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Robert Critch

Robert can’t wait to smile at his grandaughter and eat a Granny Smith
Robert can’t wait to smile at his
granddaughter and eat a Granny Smith

As a young Gunaikurnai man growing up in Broadmeadows, Robert Critch was too busy working and worrying about his finances to give his dental health a second thought. It wasn’t until he had to have the last of his natural teeth extracted at the age of 27 that he realised the consequences of poor oral health.

Robert has had different sets of dentures made over the years. Unfortunately he found that none of them fit properly, so he chose to manage without teeth for over 30 years.

“I’m nearly 60. Since I was in my twenties, when I had my teeth pulled out, I felt like no one listened to me. My dentures never fit right and were really uncomfortable, so I didn’t wear them,” he said.

Not having teeth caused Robert to lose confidence. He also had to modify his diet and give up his favourite foods.

“I used to love eating frankfurters but I ended up having to buy the skinless ones because I couldn’t break the skin with my gums. So I’d sit at the dinner table having to pull the skin out of my mouth and it didn’t look very good at all,” said Robert.

He decided then to try and find suitable dentures to improve his appearance and self esteem. He got in touch with The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne (RDHM) and has been attending denture appointments with John Kamater. He is optimistic that this time he will get the smile he has always dreamed of.

“John’s been really good. He said we’ll get a comfortable set of dentures for me. John said that because I can’t chew properly it can cause trouble internally, bad digestive issues. I didn’t realise that.

“John has broadened my understanding of my other health issues.He said that because I’m on blood thinning medication, it affects how I can hold on to the teeth. My suction is no good. He has also given me confidence. I never had that before,” he said.

“I love apples, especially Granny Smiths, but it’s a bit hard when you try to gum it to death and get nowhere. I can’t wait to eat an apple!”

As Robert is talking about his experience, John suggests that he puts his new dentures in so he can smile for the camera. Robert isn’t used to smiling. He said, “I can’t wait to look happy, instead of looking grumpy all the time.” John holds up a mirror so Robert can see his new smile. He is clearly pleased with what he sees. “I’m happy but I’ll be happier when I can chew properly and smile at my granddaughter.”

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Last updated: 2014-05-01

https://www.dhsv.org.au/about-us/our-stories/robert-critch