The first thing I have learned is every person has their own learning curve. I am trying to make mine as quick and easy as possible. It will be interesting to see where I am in a year. For now…
Mindfulness with Dentures?
If you, like me, have never mastered Mindful Eating despite trying for 40 years, dentures are The Way to do it. I have never eaten slower or in a more purposeful manner than I have in the last 3+ weeks. I am constantly on alert about my bottom teeth falling out (which they do with most meals), so I eat very slowly. Very. Slowly.
It is still a trial and error to get my bottom teeth to stay in. It is incredibly frustrating and I know they are fitting perfectly because I have gone, more than once, to get them checked.
The grossest thing on the planet to put in your mouth every single day is denture creams. I use Secure after trying powders and liners and the most popular brands of creams. I could open a store with denture supplies I have around me.
Before beginning any morning ritual and then post-denture-removal ritual is brushing my gums and tongue. If you thought your days of brushing were over, you were mistaken. I feel like I brush more now than ever before.
Thank Goodness for YouTube!
Everything from here on, I learned from YouTube. I think my Denture Magician should have a tutorial to hand out since not everyone has access to YouTube.
Cleaning the Nibblers
This process is just crazy weird and often disgusting. I will describe getting the teeth out of my mouth to clean later.
First, I soak the newly out-of-my-mouth dentures in a fizzy cleanser that comes as a round tablet. I put it in a small denture container and cover it with warm water while it fizzes overnight.
First thing I do is lay a washcloth in the sink. These denture-suckers cost $1000 and will break if I drop them. I am meticulous with protecting them. I’m probably as purposeful handling them as I am eating with them.
Then it is time to clean the dentures with a denture brush and some denture toothpaste. (Do not use regular toothpaste on the dentures, it will scratch them.)
Not just clean them, but scrub them.
With my brush, I first clean out a gross, thick, aspic-like glob (and I say “aspic” because, all too often, there is food embedded in the goop) that was left when the dentures were removed from my mouth and swelled in the water.
The swelling with liquid is what the denture cream does against our gums. That, apparently, is the blech that holds my teeth in.
Even after the soaking, the glob of nastiness is still in there needing to be brushed out.
Could this be any more disgusting?
But Look How Pretty When Clean!
Drying the Dentures
Again, learned on YouTube. This part is kind of confusing to me so if you can explain it scientifically, that would be really appreciated.
Drying the dentures thoroughly before putting the paste on is supposed to be crucial to the glue-ishness sticking to my gums. You’ll see why I am confused in a moment, but let’s dry them for now.
Back in my room, I lay them gently on some paper towels, being sure not to have them near any edge where they might fall. Then I get a sheet of paper towel, fold it up so there is a wedge-like angle, and dry the canal of the dentures. I go slowly and meticulously.
Even after being thorough, there are crevices that are still wet so I use a Q-Tip to dry those places.
After using the Q-Tip, I set the seemingly dry dentures on another paper towel to evaporate the rest of the wetness on the gum portion for about 10-minutes.
This process is annoying, but I find if I do not do it, my bottom teeth will sit in my mouth until I swallow of liquid and then fall right out again.
I talk to myself. “I love this process! It is so mindful. I am taking care of my mouth so perfectly.” I don’t believe it one whit yet, but I’m trying.
Striping (Not Stripping)
I learned that the cream swells with water/saliva/liquid, so the next step made much more sense to me.
Then I remembered I was drying the dentures until they were desert-like first. If wet is what activates the cream, why can’t I put the cream on with the dentures wet? This is what someone can explain to me, please.
But, when it is time to put the cream in, I put it in three patches, well, small strips about 1/4 inch or so.
Then, using my pinky, I frost the cream like I am icing a cake (ironic since I can’t even eat cake anymore).
I make sure it gets on all sides and edges. This saves me from feeling gushing globs of cream in my mouth. That is grosser than gross, especially when you take your teeth out.
This frosting technique was a stroke of brilliance via a YouTube teacher.
Sip, Insert, & Hold
Before inserting each plate, I take a sip of water to kick the cream into it’s sticking goo, then put the plate in. (Again, why not put them in when they are still wet or just damp?) Because the cream swells with water, that’s why you don’t need great globs of goop in the gum portion.
When I put in each plate, I press it for 30-60 seconds.
I clean, dry, put the cream in the top plate, frost it, sip water, and put it in first. I hold it for about a minute and then start over with the clean and dry bottom plate, putting the cream strips on after the top plate is secure in my mouth. I do not frost them both at the same time. Each plate gets its own individual attention. Then, once the bottom one is in, I hold it in for 60 seconds.
My Top Tier
Happily, the top plate sticks like Super Glue. It stays in all day without any issues.
I will share how I get it out in a moment; it’s an adventure.
The Fucking Bottom Tier: Eating
The same cannot be said of the bottom plate.
Only once have I been able to eat 2 meals without them falling out. Usually, it is during the first meal of the day that they are slipping out of my mouth.
They say to eat evenly in your mouth, which I have been doing. Again, sooooo mindfully, it is excruciatingly slow and precise.
I am taking bites as small as one of the front teeth on my dentures. Not kidding. I cut my food, even the soft eggplant parmigiana or fettuccini Alfredo, into teensy bites.
Yet, I can feel the bottom teeth when they begin to slip. I roll my eyes as I take a tiny bite of something as soft as egg salad with a piece of bread with the crusts cut off, using a knife and fork (the idea of biting the sandwich is absurd!) and feel my teeth stabbing me in the gums. From what I have heard, this is all normal. For fuck’s sake, normal sucks.
I can see why people get their bottom dentures implanted. I cannot wait to make a ton of money to get that done.
Removing the Teeth (that haven’t fallen out already)
Clearly, the bottom teeth have zero issue getting out of my mouth when I am ready for bed. They are usually out long before that.
The top teeth, however, even without a palate part of my top dentures (which I had them cut out first thing), stick like they are cemented in
I had been ripping them off, tearing my gums to bleeding and crying each time I needed to take them out. What was wrong with me? I went to Google and finally learned how to get them out. BLOW! Nudge the front top teeth down, close my mouth, and blow up a balloon. Voila! Out they come each time. And minimal bleeding or crying.
Waxy Crap Stuck in My Mouth
When I pull the dentures out, I am left with a wax-like material crammed into the somewhat still-open sockets.
The best side effect of all is I am losing weight. I weighed at the Cardiologist appointment a couple of days ago and I have lost 16 pounds since I last weighed a few months ago. I can guarantee it has all been in the last month since I got all my teeth pulled.
I can see it in my face and body. How could I not be losing weight with 2 weeks of mush 3x a day and now only eating solids (if you want to call eggplant parmigiana or rice solid) once or twice a day for another two weeks. I eat soy yogurt for the other meals.
I got some bruschetta yesterday, hoping against hope, I could eat the bread. I broke it nearly into crumbs and it was still too hard. I can’t bear to throw it away, so it’s sitting next to me, tormenting me.
(I did eventually toss it, but sighed sadly as I did.)
There Is Beauty!
I know this is a lot of whining, but I do want to say that I was able to smile – a lot – while my girls and grandkids were here. I took pictures for the first time in many years with an open mouth smile. Glorious!