In 2002 Michael Lister (48) was diagnosed with heart failure and in 2009 he was admitted to hospital for a heart transplant.
Michael knew little of the procedure and found it quite a daunting prospect, but knowing this was his only chance to live a happy, healthier life he agreed to go ahead and be put on the waiting list. It was at this stage he was to discover how grateful he was that, despite his ups and downs, he had always made looking after his teeth a priority - they were about to help save his life!
He explained: “To be placed on the waiting list for a heart you need to have excellent dental health - any signs of infection or gum disease and you wouldn’t be allowed one. This is because the risk of infection into your blood stream from your mouth is too high.
If I hadn’t decided to go on my Denplan payment plan I don’t think I would have been able to have my heart transplant. My teeth were terrible beforehand but over the years my dentist has got them fit and healthy and taught me the importance of looking after my teeth. Knowing what I know now, I would encourage everyone to take more care of their teeth and gums – it’s not just about looking good, it’s about your overall health. Basically, without this care my heart transplant would not have gone ahead, which takes the old adage that ‘prevention is better than cure’ onto a whole new personal level for me!”
Following his operation Mr Lister has to take a number of drugs and go to great lengths to avoid infections. His dentist plays an important role in this as good oral hygiene is a vital part of warding off infections.
Michael adds: “Because I see my dentist so regularly we have built up a good relationship and I completely trust him. He knows all of the medication I am on and how vital it is to spot and treat any early signs of infection, and because I am a Denplan patient it means I don’t have to worry about budgeting for all the routine and extra dental care I need, which is really reassuring.”
Michael is so grateful for his heart transplant – it has given him a new lease of life and he is still going regularly for his dental check-ups.