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Last Updated: Monday, 27 November 2006, 00:01 GMT
Celebrity Health - Norman Watt-Roy
Norman Watt-Roy
Norman Watt-Roy blames neglect for his problems
In a series on celebrities and their health, the BBC News website talks to Blockheads bassist Norman Watt-Roy about his battle with gum disease and decaying teeth.

Norman, aged 55, got together with Ian Dury in 1976 and played on the album New Boots And Panties. Later the group became known as Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

In 1979 they had a number one single with Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick.

In 1983 Norman provided the original bass line for the Frankie Goes to Hollywood single Relax and he has also worked with a number of others, including Madness, the Clash and Jona Lewie.

He is currently undergoing extensive reconstructive dentistry at the Harley Street Dental Clinic.

HOW DID YOU FIRST REALISE SOMETHING WAS WRONG?

I just knew it was time for me to do something about my teeth.

You only had to look at my teeth to see I had neglected them.

You should see Shane's (MacGowan, from the Pogues) - his are much, much worse than mine!
Norman Watt-Roy

Because I was always on the road I did not have time to go to a dentist, and if I had a pain in my teeth I would just take a pain killer.

I realised that if I did not do something I was going to lose them, so I decided I would do something.

HOW DID YOU GET DIAGNOSED?

I went to see Dr Stanley Kay at the Harley Street Dental Clinic, who said that if I didn't do something then I would be in trouble.

Norman Watt-Roy's teeth
The enamel completely dropped off some teeth
The problem was obvious. My teeth were all decayed, the enamel was missing and some were just black stumps.

I used to brush them regularly, but I had not been to see a dentist since I was a boy. I knew my teeth were in a bad state.

But Shane's (MacGowan, from the Pogues) were much, much worse than mine!

WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THE DIAGNOSIS?

I was not surprised that I needed treatment. I was born in India and love eating Indian sweets.

I have a very sweet tooth and that does not help, although I am trying to cut down.

Also I smoke. I used to smoke a couple of packets of cigarettes a day and that did not help my gums. I am trying to cut down though and apparently my gums are already starting to look better.

I knew my teeth were in a bad way. I could see that for myself - well most people could.

It was more about what could be done about it than what was wrong and I was up for the change.

But I used to think where would I ever find a dentist who was prepared to take on the challenge of my teeth.

WHAT WAS YOUR TREATMENT?

It is still going on, but basically they are going to give me a whole new set of teeth.

It is going to take about four months, but already I am so pleased with the results so far.

I have only had about four or five visits, but my teeth are already looking good.

I needed a course of two weeks of antibiotics for my gum infection and they are already starting to look better.

HOW DID YOU FEEL DURING THE TREATMENT?

I feel incredible.

I spent ages not going to the dentist, but it has really not been a problem. I haven't felt a thing, not even from the injections.

I have had no trouble, no soreness and it makes you realise how silly you are not going to the dentist. If I had gone earlier I could have saved a lot more of my teeth.

HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW?

Great. My teeth are looking good and the treatment is not finished yet.

WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE TO OTHER PEOPLE WITH THE SAME CONDITION?

I would tell them to go and see someone and to stop making excuses because your teeth are not going to get any better by themselves.

And when I look at how good my teeth are looking already it really does make me want to look after them properly.


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