My dentures and I made our second public appearance this weekend as we got together to celebrate a birthday and because I’d be doing a lot of talking and eating over the weekend, my dentures were going to face the big test: Will they pass muster with the peeps and, importantly, will they stay in my mouth when they need to?
The test was gonna be even bigger because it was necessary for me to keep them in the whole time we were away; we knew that there wouldn’t be a safe place to put them if the normal routine was followed – too much of a chance of a child getting curious and messing with them or someone knocking them off whatever I might try to put them that looked safe. I was worried… but not really… but, yeah, my thoughts were plagued with images of me going to sleep that first night and waking up to find my mouth empty and my brand spanking new dentures missing or, worse, damaged. But first…
Before we even left for the party, my sister-in-law and her husband got to see the new choppers when they came to stay with us Friday and they felt that, indeed, my new dentures fit me to a T and instead of giving me the business about them, we had a few discussions over the merits of getting an immediate denture versus getting all of your teeth pulled. Now, Linda did tell them about that “doggy denture” commercial thing and they laughed for a moment but since I know these folks have a sharp and wicked sense of humor, I was expecting to take some ribbing and, well, that didn’t happen – not about my teeth, anyway. As we got up Saturday morning and prepared to get on the road, yeah, I admit that I was preparing myself to be on the receiving end of a lot of well-meant jokes.
We got to where we were going and the first thing my stepson and his wife said – and in unison – was, “Okay, let’s see the grill!” I flashed them a smile – and, no, not the silly grin I’d been flashing at Linda (and causing her to laugh) – and the smiles I got in return were rather heart-warming. They told me that not only did my dentures look good, they made me look five or six years younger. My stepdaughter, who had gotten there before us, said, “Wow, they look really good on you – they did a nice job!” and, yeah, I’m just waiting for the jokes to start but, nope, no wise-cracks about the dentures… but that didn’t mean anything.
When we all finally got around to eating dinner – some twelve hours after I had “glued” my teeth in – I was wondering if biting down on one of the many fried mozzarella sticks I had would reveal that my dentures were loose… but, no – they were rock solid and even though I’m still learning how to eat with them, they didn’t budge and I didn’t bite my lip – that didn’t happen until I was masticating a rather nice fried shrimp but I didn’t bite it hard enough to draw blood – but, yeah, that shit still hurt. By the time we were ready for bed, I was thinking hard about what might happen when I sleep with my dentures in for the first time and I’ll admit that I didn’t get much in the way of sleep… and the reason why had more to do with my tongue than my dentures.
I was really worried about my tongue, which can tend to have a mind of its own at times, pushing my dentures out while I slept; I was also very concerned about fucking around and biting my tongue, something I’d done a few times in my life with my natural teeth. One of the things I was told about my dentures is that I’d have to retrain my tongue to play nice so I could speak clearly and handle food… but I didn’t think about the combination of my dentures, my tongue, and sleeping because, at the time, no one mentioned the possibility of my having to sleep with them in overnight. Ah, but now I had reason to think about it so I didn’t get a lot of sleep because I was consciously thinking about what my tongue might be doing; you see, I know that I’ve had a very long habit of “sticking my tongue” out when I sleep – I just relax it so that it slides out just a little but not enough to be lolling out of my mouth… and with a full set of teeth again, well, maybe you can understand why this was heavily on my mind.
I’m lying in bed, listening to the noises of the night and fussing with myself to stop thinking about this and get some sleep because when the sun came up, the day would be very long and very busy as we all made the final preparations for the party but when I did nod off, my head was full of visions of my tongue pushing my dentures out and I kept waking up to make sure they were there. It sounds silly, doesn’t it? Trust me when I say that I hope none of you ever have to find out how real this situation is! The good news is that when I finally got up, my dentures were still in my mouth and my tongue hadn’t gotten chewed on. Now, I knew that I’d have to take them out, rinse them out and get them ready to go back in; new dentures or not, you can still have morning breath. Once it was my turn in the bathroom, I removed my bottom denture first – it came out easily and, thankfully, without my having to deal with long, sticky strings of Fixodent clinging all over the place. I put the the bottom denture into the sink, which was filled with very warm – but not exactly hot – water; not only does this loosen up any Fixodent that might be on my denture, it’s also a safety net in case I fucked around and dropped them into the sink – without the water, they might get broken. With the bottom now soaking, my attention turned to the top denture.
Me and this top denture haven’t exactly been getting along with each other. Between the Fixodent and the natural retention that happens, getting my top denture out has been a bitch and it’s taken me five minutes or more to safely get it out, i.e., doing it without hacking up my mouth in the process. I’m thinking that it’s been over 24 hours since I glued it in, well, the seal should now be degraded enough to make its removal easy… and, of course, it wasn’t – that’s what I get for thinking. At one point, I found myself thinking about inventing a tool that’ll make doing this easier but after some long minutes of fighting with my top denture, I finally won that battle; it’s in the sink soaking and now I’m getting the Fixodent off my gums – at least that part wasn’t as bad as it has been. I get them cleaned off and dried, do my best to put down an even layer of Fixodent – it’s actually not as easy as they say it is on the package – and back in my mouth they go (after I luxuriated by rinsing my mouth with Listerine, which really felt good).
The party begins, the guests start arriving and I’ll admit that I was curious to find out just how many of the “regular gang” would notice there was something different about me and, yeah, what they might say… and they did notice and had nothing but good things to say. When it was time to put on the feed bag, um, er, I found out, once again that hot dog buns and my upper denture don’t play nice together; that damned bun just wanted to stick to the top of my denture and I think I spent more time scraping bun off than I did actually eating the hot dog! Yes, I know this sounds funny and, in a way, it is… but I also recognized the danger taking place, namely, I’ve got this glob of wet bread in my mouth and now I have to try to swallow it – spitting it out just wasn’t an option. I learned, while fighting with the hot dog, that there’s another problem where eating is concern. You see, I was made to think about the fact that when you have your natural teeth, they work with the inside of your mouth – your gums and tongue – to have a sense of how much food you’re biting off so it can be chewed… and when you have a full set of dentures, that important bit of tactile feedback is absent: I couldn’t feel what I was biting! So instead of biting off what I thought was a little hunk of hot dog and bun, I was biting off a lot of hot dog and bun and now I’m trying to chew a bigger piece of food than I should be trying to chew and, oh, yeah, more of this fucking bun is sticking to the roof of my mouth!
I did manage to take care of the hot dog without (a) embarrassing the shit out of myself and (b) choking on anything; eating Linda’s amazing potato salad and some chicken divan that had big pieces of broccoli in it proved to be easy even though I’m now more aware of that lack of tactile feedback; I’m chewing my food, I know I’m doing it but I can’t really feel it. I guess the good thing about this is that it makes me chew my food longer. Still, the day continues into the night; the party was a huge success and those of us who remained stayed up until 1:30 or so talking, drinking, and eating. At one point, I yawned and I felt my bottom denture lift up a little and I thought, “Oh, shit!” but I bit down on it and it reseated itself and didn’t move again. We went to bed and I slept without a single thought about my dentures but I did learn in the morning that I still snored – but I felt that was a good thing and a win toward getting acclimated to my dentures.
But wait! There’s more!
We finally get home Monday morning and, oh, man, it’s so good to be home! Strangely, we’re both tired even though it only took us about an hour to get home. Linda decides to take a nap and, to be honest, I wanted to take one as well but I stayed awake as she slept and mostly because I knew my mom would be calling. As I relaxed on the sofa, I’m munching on crunchy Cheetos and the most revered chili cheese Fritos – it’s such a tasty combo to have in your mouth – and my dentures are making short work of these somewhat hard foods and they’re still firmly in place, an important thing to note because I didn’t get the chance to rinse and glue them down again before we headed home. A few hours later, I’m ready to throw down on some dinner; I have some Popeye’s fried chicken left over and my mouth is watering just thinking about chomping down on a few pieces. I warm them up in the microwave, bless my food, and get to gnawing on a drumstick while once more enjoying being able to properly bite food again. I polish off the drumstick and take a bite of biscuit… and turn my attention to the other chicken breast – the first died a horrible death on Friday. I pick it up, bite down on it… and my bottom denture came loose!
I. Was. Pissed! I’ve got this nice, thick, and tasty chicken breast before me… and now I might not be able to eat it because my denture has come unglued. Now, I could have – and maybe should have – gotten up, removed and rinsed the recalcitrant denture before gluing it down again… but then I thought that if I did that, I wouldn’t be able to get it out again when it was time to go to bed… and I was sure that my mouth didn’t want to deal with having my dentures in for three straight days. So I couldn’t bite the delicious breast… but I could pull that bitch apart and eat it that way, being very careful about how I was chewing; with the denture loose, I could wind up hurting my gums.
I decimated the chicken breast and, admittedly, I was rather proud of myself at learning how to eat something with a loose denture – but I was still pissed about it and more so since I gave it a good shove with my tongue to confirm it was still properly in place before I started eating. After disposing of the evidence of my chicken carnage, I got into the bathroom to finally get my dentures out and put to bed for the rest of the night. I popped the bottom out with my tongue and put it into the sink (very warm water again), noticing that I had zero food particles present, proof that the Fixodent is doing its job in that regard. I get a grip on my top denture, which I knew was loose but not “dangerously” so and give it a gentle tug… and that motherfucker once again refuses to vacate the premises! I’m yanking and snatching on this asshole – gently – and it’s just not budging even though I could hear and feel the seal break. I let it go for a moment because fighting with it is hard on the fingers – and I feel it settle back into place; once I was ready to resume the battle, I get a grip on it – the thing I need to do is to get it moving forward – but not pull it straight down – and it’s moving… but not enough for removal so I get my tongue at the back of the denture and work on getting it between the denture and the natural roof of my mouth and while gently pulling it forward – and it finally comes out. This is a bit of a major victory; instead of it taking me five minutes or more to get it out, it’s only taken three minutes.
I get them clear of any remaining Fixodent – there’s not a whole lot to get rid of – give them a good brushing, rinse them off and put them into their Polident bath – then work on getting the leftover Fixodent off my gums – which called for me holding some very warm water in my mouth and attacking the Fixodent with my tongue for a few minutes (and that was after trying to remove it with my finger) – and, finally, a good rinse with Listerine.
My mouth was so happy to be rid of them for the night. I was talking to Linda about my impressions on how I fared over the weekend with keeping my dentures in and she wants to observe my Fixodent application to make sure I’m doing it right and how I’m doing it so, as of this writing, I haven’t put my dentures in – but I’ll do that shortly. She did mention that I could use my toothbrush to remove any lingering Fixodent, something that did come to mind after I’d gotten it out of my mouth (of course). My friends, I have a lot to learn about wearing dentures but I am getting more comfortable with wearing them. I’m due to go see my dentist tomorrow so I can report on how I’ve done with them for this first week and so she can make some refinements; my bottom denture seems to be rubbing right at the bottom front of my mouth, where the inside of your bottom lip meets the front of your gums. I’m feeling just a tiny bit of irritation there but my main problem is the gigantic bone spur located at the right-top-back of my mouth. I’ve been trying to cushion this area with Fixodent and it’s been working but as the day goes on and the Fixodent degrades, I can often feel the denture rubbing on this rather large chunk of bone and it painfully gets on my nerves so I gotta ask the dentist what we can do about this. Personally, I’d rather endure a bit more pain and have her remove the spur… but maybe she can do something more with the denture so that it won’t rub on that spot.
If the piece of bone goes back to wherever the fuck it came from, that would be a good thing; while I was healing, I had several smaller spurs appear and I was ready to pull them out if I could – but they settled back into place and stopped being a problem… but not this piece I’m talking about now. The problem is that when my dentist did the final mold of my mouth, that damned spur was there but I couldn’t feel or see it so it wound up being part of the shape of the final denture; removing it would (I’m guessing) leave a rather large void between my gums and the denture and that might not be a good thing… but neither is leaving the spur in place since it will, at some point, be a source of some annoying, irritating pain. I guess we’ll see how this gets deal with tomorrow…