Do temporary prostheses look strange at first

Every food in the mouth turns out to be a disappointment

Three days later the dentist put the denture in my mouth, a strange, thick, misshapen, pinkish-white thing that covered the roof of my mouth. I immediately gagged. The nurse looked at me encouragingly and handed me the hand mirror. The woman I saw in it was no longer me. My upper lip suddenly looked flattened. The replacement teeth protruded terribly. I tried to talk, tripped over the consonants, mumbled against my will.

“Yes, yes,” I said after the dentist had sanded off the denture millimeter by millimeter so that it no longer wobbled. But suddenly I didn't dare smile any more, simply out of the situation. You would see the top of the plastic. Since then, I've been covering my mouth while laughing like I'm a shy teenager.

Eating is a tedious chore

In the first few weeks I vomited all the time and couldn't forget the monster on my upper jaw for a second. Sometimes sat there and grinded on the wrong teeth until nameless anger rose in me. I avoided distant acquaintances, tried to create so much distance during conversations that the other person had no chance to inspect my teeth. I tried to improve my unclear pronunciation, but to this day I have not been able to do that. Eating has become a tedious chore. Bread tastes like cardboard and cannot be swallowed. Cheese is just salty and sticks to the prosthesis. I can't chew muesli with nuts, and neither can meat. Porridge works best: whether as a shredded oatmeal, fruit and yogurt mixture, as mashed potatoes or fruit quark.

It just doesn't taste good, no matter what it is, because the palate is covered with thick plastic. And so I torment myself with the minimum amount of calories in my body every day, it takes twice as long as before, my stomach growls all the time, but no appetite, because absolutely every food in my mouth turns out to be a disappointment. I'm disgusted to throw half of all the things I have bitten into the organic waste and already think with horror of the next hour when I have to eat something again in order not to tip over.

Catapulted from life

I lose four kilos in weeks and seven in months. Two dress sizes less can no longer be bridged with tighter belts, I need new pants. People keep talking to me about why I've become so thin, and I don't want to tell everyone the truth.

I have not flirted with a man during this time. I couldn't have imagined what it would be like to kiss you. In the meantime, I can hardly imagine laughing carefree, devouring what the fridge has to offer with appetite, or no longer feeling vulnerable in company.

Then a couple of holidays come and I feel a crack in the prosthesis with my tongue. I hope it holds up, but in the evening when I try to nibble on a nut there is an audible crack and I take the prosthesis out of my mouth in three parts. Suddenly I am catapulted out of social life again and have to wait for the next working day.

A symptom of poverty

I spend two half days in the laboratory - in the nice company of dental technicians who don't mind the fact that I laugh with stumps in my upper jaw. Rather, they are happy to see a customer in person, rather than just their dental impressions. After an infinite 14 months, my story ends well: After a very last dentist's appointment, the telescopic prosthesis is in place.

My dental and surgical care is not available any better anywhere in the world, but the costs for this amount to around 18,000 euros. I would never be able to afford that in my life if I weren't additionally insured. Without this luck, like countless older people with narrow pensions and rattling prostheses, I would somehow have to cope with 20 or 30 more years of life - handling adhesive cream, a permanently numbed palate, the latent fear of a laughing attack and that vague feeling of being at the mercy that a toothless tends to feel the defense pushes into the attack.

That is what my dentist meant when he described in dry words the "restriction of the quality of life". It is a symptom of poverty.

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