after those than I did with this procedure. The fact that I’d had so much dental surgery done and it was not too bad was a massive relief.
My follow-up appointments
I saw Mark after 7 days to have a few stitches removed, he removed all the simple ones and then got me back after another 7 days to remove the rest.
In this time, I saw Nicky again, she wanted to make sure I understood how best to clean my new teeth.
Mark had explained at the very beginning of treatment that I would need to have a liquid diet for 4 weeks after treatment and then a soft diet for a further 2 months.
Everything went into my food processor and in the first 4 weeks not only did I have a beautiful smile, but I lost a stone in weight too! Best diet ever!
After 6 months, I went through the next stage of making my final bridge. Prior to this I had seen Nicky a few more times, she gave me a professional deep clean and she wanted to make sure my cleaning routine at home was up to scratch.
I also saw Mark on a number of occasions so that he could double check that everything was continuing to heal well. I had more impressions and photos taken; I knew that I could change anything I did not like about the first bridge, but it was perfect, so I asked to copy it!
Mark explained that he works very closely with a lab technician called James who Mark said is a genius and thanks to the wonderful work James does, he makes Mark look very good!
Mark never took any compliments that I gave him, always passing it on to someone else!
I didn’t need to be made numb for many of these appointments, it was amazingly easy. As Mark was using new components that he gave lectures about nationally, it made the appointments very easy.
Mark explained that the maintenance of my implants would be easier in the long term, decreasing the likelihood of me having any dental issues in the future.
I can smile today, thanks to implant dentistry
After roughly 9 months, my journey to have the smile I had always wanted had finished. I can safely say that I was looked after in a way that went above and beyond my expectations.
The care from every member of the Pure team, reception staff, nursing team, Terry, Nicky (hygienist) and of course Mark, was absolutely outstanding.
Yes, it had cost me more money than I might have paid for treatment abroad, but with all of the review appointments that I had, the standard of aftercare I received and the convenience of only having to travel for 45 minutes, I think I got more than I paid for, and I am so pleased that I didn’t travel abroad for my treatment.
It really has changed my life! Since having a new smile, I am much more confident in laughing, smiling, and eating.
I would recommend Mark and his team if you are considering implants. The Pure Dental Health team go above and beyond to look after you.