Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

False teeth

Many of my readers have read the series of posts called frugal diabetic so you know of my struggles to get my diabetes under control even though I depend on food banks.  What you may not know is I had severe problems with my teeth due to the out of control sugar.   When I first began my quest for better health my A1c was 11.9 and I weighed 235 pounds.  I also started saving every dime I could spare for dentures.  If I found a penny on the street it went into the denture funds because medicare does not pay for teeth.  Bad teeth, just like diabetes, is a poverty disease.

Dentists don’t like doing dental work on patients with out of control diabetes.  Healing is an issue.  When I finally got my A1c down to 7.1 I applied to become a patient of the University of Louisville dental school.  Last November I was accepted as a patient and I was assigned to a very nice student.  Back in January I had all except six bottom teeth pulled.  There wasn’t enough to save except those six.  Most of my teeth had broken off at the gum line.

new-dentures-2016

Got my weight down to 164. Yea me! 71 lost and 39 to go.

I had the choice of getting immediate dentures which would quickly become too big as my gums shrank. Other people had told me how painful it was to have the temporaries so I opted to do without.  It also saved me quite a bit of money.  No, the dental school is not free.  They charge just slightly less than any other dentist.  I figured I could eat baby food for a few months if it helped me pay for permanent teeth.  I’ve eaten lots of soft foods and used a mini-food processor for harder food over the last ten months.

Well almost a month ago I got the new teeth.  Oh heavens, it really takes some getting used to when having all that in your mouth and learning to eat all over again.  I’ve been struggling just to keep from gagging constantly with nothing in my mouth but teeth so eating was especially difficult.  The dentist has made several adjustments so it no longer feels like I have my finger down my throat anymore.  The gag response is so much better.  I’ve been able to bite and chew some foods. I had fried chicken last night and did ok with it.   I still felt as if I have way too much teeth and not enough mouth.  Its not the thickness of the plastic that bothers me but the feeling like my skin is too full.  Its very hard to describe.  Also the teeth centers don’t line up as normal.  They are just slightly off.  The teeth prevent me from setting with a normal relaxed jaw position.

new-dentures-2016-005

too much teeth or not enough mouth

Anyway I went searching the internet for possible reasons I was having difficulty adjusting.  Everyone talked about how nice they looked with their new teeth but nobody really talked about any problems or how the teeth should fit together.  I found a ton of sites advertising implants which did nothing to help me.  I was growing frustrated trying to find information I needed when I finally found the right stuff.  I found a guy on youtube who has made several videos of getting his dentures and all the problems he had had over the months.  Finally! Someone who simply tells it like it is.  The truth, with curse words and all, when it hurts.  So I started watching his videos.  His name is Bill Westlund also known as Your favorite denture wearer.  If you know anyone who is struggling with dentures or facing the possibilities of dentures that guy is the best teacher.

Anyway, yesterday I was watching one of the videos that had me saying DUH, and a light bulb went on.  Why the heck didn’t I think of that?  The video was about eating grapes with false teeth but he also talked about having a small mouth and about how he needed smaller dentures than most people.  I believe that is my problem.  I too have a small head.  When I shop for hats I have to look in the kids department.  Adult one size fits all hats swallow me.  When I buy glasses I have to go with a kid size.  So maybe I need kid size dentures.  That certainly would account for the feeling of too much teeth and not enough mouth.

Today I went back for another adjustment but had a good talk with the student about it.  The student agreed with me that the teeth were too large so he asked and got permission to go back to the beginning and made a whole new mold.  It was NOT his fault.  It was the teachers.  There were 3 different ones putting their own ideas in the mix from the start.  They really need to trust the student who knows more than they give credit.  We both knew he was right the first time but what could he do when the teachers decide whether he graduates or not.  Can’t antagonize those guys.

I go back in a few days for him to choose the new porcelain teeth and re-align everything in the mold.  Then they will be sent off to be made into permanent dentures.  Then I’ll have more practicing chewing, talking, and kissing grand babies.  You want to know the first thing I want to eat when I get the next set of dentures?  Grapes of course.  A big thanks to Bill for doing those truthful videos!

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16 comments on “False teeth

  1. Deb Krow
    November 2, 2016

    My Mom had the same problem with her dentures. The teeth were even to big. I tried to convince her to go back, but she was afraid they would charge her for a new set. Eventually she just gave up wearing them and ate only soft foods.

    • Anita
      November 2, 2016

      I had the same fear of asking for a new set but I’m so glad I did. There is no charge for new sets. My dentist thinks that is a universal law or something. Anyway, prosthetics must fit or be done again. My new set will have smaller teeth as well as a smaller plastic fitting.

  2. Tina
    October 28, 2016

    A similar thing happened to my mom when she got her knee replacement. Most artificial knee joints are sized for large adult men, not smaller women. My mom has had many problems from the knee replacement, and we only found out what was going on years later (and not from her doctor).

    • Anita
      October 28, 2016

      Ouch, that hurt me just to read. Thanks for telling me. I hope I never need that but if I do I’ll be sure to ask for a smaller size.

  3. Linda
    October 28, 2016

    So glad you got this figured out and they are fixing the problem. I too have a small head and mouth, so I know of which you speak!

    • Anita
      October 28, 2016

      I’m surprised at how many people have this problem. I never paid much attention to it before now.

  4. sarasinart
    October 28, 2016

    That’s great that you figured it out! And posting it here, like so many other things you post, will help other people when they read it. Enjoy your first grapes.

    • Anita
      October 28, 2016

      I sure hope the cost of grapes comes down before then. I saw the cost was $4.29 a pound at Kroger yesterday. Yikes!

      • sarasinart
        October 29, 2016

        Yea they go sky high in the winter. Course most produce does. Do you have an Aldi store near you? Their produce is usually more reasonable and always good stuff.

        • Anita
          October 30, 2016

          Yes, we have an Aldi but is a long bus ride to get there. I usually limit my Aldi visits to when I’m chauffeuring my SIL on shopping day with her car. I’m considering putting a grape vine in the back yard.

          • sarasinart
            October 30, 2016

            Oh it would be so nice to have grapes growing right outside!

  5. Donna
    October 28, 2016

    My husband got dentures about 7 years ago. He went back and went back and nothing worked. The dentist insisted there was nothing wrong. His front teeth don’t line up either. He does not have a small head, so that’s not the problem. His teeth don’t sit right in his mouth. They wobble. He finally gave up trying and they (the teeth) live in a box. He quit saying hi to them a couple years ago. I worry about his stomach because I know he doesn’t chew everything the way he should (if he could). Even with insurance (before he retired) they were expensive. Then retirement. Next came hearing aids which were also expensive even with insurance to help. I sincerely hope your new teeth fit better and I am happy you found a solution and they were willing to work with you. I keep telling my husband to try again, but now his hearing doc says he should look at new hearing aids. Retirement as you know, puts an end to any extra money. Saving for new hearing aids now since insurance no longer pays for hearing aids. Insurance would pay some for teeth but we can only do so much. Sorry this is so long, just needed to vent.
    .

    • Anita
      October 28, 2016

      Donna, vent all you want anytime. I don’t mind. Have you looked into the possibility of a re-line? Thats where they take the existing dentures and make a new tight fitting liner. Its way, way cheaper than getting new dentures because all they are doing is adding to the inside. I believe the cost is somewhere around $150. Its a better option for those whose teeth fit their mouth but have lost the suction to keep them in place. Check to see if your insurance will pay for relines.

      • Donna
        October 29, 2016

        He did have them reigned by the dentist that made them. The temp reign was OK but the perm was the same problem. I want him to take them to a different dentist but he keeps saying it probably won’t work. Also, the teeth don’t line up like they should in the front. I guess I need to be more assertive. I think he is afraid the new dentist will want to make a new set which we really can’t afford right now.

        • Anita
          October 30, 2016

          I know that feeling. Broke is always a problem thats why I struggle all the time. He may be right. A new dentist would probably recommend getting a new set. These days everything is about the money.

  6. nancy lotzer
    October 27, 2016

    Wow! Thanks for the info. I also wear kid’s hats and often have to get kid’s glasses. I’ll definitely keep this in mind if I ever have to get dentures.

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