When Angie Barlow‘s mom was 34, she died of throat cancer. That fear has led the British dogwalker, now 48, to avoid the dentist and instead, superglue her broken teeth back into her jaw, the Daily Mail reported.
“She had a tooth out, and that’s how they found she had cancer. That fear has always been in the back of my mind… you just get your mind set and you just think, you don’t go. You don’t make that phone call.”
She has relied on superglue for 10 years to repair her smile. And the woman was a smoker, so broken teeth were pretty commonplace. The end result of all that DIY dentistry is a whopping 90 percent loss of the bone that supports her top jaw, the Daily Star added.
The toxic chemicals in the superglue are to blame.
To fix her broken chompers, or when a tooth fell out, Angie said “I just put a little bit of glue and try and hold it in place to keep it…so I don’t have a gap. I used glue on the top of the tooth, and then I put it back in place until the glue is set.”
But the DIY job wasn’t exactly perfect. Barlow was left with a horror show in her mouth that kept the woman shuttered in her house, too embarrassed to go outside.
“I feel so self-conscious that I don’t go anywhere really. Even going in the shop, I feel embarrassed. ‘They’d be like, nudge, nudge, look at her,’ you know. Even in front of my son I’m embarrassed to sit and have a conversation with him.”
Her superglue-repaired smile got so bad that she required extensive treatment and repair, an expense that emptied her life-savings.
The operation removed 11 of her broken top teeth, and added six titanium screws into her jaw, to which 12 new, false ones were then attached.
“It’s probably one of the worst cases that I’ve seen and certainly one of the worse cases of desperation, to superglue a tooth back in the mouth,” said Dr. Serpil Djemal, at Kings College Hospital.
Her broken teeth banished – and the superglue hopefully thrown in the garbage can – Barlow feels like a new person.
“There’s no hands over my mouth or embarrassment, and, the difference people have said in me, noticed in me, my friends, things like that, they’re just like, oh my God, you’re more outgoing.”
Sadly, at-home dentistry isn’t uncommon in the UK. People who’ve fallen on hard times, the homeless, those recently released from prison, or those who have other financial priorities, are turning to dentist kits – meant for temporary repairs – as their permanent dental plan, the Guardian reported in April.
No one really knows how many Britons are avoiding the dentist. The only data is circumstantial: the company that makes the at-home dental kits, DenTek, sells 250,000 a year. But it’s become such a concern that dental charity Dentaid – which usually works in developing countries – is launching a project in the UK. A recent study also found that the poorer classes generally have eight fewer teeth than the richest when both groups reach old age.
And Barlow’s method isn;t the most cringeworthy one people have used to fix their teeth. There’s also the man who cleaned his own cavity then plugged it with toxic epoxy putty, or the woman who popped an abscess with a fork.
[Photo Courtesy Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images]