Will a dentist remove all of my teeth

dentures : What it's like to suddenly live without teeth of your own

The word “prosthesis” no longer occurs in my dental practice. One speaks of dentures, which could just as easily mean a crown or bridge. The patient should feel less ashamed when the worst comes to the worst. Having a prosthesis fitted is the ultimate thing, because it means that you simply don't have a lot of teeth any more.

Like me. More than a year ago, the most meticulous dentist of all told me that there were only three teeth in my upper jaw that were worth preserving, while ten would have to be extracted. The receding gums and the missing bone mass simply could no longer hold them.

"And what does that mean now?" I asked.

My doctor took off his loupes and explained that I would need several implants, but that bone grafting was necessary first. These steps have to be carried out by an oral surgeon, with months of healing in between. In the end I would get a bombproof telescopic bridge indistinguishable from real teeth. Last until the end of my life.

"For the transition period we will fit a denture for you. That will reduce the quality of life somewhat. ”My doctor grimaced painfully. I kept smiling at him because I had no idea the extent of this harmless-sounding restriction. As a little girl I had seen my grandmother's prosthesis bobbing in the water glass with a shudder, but those were 40-year-old, faded pictures. Now I was 60 myself, on sneakers, and toothless old people had no relation to me.

I felt humiliated

The nurse filled my oral cavity with a thick, warm mass, I waited patiently until it froze and she pulled the stuff out. With the help of the impression, the laboratory would make my transitional prosthesis for the coming period. The turquoise-green silicone residue stuck to my lips.

Two weeks later I had an appointment with an oral surgeon. Until that day, despite my gray hair, my well-groomed appearance was important to me. After the morning in his practice this would be over. I had already done without lipstick that morning. When I went into the operating room, the eyes of three helpers shone friendly towards me. "How can you be in a good mood that day?" I smiled at her for the last time with my own teeth.

The team made it easy for me to lose her, we even laughed. The teeth almost fell towards the surgeon, I didn't want to see them anymore. I didn't have any pain, it just bled. Finally, the nurses handed me a face mask with a gleaming smile attached to it, and so I drove home in my car. The wounds first had to swell before the prosthesis could be adjusted. With only three stumps left in the upper jaw instead of a complete row of teeth, I felt humiliated.

The first look in the mirror was the worst I've ever thrown into it. Without being supported by teeth, my upper lip drooped limply. Any tension had left my face. I looked like an old, toothless woman, and the most beautiful earrings in the world wouldn't change that.

An intact set of teeth supports the self

Now I realized firsthand how irreplaceable teeth are for aggression. How all positive aspects of aggressiveness and self-assertion, even a hearty laugh, need a tool for that. An intact set of teeth supports the self: In stressful situations, people involuntarily clench their jaws and thus make sure that they are able to defend themselves.

The toothless tiger, on the other hand, is a weak tomcat, no matter how well trained and ready to jump he may otherwise be. Because he can no longer protect himself and knows that everyone can see it immediately, he will behave just like me: I don't live in the jungle, but when the doorbell rang, I preferred to hide.

Unfortunately, everyone has to get out of the house. If you don't want to attract more glances through the face mask, all that remains is a scarf wrapped high around your head, which one hand constantly prevents from slipping. Equipped in this way, you can quickly buy something at an anonymous supermarket checkout, but you don't want to look anyone in the eye, you don't want to talk to anyone, you prefer to wear gray, feel undignified and scurry home the shortest way.

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