Being (a) Patient: Progress Isn’t Always Pretty!

Five days from now,  I will go to my uber-talented prosthodontic clinician who will once again rebuild my much abused flipper.

What’s a flipper?  A flipper is a dental prosthesis that simulates teeth that are missing.  It’s used by damaged people like me and pint-sized beauty queens  who are in between their baby teeth and adult teeth.

I have not been able to wear my flipper for over a month, due to a complication with the augmentation bone graft, I had done in  September to restore the bone I lost when I fell.  Originally, my periodontist cut my flipper back to keep it away from the graft.  However, it was still cutting off the circulation to my gum.  So, I had to lose it to ensure the best possible result.

I have mixed feelings about wearing it again.  Physically, I am more comfortable without it.  It tastes like plastic.  It presses against my gum and hard palate all day.  It makes me gag.  It make me cough.  It makes me angry.  It reminds me to hold the handrail on stairs.  Emotionally though, it makes me feel safe.  It makes me feel like maybe people will think I just have adult braces.  It makes me feel less… vulnerable.  I don’t like to feel vulnerable.

I keep my top lip pulled down when talking to people.  When I laugh or even smile, my hand flies up to cover the gap left behind by my two missing front teeth.  I’ve realized since this has happened that a toothy grin can compensate for more than just physical insecurities though.  When you can’t flash a smile, tilt your head and toss your hair, your personality flaws become glaringly obvious.  When it comes to conversation, I’m not an artist.

I think, perhaps, writers are writers because it gives us a chance to express what we would have liked to have said in any given moment, if only we could have thought of it at the time.  If only…

I am determined to learn from this experience and be better for having gone through it.  I don’t know exactly what that looks like yet.  Habits form over decades; not all at once.  Change doesn’t happen all at once.  I hope that by the time this is all over that I can look back and see that I have taken one step at a time in the right direction.

Love and Many blessings to All,



13 thoughts on “Being (a) Patient: Progress Isn’t Always Pretty!

  1. Jodi

    Cynthia, you have already learned so much! Through this ordeal – I’m sure you didn’t handle it perfect since you are only human. But you have always amazed me with the grace and positive attitude you have shown. This is no doubt one of those life experiences that shape you and teach you lessons you will use for a lifetime, because you are the type of person who thinks, feels & reflects on the lessons of life.
    Know that some day this will be behind you and you will know that you are a strong, brilliant, and resilliant woman who has always been beautiful inside & out.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences. I always learn so much from your posts.

  2. Andrea

    This is such an open and honest post, Cynthia. I really appreciate you sharing what you’re going through and I believe it can only benefit you (and others!) in the end. Big love to you!

  3. Drea

    Happy New Year! 2015 new beginnings! Will I lose that extra 40, find time to take a vacation, remember to tell my husband I love him, find my way back to God? I’ve got a whole new year to accomplish some important things and so do you. Let’s get to it! Enjoy! Love you, Aunt Drea

  4. Jen and sophie

    Hey Cynthia!

    Glad you got tour flipper back and that your dental work is progressing. I was reading your blog but I disagree with one statement – you are NOT damaged! You are whole. You are not your dental work. Your worth is not defined by your teeth. You are a lovely, valuable, warm, intelligent person who has much to offer. Like your friend said, someday soon this will be all behind you! Remember- this too shall pass! Xoxo Jen and Sophie!

    1. Cynthia Lenz Post author

      Awwww thanks Jen (and your little dog Sophie too.) I didn’t mean the “damaged” part to sound quite so serious. It was meant in a bit of a quirky way. I actually find it a bit bizarre that the children use them in beauty contests. Little kids are supposed to be missing teeth at that age. They are sending a bad message to kids by making it seem like they need a flipper while their adult teeth grow in.


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