Monday 16 September 2019

Irish dad-of-three (32) who drank six litres of fizzy drinks every day loses all 27 teeth

Michael Sheridan has been given a brand new smile.
Michael Sheridan has been given a brand new smile.
Michael Sheridan before his operation last week.
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

An Irish father-of-three and former fizzy drink addict, whose teeth had grown completely rotten, was given a fresh start last week when a dentist gave him a brand new set of teeth.

Michael Sheridan (32) drank around six litres of coke every day since his early twenties.

His was so addicted that he would sweat and shake and suffer headaches within half an hour of waking if he didn’t consume a fizzy drink.

Five years ago, his teeth began to rot. But he continued to consume the fizzy drinks. Eventually, he says, four nights out of every seven, he would lie awake in agony from toothaches.

He couldn’t eat any solid food. And he even hid his smile from his partner and children.

“My diet consisted of Weetabix, soup, yoghurt, becase if I ate any solid food, I’d eat on the left side of my mouth and get a toothache, and then on the right side, and then I’d get a toothache on that side.

He added: “I was ashamed and embarrassed and got used to hiding them. I was able to talk and smile without showing my teeth.”

“My speech was muffled because I was nearly not opening my mouth when I was talking. For Christmas morning photos, everyone looked happy, just not me because I wouldn’t smile for the photos even though I was happy.”

“The worst thing was the smell, with bad teeth you get bad breath. You can use mouthwash but that’ll only last twenty minutes.”

Even when his teeth were beginning to show the first signs of rot, Michael didn’t realise that he needed to curtail his fizzy drink habit.

“I noticed it early. It didn’t seem to bother me, I knew that to stop it I needed to stop the fizzy drinks but I didn’t want to. Some people like a cup of coffee, I liked my can of coke."

“It took a couple of years before I realised I was addicted. Most mornings I’d go straight to the fridge and get a drink. Within a half an hour of getting up, I’d have the shakes, I’d be sweating, I’d get headaches if I didn’t have a fizzy drink.”

“That was when I realised I was reliant on it. I’d go down to get bread and milk and come back with two two-litre bottles of fizzy drink.”

“It’s not a common addiction. If you see an alcoholic, you know they’re drunk, but if someone’s carrying a bottle of fizzy drink on the street, you don’t assume it’s a big addiction. It’s just considered normal.”

Luckily, Michael played waterpolo with the Drogheda Waterpolo club where he met dentist Dr David Murnaghan from Boyne Dental and Implant Clinic. When the pair were travelling to a match in Galway one day, David saw Michael wince in pain when he bit into a sandwich.

The dentist offered to help. It took Michael a year to pluck up the courage to visit David's surgery. This year, he will be giving Michael the gift of a new set of teeth, a procedure that's worth around €50,000.

“I’d still be like that today if David hadn’t helped me, there wasn’t really an option. It was going to be €120 to get a tooth removed, I needed 27 removed. That’s just to get them out.”

“I nearly look at it that he’s performing a miracle for me. What he’s done, it’s more than a year’s wages for me.”

Last week, David removed all 27 of Michael’s teeth. Now, he’s wearing removable dentures. In April, he will have 12 implants inserted into his jawbone. The entire procedure will be completed by August.

Now that he's been given a new lease of life, Michael and his partner Linda are preparing for their wedding day next New Year’s Eve.

“Before, I couldn’t go through my wedding because I didn't want to ruin my photographs.”

“My life has changed. If David hadn’t come up with the solution, there was no way I could have afforded it.”

He added: “I haven’t had any fizzy drinks or anything like that since the day before the surgery. I had one can the day before the surgery. Now I’m eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, and fruit in between.”

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