When you are suffering from a bad back, going to the dentist isn’t the remedy that instantly springs to mind. Aasma Day talks to Ian Hindle who has now shelved his retirement plans after his dentist cured his back problems ...along with fixing his teeth.
Scrunching his body into Houdini-style positions as he carried out his job as a chimney fitter, Ian Hindle reluctantly accepted that he would have to retire as his bad back was making his work almost impossible.
It was a tough decision for a man who loves his job so much, so when Ian’s chiropractor suggested he visit his dentist to see if fixing his jaw could alleviate his back pains, he was keen to grasp at any straw.
Ian, 64, who lives on Ribblesdale Drive, Grimsargh, near Preston, with wife Marlene, was born with an underbite, a condition in which the lower teeth land in front of the upper teeth when the jaws are closed.
Ian, who has three daughters and five grandchildren, explains: “I was born with an underbite and lived with it all my life.
“Treatment is quite drastic so they just decided to leave it and I accepted it as it was the way I was born. I never imagined the way my teeth were would have an impact on my back.”
Ian, whose job involves chimney lining and fitting and re-lining of wood burning stoves, had been suffering from back problems for more than 20 years but over the last few years, the situation became almost unbearable.
Ian says: “My back problems started creeping up on me and they gradually got a lot worse.
“It was a hard job getting out of bed in the morning and every time I lifted, I got horrendous pains in my back.
“My job is very physical and I often have to get myself into awkward positions and bend and lift things.
“But this was becoming almost impossible and I was having to get someone else to help me more and more.
“When my chiropractor Austin Lavelle suggested my back pains might be caused by my jaw alignment and recommended I go to see my dentist, I have to admit I was sceptical.
“But I was willing to give anything a go so made an appointment.”
Ian went to see Austin Hughes, dentist at Camden Place Dental Practice on Winckley Square, Preston.
Mr Hughes performed a new technique which involved removing Ian’s upper teeth, placing four implants, realigning his jaw and providing him with an immediate bridge – all in the same day.
Mr Hughes, who has been a dentist for 30 years, said: “Mr Hindle came to see me and said that his chiropractor had told him he needed his jaw re-aligning and that this might cure his back problems.
“We managed to change Mr Hindle’s underbite to a natural bite by removing his remaining upper teeth, placing four implants and making a bridge for him all in the same day.
“The bridge he has at the moment is a temporary one and we will make him a more permanent one in about six months time.
“This is a new technique. I have been placing implants for 15 years, but to do it all in the same day is a new development.
“Mr Hindle tells me that curing his teeth has cured his back problems.”
Ian says the transformation has amazed him and it is as if his back has been miraculously cured.
He says: “I now have a natural bite like other people and my back pains have disappeared.
“It is amazing – I can’t get over it.
“It has improved my appearance too. People tell me I look 10 years younger!
“Before I had my jaw sorted, my face seemed to come down on one side and because of my back problems, I walked a bit stooped too.
“I was looking my age - and probably a lot older.
“Now I am like a totally new person.
“I had been thinking about retiring because of my terrible back pains, but now my back is so much better, I am going to carry on working.
“This jaw and implant surgery is the best thing I have ever had done and has changed my life.”
Austin Lavelle, chiropractor at Back In Action in Penwortham, near Preston: says: “In Mr Hindle’s case, it seemed clear that the inbalance in his jaw was causing disfunction through his body as a whole, resulting in back pain.
“In these cases, it is important to recognise where the problem originates to be able to refer the patient to the appropriate specialist.”