Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dental Prosthesis

It’s been an odd afternoon and evening.

I had teeth added, then hair removed.

The haircut is inconsequential, really. The teeth are the important part. Over the last two decades, my teeth have been steadily degenerating. Decaying, abscessing, hurting, being pulled, and in some cases falling out on their own. Luckily, only one of the ones missing was visible, and only if I smiled really big.

Last year, I began the process of repair and damage control. I had a filling done and several stubs of molars removed. Just when it was time to start the fitting process for partial plates, I found out my dental insurance had paid out the maximum for the year. So I’ve been chewing without the aid of molars for a year now. Apparently, through my employer, I have really great medical insurance, but very mediocre dental insurance. Which is part of the reason I’d put off dental care for so long. A lot has been paid out of pocket, but it’s become necessary. At any rate, I’m getting it finished now.

After several “fitting” sessions, I brought my new teeth home with me today. I love the fact that I’m going to (eventually) chew normally again, and that I’ll look somewhat “normal”. Well, as normal as I get, anyway. I understand that it’s going to feel odd, because I’ve gone years with most of those teeth missing, and now it feels like there’s something in my mouth. I understand that’s going to make me talk funny for a couple of days. (Please: hold all the Daffy Duck jokes….)

Here’s the odd thing: when I chew with my teeth, I can feel the pressure. I know teeth don’t have sensation, but maybe it’s vibration or pressure transferred to the root nerve or something. The artificial teeth, however, are totally freaking weird. They push down on the food and there’s just this odd, disjointed pressure on the gums. It’s a completely different feeling from “normal” tooth sensation. It’s kind of how I imagine it feels to walk on a prosthesis. You wouldn’t have normal sensory input from the foot, ankle, calf, and knee. You’d just feel pressure on the bottom of what’s left of your leg, and that’s how you’d know weight had been transferred to your artificial foot.

Only in my case, food gets trapped under my prosthesis.

Odd, disjointed, detached from my food. Yeah, this is going to take some getting used to……

(Please don’t misconstrue my analogy of the prosthetic leg to mean that I think losing teeth is ANYWHERE NEAR losing a leg. It’s just a literary comparison to illustrate my initial impression; not a belief that they’re equal in any way.)