Many people my age have dentures, and they don’t seem to think much about it. Once the pain is gone and the gums are healed, few of the denture-wearers I know seem to spend much thought about these prothesis.
But I do.
I have only a very partial denture. You would probably laugh if I’d show it to you. No, it doesn’t look like the photo here.
Not at all.
Ha! Funny! Isn’t it?
But it is also for real.
I have lost a bunch of teeth to acid reflux of which I was not aware, possibly for years. But those teeth were the molars. Even though I miss them a lot, I’ve learned to somewhat chew my food with incisors, canine, and the odd pre-molar that’s left.
And then, something TERRIBLE happened…
One lateral incisor had gotten so bad – unbeknownst to me – that it could not be saved and had to go.
Basically a HOLE in the middle of my smile.
I cried and pleaded with the dentist. I said: “I can’t have a hole in the middle of my teeth! I won’t be able to go outside.” And I added the thought: I’ll look like a hillbilly.
(Darn, since years, since we are so poor, I’ve tried hard to look un-poor, look educated while I’m still going to college, look respectable and reasonably healthy, even though I could not afford dentist or doctor for many years, and still mostly can’t.)
The dentist would not listen: “That tooth has to go. There is barely anything left of it and you’ll get an infection.”
And that was that.
I can obviously not buy an implant. The price tag of $3,000+ is as overwhelming as the shadow of Everest. The only thing that was less pricy was a denture for just that one tooth.
It looks a little odd and it took me a while to be able to chew with it, but it does the job, meaning it fills that awful gap that makes my whole face look shabby.
However, this tiny denture with minimal bridge is a calamity when it comes to…
I would never assume that my body and its functions are somehow special and different from those of other people. Therefore, I wonder why no one complains; why is there no better technology; why can “they” not make dentures that don’t rob me of taste.
This “bridge” that covers a small part of my palate makes me half-tasteless. It must cover so many tastebuds that there are foods that I can barely taste when I have the denture in.
It is a calamity.
At home, I can take the denture out for eating and enjoy fully whatever food I’m having (except that my teeth are less efficient for chewing) but when I eat with company other than my son (who got so very much used to my quirks, thank God!) I must keep my denture in and … I regret it every time. Savory dishes become bland; spicy food becomes boring; and sweets – oh the wonderful sweets! – are not even worth the trouble of eating.
You’d think someone would come up with a better idea for dentures.