Yesterday was a crazy kind of day; we had maintenance in so they could cut a hole in our ceiling to find out – and fix – the reason why it’s so cold in our “office” during the winter. One of us usually watches the work being done until it’s been completed… but we couldn’t… because I had an appointment with my dentist to finally – finally! – get my completed dentures!
My friends, I gotta admit that this process takes some doing to get used to and coming to the end of it, man, I was getting so impatient and dreams of just biting shit because I’d be able to haunted my sleep. Still, I was quite calm; even though I was told what to expect – and it was all damned good information – it’s not quite the same as being in the moment when the first denture (top) was actually popped into my mouth… and it hurt like a motherfucker because of a rather large bone spur I didn’t know was present!
I was momentarily baffled because as many times as I’ve looked in my mouth since my natural teeth were removed, I never saw the spur and my tongue, it seems, can’t quite reach the area; I’m sitting in the chair, poking around in my mouth with my finger and asking, “Where did that come from? I didn’t know it was there!”
Oh, and Linda was laughing at me the whole time…
The doctor comes in and I tell her where I felt the pain – now she’s got her finger in my mouth probing the spur but she said she was confident that she could adjust the denture so that it wouldn’t rub on that spot, along with some other adjustments she felt were necessary. As the doctor kept making adjustments – and Linda continued to have a fun good time laughing – it was weird because, again, I knew what to expect but at the same time, my brain is in a fast learning mode trying to process the rather weird feeling of having dentures in my mouth which also included dealing with the copious amounts of saliva present; it seems that because my mouth thinks there’s some foreign objects in it, it responds by producing extra saliva to protect my gums, just like what happens when you’re thirsty and you put a pebble in your mouth.
Linda’s laughing and it’s infectious; I’m in the chair laughing, the dental assistant is laughing and my doctor seems to be trying really hard not to smile as the final (or for the moment) adjustments are made and I have both dentures in. I turn my head to look at Linda and smile… and she cracks up laughing all over again. We get serious while the doctor talks to me about how to apply denture adhesive – which I asked her to apply to the bottom because it was floating around on all the saliva my mouth was producing like crazy.
It felt good… and so very weird all at the same time. Linda is still laughing as I try to speak… and my first attempts would have had me laughing if I hadn’t been so busy trying to swallow and get my gag reflex under control and, oh, yeah, also trying to get my damned tongue under control because it wants to completely explore things when it would be best if it didn’t. Yeah, I knew there there was going to be a learning curve but understanding what that’s gonna involved is, again, very damned different. We left the dentist’s office and headed home (and after a stop to get some bread) and I’m trying to work on getting used to my dentures and, damn, I can’t say it enough: I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and it’s even less easy than I could imagine. I’m trying to talk (yes, Linda’s still laughing her ass off), trying to swallow, trying to get a sense of how things are going in my mouth – it was all pretty confusing but we finally get home… and there’s a huge hole in the ceiling but that’s okay – the HVAC guy would be back to close it up.
And I’m thinking about tearing into the fried chicken (and French fries) I’m having for dinner. Linda’s still laughing at me every time she looks at me; I’m trying to talk to her – it’s getting better but not really – the saliva is flowing like crazy and then I get the brilliant idea that maybe I should anchor my top denture and, honestly, I needed to learn how to do it myself. Under Linda’s watchful eye, I go to take my top denture out… and get a lesson in what the word “retention” means, like, this thing is hard to get out because of the suction created between the denture and the roof of my mouth – but I get it out and carefully apply three little spots of adhesive and back in they go.
My mouth is pitching a bitch – but not because of any pain but because, well, I have foreign objects in my mouth and it’s not happy. Linda takes a moment to ask if I can feel the denture seated in place and I say that I can feel that – and she starts laughing again and all I can do is laugh along with her. As I’m sitting and trying to get acclimated to my dentures, she finally tells me what she’s finding so hysterically funny: Have you seen that “doggy denture” commercial and the dog with the really big – and really white – teeth? Okay, my dentures aren’t that bad but now I have the image of it in my mind and, yeah, it’s pretty damned funny. I’m sitting in the living room trying to behave normally… and it’s just not working! I’m deliberately talking to myself so I can relearn how to speak normally, the saliva is still flowing crazily, Linda can be heard giggling in the bedroom and I’m thinking, damn, this is gonna take a while to get used to.
I still have my mind on that fried chicken… but I gotta call my mother and that went kinda/sorta okay; there were a few times when I sounded as if I had a pair of socks in my mouth and I can hear the amusement in her voice as I’m trying to talk and swallow and, fuck, this is really gonna take a while to get used to! The hardest thing is trying to teach my tongue how to behave, trying to find out exactly where it can sit normally in my mouth and, yes, trying to get it to stop fucking with the damned dentures!
But wait… this gets better.
It’s time to eat! Linda’s making a chicken sandwich and it’s a work of art; the way she meticulously makes a sandwich can make you not want to eat it because it looks so good! I’ve got the fryer set up and going and, soon enough, all the food is done… and now another test, another thing I have to learn: Biting and chewing. My friends, if I thought having dentures in my mouth felt weird, these two things took all of the cake! I realize that, at least for now, I can’t feel what I’m biting; I know I’m biting the chicken (and it was good, by the way) but there’s no feedback! I’m chewing, moving the chicken from one side of my mouth to the other and just trying to get used to my new bite – how my teeth are gonna work to pulverize the food…
And I bit the shit out of the inside of my bottom lip.
Linda’s laughing again but talking me through how to do this with dentures – she used to work in a dental office so she knows about this. At one point, I realize that the little bit of adhesive that was put in at the dentist office for my bottom denture just wasn’t enough; I’m trying to chew and the denture is now lifting up – so Linda takes me into the bathroom and we really glue this bitch down and that worked: I got to finish my first meal with my new teeth and, damn, this is really gonna take some getting used to!
Where was I? Oh, yeah… By the time we finished eating, I’d now had my dentures in for a whole four and a half hours and while I understood that things like talking, eating, and drinking were going to be difficult to relearn, the one thing I admit to not giving a lot of thought to was having my dentures in – period. Now, you might be thinking that I should have given this some thought and I’ll tell you why I didn’t. See, for the last four months, I’ve been talked to about having dentures with most conversations starting with, “Once you get them and put them in…” so, naturally, my thoughts are focused on what happens after they’re in… which didn’t exactly include having them in at all. I was talked to about putting them in and caring for them, along with retraining my wayward tongue so I can speak without sounding like, well, like I have a dick in my mouth and, of course, eating. But what I realized, after four and a half hours, is that your mouth gets tired just from having the dentures in! Sounds weird, huh? Well, let’s just hope you never get to find this out for yourself.
I told Linda that I was ready to take my dentures out, which got me a stern look because, yes, I know that in order for me to totally acclimate to them, the longer I keep them in, the sooner this will happen but we went back to the bathroom and I got a hands-on lesson on how to remove my dentures, how to brush them, and how to get them doing the Polident thing… and if you had seen me trying to get them out of my mouth, well, you’d be laughing just like Linda was; when the makers of Fixodent tell you about the great hold their product has, you’d better believe it! There’s a certain way to break the seal that exists once you apply Fixodent or Poligrip; instead of trying to lift them straight up, it’s best to try to gently rock them until you can both hear and feel the seal break… and that’s easier to say than to do because you can’t use a lot of force to do this unless you wanna hurt your mouth.
The bottom comes out and into a sink of warm water they go… and now I’m trying to get the top out and let’s just say it wasn’t a walk in the park; Linda informs me that because I really hadn’t had them in and sealed for very long, the bond would be much stronger but, yeah, I got it out, got my dentures brushed (so much easier to brush all of your teeth when you’re holding them gently in your hand), and into the case for soaking.
My mouth felt wonderful even though I did spend a few minutes trying to get the Fixodent out of my mouth that decided to stay on my gums. As I though about my initial experience with my new dentures, I was both happy and kinda bummed out to realize just how long it might take for me to get used to them… but wait! There’s more!
Yesterday (Thursday), I get up and hit the bathroom to get washed up, brush my gums and tongue and now, the newest thing, put my dentures in. After rinsing them off and drying them, I carefully apply Fixodent to, first, the bottom and ease it in nicely before doing the same for the top after trying to figure out where on my upper denture that bone spur I mentioned is hitting so I can, as instructed, apply a little extra stuff to cushion the area. They’re in and now I’m about to experience my first full day with my dentures… and you just cannot imagine how not-easy it was. The saliva is back in force and with a vengeance; my tongue just will not stop fucking with the dentures and because it won’t, I’m not only having a problem talking but my gag reflex wants to kick in every so often. I’m trying to do things normally and, well, normal has taken on a very new and different meaning and just like the day before, Linda is laughing her ass off at times as she watches me intensely trying to adjust to all of this.
We had a pool party to go to that was being put on my the apartment complex’s staff and I was looking forward to it because it was going to be a test of how well I could eat other things. I got a cheeseburger and went to work on it… and quickly learned that bread wants to stick to my dentures and especially at the top where my “pallet” is so now I’m both chewing and putting my tongue to work scraping the bread off of everything – but I ate it and I’m happy about that. Next, I tried a hot dog… and I did well with that right up to when I bit my bottom lip in the exact same place I bit it the night before and I’m not a happy camper about that, as you might imagine. Next, I tried to eat a parfait of strawberries, pineapple and granola (made by Edible Arrangements, which was in attendance at our party for some reason); it was pretty good, too; the granola and strawberries didn’t give me any problems but the pineapple did, a reminder that even though I have all my teeth, there are going to be some things I may not be able to eat like I had my natural teeth – but I got through the parfait.
I went for another cheeseburger, this time with with pickle and onion and, nope, didn’t do well biting the pickle but gnawed through the onion effortlessly – that had me scratching my head but, okay, I’m learning. By now, I’d had my dentures in for about seven hours and while I’m not feeling a whole lot of discomfort except where I bit the shit out of my lip and maybe one little spot at the front-bottom of my mouth, well, I realized that my mouth was actually tired from having the dentures in. The party broke up and we got back in around 7:30 and I’ve had just about enough of these dentures for one day! I hit the bathroom and gets things ready so I can put these puppies to bed for the night.
I started to get the bottom out… and it’s not easy; even though I didn’t put a whole lot of Fixodent in, it’s really in my mouth and I’m trying to get the edge of my fingernails under the edge of the denture so I can rock and wiggle it loose – and all without hurting my mouth in the process. It finally comes out, I utterly fail to use my tongue to swipe at the Fixodent clinging to everything and, fuck, this has gotten messy… but I got the denture out and decided to worry about the leftover stuff later. I gently put it into the warm water I had in the sink… and now it’s time to get the top out… and holy fucking shit: This motherfucker is really in place! Between the Fixodent and the natural suction (again, called retention), I’m having one hell of a time (a) getting a ‘grip’ on the denture and (b) trying to get it to move. I know the last things I want to do is to use too much force to remove it because I could really hurt my mouth and the denture my come flying out and if I don’t catch it, I could wind up breaking it. I’m working on it and it’s not budging; my fingers are super-slick with saliva and I actually got so tired working to get it out that I was leaning against the wall to rest and I can feel a bit of panic starting to creep in.
Linda’s already in the bedroom and I was seriously thinking about calling for some help but, no, I can do this – I have to do this – so I’m still at it when, finally, after about five minutes of effort, I can feel and hear the seal break (a rather obscene sound if I may say so) and my near-panic turns into joy as the denture finally starts to move and then slides out (right along with another mess of leftover Fixodent). I am so relieved as I put the upper into the water – and now I’m trying to get the leftover Fixodent out of my mouth. I manage to get most of it out and go to work brushing my teeth – there’s still quite a bit of Fixodent on them so I’m scrubbing the shit out of them with the denture brush until they’re clear of any stuff and into the Polident solution they go.
And my mouth feels better… but not really and I’m not sure how to explain that. I’m still getting Fixodent out of my mouth; I can feel it with my tongue but when I went to scrape it out with a finger, I could barely feel it – it felt just like it was my gums. While I’m getting it all out (I think), I’m sipping on an ice-cold Coke and, let me tell you, the cold of the ice felt so damned good! My mouth isn’t sore but it’s feeling some kind of way after the ordeal of removing my dentures and I had a sobering thought:
I get to get up in the morning and do it all over again. I’m kinda looking forward to it; my mother will be here later today and I know she can’t wait to see my new “peggies” as she calls them and it’s be good to smile at her and not flashing her an empty mouth. My sister-in-law and her husband will be here at some point today and while they never saw me without teeth, they’ll get to see my new smile as well. I have to admit that my mind is already at the end of the day and I’m wondering how getting my dentures out is going to go: Did I put enough Fixodent in so that nothing comes loose especially at dinner time? Did I put too much in and it’s going to be another battle getting them out? Of course, at this moment, I know that I won’t know until it’s time to take them out..
I’ve been sitting here finishing this, drinking coffee, talking to Linda (she only laughed once so far but the day’s young) and I’m feeling better today with my dentures than I did yesterday and, well, I guess I’ll just see how things play out as the day progresses…