Whats the deal with fake teeth?
April 29, 2008 5:31 PM   Subscribe

What are dentures like? What effects do they have on your day to day living? I'm talking full ones here, top and bottom.

Due to crap genetics, constant dry mouth, various medications, and addiction to diet pepsi and piss poor hygenie for 7 years or so its been advised I get full dentures. (I have a mass of broken teeth down to the root and hundreds of cavities I'm sure and am in constant pain.) Well not advised, the other option was $14,000 dollars to fix what is left and then constant upkeep to the few that would remain. I chose the provincial paid full dentures even though it destroys any ego I have left at 32.

I'm getting all the teeth pulled at once and then the dentures put in the same day. Immediates they are called. I assume this will be quite painful but I wasn't up to 8 weeks of healing with no teeth. Any experiences with the pain and or drugs they will give me to get through this?

How long does it take to get used to talk with them? I'm foolish and don't want to miss therapy as this is a significant time of year for me that I need support but do not want to be drooling and embrassing and slurring my words for weeks.

Eating? I assume soft foods and getting used to chewing and cutting small bites. Will I ever be able to take a bite out of something like a hamburger? I had a partial and I could barely bite through with an onion.

The Bottom Denture? This concerns me the most. I keep hearing how it is the tougher one as it has no suction to keep in it but that maybe I have "stuff" in there since I'm young that will help anchor it more. Will I constantly be aware of it and wondering if it is going to fly out of my mouth?

Do you sleep with them in? And what about tooth grinding? I used to wake up with chips of my teeth out because of jaw clenching. Will this be a concern?

Basically how long is it going to take to get used to these things as I never ever got used to my upper partial and took it off immediately when I wasn't in public. Ideally I'd like to be able to have teeth throughout the day. I'm sure I'll get more information from the dentist on the extraction date but that's a long way away.

Bonus points if if you are outside the typical "denture wearer age" and have experience how how it factors into your self esteem. or actually if you ever managed to have sex again after being forced to get them.
posted by beautifulcheese to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you seen this thread?

Someone warns that dentures can take ten years off your lifespan.
posted by jayder at 5:44 PM on April 29, 2008

So this is indirect - my dad has had upper dentures his whole adult life. Like, since he was a teenager. Something to do with country dentists. I never noticed it affect anything he tried to do. If I didn't see them on the bathroom counter every night I never would have known.

He eats everything - I think I saw him eat a raw onion once like an apple. He does not normally sleep with them in. It never seemed to affect his self-esteem but I'm not sure if I would have noticed that as a child. As for sex, I can only testify to his having had it twice as I have one sibling. Anything more is just speculation...
posted by GuyZero at 5:54 PM on April 29, 2008

It will be ok...life will be better, sex will be better, eating will be better, getting used to it is not difficult...talking will be fine!
I did exactly what you did (almost) had it all done at once, I actually did an hour long radio interview two days later and had no problem with it...

e/mail me (in the profile), I'll send you a phone number and you can call me tomorrow... I would be glad to tell you about my experience..

but...bottom line... it was the best thing I ever did!!!! and I'm sorry I waited so long!
posted by HuronBob at 5:58 PM on April 29, 2008

I know some old folks (90+) who have had full dentures for more than 50 years. Like GuyZero says, something about poor dental care in the country. Other than complaints about sesame seeds getting 'underneath' sometimes, I have heard no complaints. I imagine one gets very used to them, like glasses (or maybe more like contact lenses.)
posted by rokusan at 5:59 PM on April 29, 2008

First of all, I'm sorry that you are at this point, and so young.

Second, there is hope. If you are truly at the point that full dentures are a reasonable option, then it will be a relief to be out of the constant, chronic pain and infection you have been in.

I am a dental assistant, specifically working with prosthodontic patients for the past few years. I have seen dozens of young people like yourself in the same situation. You are in for a tough few weeks, with the surgery, healing and then getting the fit adjusted correctly with the new dentures. Just know that this too shall pass and you will emerge on the other side, healthier and happier.

You may never get to the point of being able to bite through a sandwich, for instance, getting through layers of bread and meat and lettuce, even natural teeth can have a tough time with this.

You may find yourself very frustrated with the stability of the dentures, as you have been told lower dentures merely sit on top of whatever ridge remains and gets knocked around by your tongue. You might find it a little better with denture adhesive.

If financially you can do it someday, consider implants to help secure the lower denture. A surgeon can place only two implants, which can snap into corresponding attachments in the denture. Although the denture is still removed for cleaning, it can be so secure it takes a bit of effort to release from the snaps.

As far as social concerns, flashing a beautiful brite smile for the first time in a long time, does wonders for the self-esteem. Please try to feel at ease, everyone has something about themselves they aren't 100% confident about.
posted by Jazz Hands at 6:05 PM on April 29, 2008

Oh, as far as sleeping with them in, do what's comfortable for you. We recommend people don't sleep with them in, but nearly all of our patients report that they sleep with at least the upper in. It is better for the tissue and the underlying bone that it not be pounded and ground on all night if you leave them out. Leaving only the upper in helps with that.

Also, since you are so young, ask if you are getting plastic or porcelain denture teeth. Plastic ones take the biting and grinding force and absorb it better, which wears out the denture faster. Porcelain teeth translate those forces into your bone and make the process of bone loss faster. Me? I'd rather buy a new denture a couple of years sooner rather than lose valuable bone support.
posted by Jazz Hands at 6:12 PM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

My denturist did say that the dentures I will get now will not be the ones I have in a few years so I imagine there is the changes that people were talking about. I admit that I've been clueless about most things. And just got first impressions done today in a kind of stunned um...alright what next. More concerned about the after effects that the make of the denture. I shall ask at my next appointment.
posted by beautifulcheese at 6:29 PM on April 29, 2008

My mother had all her teeth pulled and dentures put in (upper and lowers) when she was 29 years old--back in the 50s. She always had soft, tiny teeth prone to cavities, and fillings were constantly falling out of the teeth.

She said it was the best thing she ever did (she used to think she would die in the dentist's chair from pain and fear as a child and young woman)

She said the first time she at a banana after getting her new teeth she ended up losing the piece of fruit in her mouth. Mom seems to remember her ordeal as positive.

And she does have a very fine set of chops! Her pictures from age 29 on are very flattering--so dentures improved her looks a bit.

Good luck!!
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 6:36 PM on April 29, 2008

Due to the pain, I got "put under" by an oral surgeon when an extraction was necessary. Can they not put you under for this? That would make the most sense to me.
posted by Quarter Pincher at 7:25 PM on April 29, 2008

I'm not sure about being put under. I did that for wisdom teeth because it was free at the time in Canada but I am not sure about now. I see now I have left out so many questions I should've asked but I went in expecting around 3000 dollars of work and was told well 14,000 and really it wouldn't work but we could save your uppers for 8,000....and i had 14.50 in my bank account and disability covers 1000 over two years so I just agreed and left.

Thank you all for questions I have to ask. And advice and calming experiences.
posted by beautifulcheese at 7:43 PM on April 29, 2008

Consider traveling to someplace like Hungary where you can get high quality major dental work done for a fraction of the cost of having it done in Canada or the US. You may even find that dental implants are an option for you.
posted by brain at 8:44 PM on April 29, 2008

Ask about implants to anchor your dentures.
posted by hortense at 9:13 PM on April 29, 2008

Someone warns that dentures can take ten years off your lifespan.

Okay, that's bullshit (the source, not you, jayden), and it sounds like it comes from a fringe alternative medicine bias ... er, quack.

Dr. Charles Mayo (the man whose authority is being abused) was one of the foremost advocates of preventative dental care. Yes, he did observe that his patients who kept their teeth lived, on average, perhaps ten years longer. In 1922, he observed that "infected tonsils and teeth can explain most infective diseases". In many ways this advice was forgotten during an era of both good dental care, nutrition, and exercise. Today, we're finding out all over again about the close connection between diabetes, heart disease, and periodontal health. Diabetes in particular can exacerbate the latter, creating a vicious circle. He went on to make the same warning in several different ways, e.g. "Americans digging their graves with their teeth" and other wordings.

There is no way that he meant that dentures cause the loss of ten years. The loss of average lifetime is due to the existing dental and systemic health issues. If anything, dentures can help you get healthier and control the periodontal issues better (although they have their own drawbacks).
posted by dhartung at 1:34 AM on April 30, 2008

No. More. Pain! Ok, maybe just a little once in a while. I also had all my teeth pulled at 32 for the same reason, one of the best things I did.

They put me under and when I awoke had 32 teeth! Had to learn how to smile and laugh, hadn't for years.
Go for it. Good luck!
posted by jara1953 at 4:20 AM on April 30, 2008

My mom, now 67, had all of her teeth removed and has worn full dentures since her early 20s. Some story about "soft teeth" that I don't buy.

But she's never had trouble with them and eats everything she wants, including corn on the cob.
posted by cptnrandy at 7:45 AM on April 30, 2008

Mr. Adams had "bad teeth" (very soft enamel) all his life, plus he grew up in a very rural area so he also suffered from the country dentist syndrome. I spent many nights early in our marriage making hot compresses for his cheek due to an infected tooth and trying to convince him to see a specialist. He eventually consulted with two different dentists who both basically said he could go on getting fillings and root canals for the next several years for teeth that were wearing down and weren't going to last anyway, or get them pulled and get dentures and be done with it. He went through the same gamut of emotions you mentioned - he was in his early 30s, wearing dentures is the sign of an old man, etc, etc. I pointed out that at the moment, he very rarely smiled, because he was ashamed of his teeth. There were a limited number of foods that he could chew comfortably, so he was already eating like an "old man."

He thought about it and had 'em all pulled and was measured for a set of dentures. His only really uncomfortable period was the initial 24 hours after the anesthetic wore off. I took the day off of work and dutifully changed his gauze, gave him his painkillers and made his soup. By day two the bleeding had completely stopped and he was feeling pretty chipper. I seems to recall that he didn't get his "immediates" until a few days after the extractions, but it's been a few years and my memory could be fuzzy. In any case, it was like night and day. Once he got his new teeth, he smiled once in the mirror and then actually grinned. He'd never seen himself with a full, beautiful smile. It wasn't long before he was eating anything in the world he wanted from steak to corn on the cob, foods he would've never considered with his biological choppers. I can't over-emphasize how much dentures changed his day-to-day life for the better.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:13 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

This has certainly been an interesting question. I have 12 baby teeth with no permanents underneath, and was told some time in my early teens that they'd all probably fall out by the time I was 20 and I'd need bridgework or dentures. I'm 26 and they're holding strong, thankfully, but sooner or later I'm going to have to start looking replacements. This thread has helped allay some of my worries, although I'm still concerned about what I would and wouldn't be able to eat...

While I'm here, though, I might as well ask 150; I still have my incisors and back molars, with the baby teeth nestled between them. If I need the babies replaced, I’m assuming that the existing permanents would be used for the anchor points, correct?
posted by truex at 10:34 AM on April 30, 2008

Oh, and please do ignore the broken character entity in my post...
posted by truex at 10:36 AM on April 30, 2008

truex: you may be a great candidate for implants in those areas, the natural permanent teeth you have can stay undisturbed, no need to prep a virgin tooth.
posted by Jazz Hands at 10:52 AM on April 30, 2008

Just a follow up. Everyone was right who said it was the best decision they ever made. I'm on day two of having them and while there is swelling and pain from having 20 teeth removed and dentures put right on the way they have changed my look is amazing. Like someone mentioned I also can't stop looking at myself in the mirror and comparing before and after shots blows me away.

Most of my worries have turned out to be minor so far. I slept with them fine, they don't feel huge in my mouth (they actually feel natural!). The biggest thing I worried about - my speech- is near perfect already. I still have to learn to re-eat and I'm only on yogurt right now but its such the best decision I ever made.

You people eased a lot of stress for me so I wanted to thank you all.
posted by beautifulcheese at 7:09 AM on May 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

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