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.
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.
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.
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!