Loose Slips

July 17, 2015 at 5:49 am (My Soreballs Vacation)

"Slip-slidin' away..."

“Slip-slidin’ away…”

“How do you like the new teeth?”

“I love ’em! They take a bit of getting youthed to…”

For the last couple weeks I have sounded like everyone from Patrick Starfish to an inebriated Stephen Hawking with a cleft palate. Getting used to dentures seems more of a challenge than getting dentures, but I’m playing along and following the rules.

My biggest problem has been keeping the goddamned things in my mouth…

When the old teeth came out, and the new ones went in, I was ecstatic. The new teeth slipped right in, and I was told to leave them in for 24 hours. I was impressed at how they stayed in. I couldn’t wait to give them the bite test.

They were pulled on a Wednesday, and by Saturday I was starving for solid food. I managed to eat a third of an apple pie as my first fake-teeth meal. Apropos that it was apple pie on the Fourth of July, eh? I got it down, sans most of the crust, but I was happy to have pain meds for after.

As the days went by, and I returned to work, I adjusted to the slippage and discomfort. Pain was mostly negligible, with the exception of occasional mishaps that would get my attention immediately. I’d mastered eating, as long as I stuck to the dreaded ‘soft foods’. I craved steak and pizza and all the fun stuff I lived on for most of my adult life. Soon…

As the days went by, swelling decreased and the dentures became loose. This is normal, the dentist told me. When I went in for the second adjustment, she inspected my mouth and said, “Oh my, we have some contact points that need addressing.” She ripped the teeth out of my mouth, took a whirring gizmo to my false gumline, and slipped them back in.

“Wow, that’s way better.” I’d told her that taking them in and out were akin to chewing on razor blades. That got me a pain medication refill.

As I told the dentist, it was like wearing boots a size too big. If you were walking to the corner, no big deal. But if you were walking a mile, by the end of it you’d be in moderate to serious misery. She told me to persevere, and reassured me that eventually I could forget all about teeth.

After the second adjustment, I was green-lit to use denture adhesive. I had always thought Poli-Grip was a multi-person hand job. All those denture commercial cliches made sense for the first time. I could relate. Fixodent and forget it? I couldn’t fucking wait.

Deb, the dental assistant that got this whole enamel ball a-rolling, disappeared into the back and returned with a to-go tube of dental glue. “Don’t use too much, zinc isn’t particularly good for you.” I guess zinc is a main ingredient in denture cream. It was good for other things, too. I remember the Kentucky Fried Movie:

I’d been good about keeping the teeth in my mouth. I’d intended to wear them 24/7, but was told not to. The upper palate needs to breathe. After 24 hours, I was to keep them in as much as I could stand in the day, and take them out at night. As the healing went on, and the swelling reduced, I began to have comical mishaps.

My first humbling experience came as I flirted with an eighteen-year-old speedfreak girl that lives in the doorway of the Irish bar across the way. As I gave her a life lesson about how “Drugs are bad, mmmkay?” my uppers popped out like a methed-up Alien baby. I punctuated the thought by saying, “If you don’t take care of your teeth, you’ll have this to look forward to.”

Then there was the thieving asshole who slithered in the side entryway to the Waterfront store. I saw his furtive glance as he avoided my gaze. Too late! I recognized him from a previous encounter. My immediate attention was distracted by a waitress who’d snuck off to buy cigarettes. By the time I’d got her out the door Slitherin’ had made it to a far corner of the store, and was scooping candy out of a box and shoving it into his pocket.

I stomped over to him, “Put the candy back and get out.” I was having trouble pronouncing Cs and Gs.

“What candy?”

“I watched you do it. Put the goddamned candy back and get out.” In the course of that sentence my uppers attempted to escape three times.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he mumbled as he went for the door. He stopped and reached toward another candy rack.

“Ge-ge-” I stifled, pulled my teeth out, and yelled in my best threatening toothless voice, “Get the hell out of the goddamned thtore and don’t come back!” I stuffed my uppers back in and followed him to the door. He made no effort to stick around, so I assumed he got something. I went to where he’d been, and found a mostly-empty box of Rocket Chocolates. I hope the motherfucker doesn’t realize they are meth candy and eats the whole goddamned box. If you see a junkie walking in circles for days, he could be the guy…

Rain has been around, and she’s enjoying my newfound situation. I asked her if it was weird having me sitting around with no teeth, and she claims not to notice. That’s true love. She also bought me a denture brush, an economy size tube of Fixodent, and has promised me a fancy new denture box for the nightstand. Aww.

Chew each bite 20 times...

Chew each bite 20 times…

I’ve been told to leave the lowers out until the contact points heal. Now that adhesive is allowed, I am back in almost full form. There is still some slippage during eating, and I can’t chew anything of substance for very long. Without adhesive, it’s like having to chew with Erector Set teeth. Masticating with a mole trap. Put the glue on, and I can take a bite out of crime, if not much else.

And there may be an unintended side effect. Grinder told me a while back that instead of boner-enhancing pills, which don’t really work, he just takes zinc oxide tablets, because they are a main ingredient in over-the-counter male enhancement pills. After gluing my smile into place, I texted him:

“It appears that zinc is the main ingredient in denture cream. Soon I will be brandishing more than a firm bite…”

Grinder doesn’t LOL, but he replied, “BWAHAHAHAHA!”

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