First look in mirror with no teeth.....

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I was curious as to everyone's reaction the first time they saw their face in the mirror with no teeth. I had done tons of googling about dentures, extractions, etc before the procedure and was quite horrified at the images online of what the inside of the mouth would like like post op. I reassured myself and figured I'd cross that road when I got to it. I vividly remember the fear I felt the first day I had to remove the immediates myself to swish with salt water and clean the dentures. I stood there sweating and shaking with fear ready to face a mouthful of holes, possibly blood, stitches etc... I got them out ok, gently placed them in a cup of water and surveyed the damage. Yup....potholes, some blood, and lots of zig zagged yellow stitching, overall, pretty much what I was expecting. I felt instant relief and was actually proud of myself for crossing that hurdle. Then horror struck.....I looked up in the mirror at my face, mouth closed.....OMG,OMG,OMG!!!!!!!!! My face looked collapsed! I was by no means prepared for THAT! I immediately went to tears and just fell apart, totally horror struck! I was totally appalled at the image looking back at me. My mouth and lips felt like floppy uncontrollable rubber! I looked like a hound dog with floppy jowls and when I tried to speak gibberish came out instead of words. What had I done? I looked 20 years older! What would my husband think?

I am bringing this matter up to warn all of those about to step into the denture process. I've been following along on this message board since just before my extractions a little more than a month ago and had never seen a post about this particular subject. Honestly just the mental acceptance of having to get dentures was hard enough, never mind the fear of extractions, appearance with new "teeth", pain etc..... I mean logically speaking I should have anticipated "the collapsed" look of my appearance but with so many other things racing through my mind before the extractions and post op, I was totally unprepared for this. My self esteem was crushed! Yup....my plastic smile looked better than my original teeth but without them in I looked like hell. I also wasn't prepared for having to speak to the dentist and assistants without teeth as they made adjustments, or trying to answer the phone when my teeth were soaking. Forming words without teeth is extremely difficult and frustrating!

As I have said its been over a month for me now. Due to a problem with the original immediates I was given I had to stop wearing them while new ones are being made. I was forced to see my toothless face on a regular basis, answer the phone and speak to people regularly without teeth. The muscles around your mouth get stronger daily and words become easier. The muscles also seem to strengthen up and the collapsed look isn't as bad.... Things do get better! My warning though, especially to the much younger folks......be prepared for this .....your teeth support your lips and face.....
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Kelly

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Posted 5 years ago

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Edwina Benedix

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No, Rosie....2nd opinion is far off in the future.....I find that it is just easier for me to just stay home leaving my teeth out....only go out if absolutely necessary....then rush home to take teeth out....not a very good way of living....Thanks for caring.....appreciate it...


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Stephanie

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I hate to hear that. You know what's best for you, but just consider getting it looked at sooner rather than later. They may not be able to do anything but on the other hand, they could say "oh, we see what the issue is, we can do a little trimming here and there and it will help considerably.

Best of luck.
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Edwina Benedix

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Thanks Stephanie.....I really do appreciate the caring support you are giving me....


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Marie Eastwood

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I have had a hard time with this too. I am slowly coming to grips with it and it's something I keep talking to my husband about. I am very self conscious of him seeing me without my teeth. I have a loose partial now until the rest of my teeth come out and eventually all my teeth on top. I am not looking forward to any of it but I know my smile will be better and I will look better. I am not sure about going to sleep with no teeth in my mouth at all .....Not sure about any of all that just yet. Just trying to get over the first few hurdles. I am a high school teacher so I just hope all the surface bruising will be gone before I go back to work but I know that won't be possible. I still can't eat in front of people because I have to take my teeth out. I tried eating a mint today and couldn't because of the partial in my mouth. I still have swelling and have a long way to go right now....
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Edwina Benedix

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Sorry to hear you are having problems.....It certainly is not any fun....I've been sitting in the living room with tears running down my cheeks wondering when it will get better...guess time will tell...In the mean time Marie think positive....and best of luck to you.


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Marie Eastwood

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Edwina, I cry too! I am still adjusting to this and this week I am alone in a hotel room for 2 nights with no family around me. It's given me too much time to think. I am trying to imagine my life with no pain and finally being able to smile and eat like I use to when I was younger. Those are the thoughts that are going to get me through this. You will be fine. Give yourself time to cry but don't dwell on the down side....think about all the good things the new teeth will let us do! Hang in there.I am here if you want to talk! 

Marie
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Edwina Benedix

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Sorry you are all alone in a hotel room somewhere....turn on the tv and get a good comedy show to watch.....laughter is good.....Oh, to eat a nice lettuce salad is a dream of mine....as it is, I can't eat lettuce......someday it will happen....just have to give it time.....I'm curious....where are you located? 


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Rosie

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I am so sad to hear about all of the tears. The way you are all supporting each other is amazing. Having to stay home because of ill fitting dentures, pain, or not eating normal foods is so frustrating. Stay positive and try to think about the light at the end of the tunnel.....a stunningly beautiful smile! ~Rosie
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Marie Eastwood

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Thanks Rosie.....it's slowly getting better but this is so emotional for me right now. Just came home from a business trip with a new partial in for the first time. Wearing it and talking for 3  days was a new experience for me. I just wanted to come home and take my teeth out and rest my gums. My daughter thought I was going to dinner with her and her dad (she is 23 mind) and I said I couldn't and she snipped at me. They left and I cried more tears. I wanted to go but I was hungry and can't eat with the teeth in my mouth and I was in pain. I broke down and cried again. I hope she never has to have this kind of pain. My heart broke tonight.
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Edwina Benedix

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Sorry you are having such a hard time....I know how you must feel not going to dinner with your daughter.....My daughter just left for Reno and asked us to go but I cannot go anywhere .......because of my teeth.....more tears as she drives away without me...Hope you get to feeling better soon...and the pain goes away....like Rosie says, there is light at the end of the tunnel.....and hopefully both of us will see it soon.


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Marie Eastwood

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I am sure we are going to be fine but it will take time. My daughter lives here and I just thought she would have a little more compassion. When do you go back to the doc? 
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Edwina Benedix

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Getting ready to put the dreaded denture in my mouth....Taking my grandson school clothes shopping today...The dentist told me to come back whenever I felt the need....Well, Marie, just take it one day at a time...that's what I'm doing....
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Trogdor The Burninator

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I'm one day post extractions. I get a month or longer of being sans teeth. Insurance won't give me dentures till my gums heal. I'm totally ok with it. I think I look like a happy turtle. My husband says I look like a baby. I have no shame going out with my horror show of recent surgery mouth.
(Edited)
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Mar Stok

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I am 23 years old and have no teeth.
My best friend says that I look like a sweet turtle when I smile .
I do not have dentures and probably will not ever have
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Melanie Baker

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Why do u say u never will? I'm so sorry u have no teeth. If its a money situation u don't have dentures I've heard there r many programs to help with the cost. Maybe u can look into that?
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Mar Stok

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I'm comfortable without it now
and I have a lot of other expenses
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Diane Baldwin

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Kelly I had my last 15 teeth removed and immediate dentures 3 days ago. I knew I had no choice but full dentures, knew I wouldn't like seeing myself in the mirror with no teeth, and told myself I would just 'not look' bUT last night I had to take both plates out and leave them out all night. I had the same reaction you described. Total devastation. I collapsed and had a good cry, sobbing what have I done? I am a caregiver and I realized I look just like my elderly clients! I'm 58 and I know many people get dentures younger than me but I think no matter how accepting you are of the procedure, that image in the mirror is a shock. I had to have a friend come over and hold my hand for a while. I can deal with pain, adjustments etc. Just having a hard time accepting my new self image. Thanks for posting!
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barbara

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One year after having all my uppers extracted and getting an immediate denture.  I still haven't looked at myself.  I turn my back to the mirror to take them out & put them in.  I have looked at myself with my mouth closed, I hate it.  All of a sudden I've got those lines around my upper lip.  
I'm due for my permanent upper, but I need to wait til January when my insurance kicks back in.
I'm seriously thinking about going for big bucks and Clear Choice implants.  I hate that upper palate thingy in my mouth.  I can't taste anything, I still can't chew.  I still hurt.  I can't sleep without it, my lower teeth somehow go in front of my upper jaw & hurt like hell.  I feel like the Werewolf of London. 
I don't think I've ever been this miserable. 
And did I mention the dentist said my bottom 4 front teeth are loose?  The hits just keep on coming. 
As if being 68 years old isn't bad enuf.  I sometimes just want to sit in the shower & cry.
~barbara
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Sherri Hughes

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I have the same thing ,i only have 6 teeth in bottom and the go over my top gums , i take my teeth out,im scared to sleep with them, it horrible and i feel like my face is ageing by the minute
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Jennifer #2

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I just had 28 extractions and immediate dentures put in 3 days ago and due to it now being the weekend and having the most painful sores I have not worn my dentures for 2 days, I swore before doing this that not one person would see me without my teeth EVER, but I soon realized that not having them in was comfortable and better then sitting here in tears due to the pain, I am going in for adjustments on Monday to help with the sores and hopefully will be able to put them back in, but if not I will continue to not war them because the pain i feel is like nothing I have ever felt in my life. 
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barbara

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Good for you, Jennifer.  I STILL haven't looked in the mirror.  It's over 18 months.
I can't sleep without mine because I still have teeth on the bottom & they hurt the gums on top.  
I am waiting not so patiently for my shiny new teeth to get done.  Maybe this week??
I have to admit that seeing them in my mouth made a really big difference.  
These temporary dentures are lousy.
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Jennifer #2

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I too am hoping that the new uppers he makes me for are what I have been waiting for, it took a long time for me to make this decision and now that I have done it I have really felt down about it because the top denture is so big ( the teeth ) in the denture and I look awful, I am trying to stay hopeful and not get to upset as each day passes, my dentist seems to be working with me well and I believe he will do what he can for me, now just waiting to see him Monday to get these sore spots dealt with and put them back in. 
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barbara

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What my dentist said about the size of the teeth is this:  the temporary denture is just that...temporary.  The teeth are smaller, everything is different.  And my bite is totally out of whack, so that will take some getting used to. 
The permanent denture looks a whole lot better......While I tried it on, in just those moments it erased the lines around my mouth.  As I was thinking "geesh, I look younger!!", he said it.  But then, he's a "dental artist".  <G>
I'm hoping.......
Have you tried OraGel for the sore spots??  The extra strength worked well for me on my mouth sores.  And the OraGel mouth rinse is good, too.  
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Jennifer #2

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I actually did find the orajel mouth wash for sore spots last night at walmart, I have used it a couple of times and it does ease the pain for a short while and made it possible for me to insert my bottom denture too after 2 days of not being able too, it is still very painful but I was happy to be able to just get it back in, though after a few minutes the pain is awful due to the sore spots. The top denture still will not budge no matter how hard I try, it just wont go. 
In my immediate top denture the teeth are very large, the dentist told me that the teeth were not properly inserted into the gum part of the denture and will need to be remade. I am waiting to heal up some so i can get new impressions and hopefully be well on my way to get new tops.. fingers crossed they are pretty because I cant stand to see myself in the ones I have  now. 
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barbara

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I don't know where the comment is about "being hard to brush your teeth with your back to the mirror", but I don't do that.  My eyesight isn't great, so I can't see myself well.  I just don't look UP at the mirror.  I brush & rinse all without looking.  I've been doing it for almost 70 years.....I don't need to watch.  
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charlid61

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When I remove my teeth I brush and rinse my mouth and I look at my gums and tongue to make sure everything is looking ok.
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Pam Cooper

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I know this is an older post, but I had to respond. I still cry every day when I look in the mirror with no teeth in. My husband has never seen me without my teeth in and it has been almost 2 months. I look like a little old lady and I am only 46. I can't stand how I look... It is actually ruining my life at this point.... I barely go to work I am so embarrassed.
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susi

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Hi Pam,
Sorry to hear that you feel this way.
Are you healing with immediate dentures or no dentures?
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Pam Cooper

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Immediate. I'd never leave the house if I didn't. I'm just broken....
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susi

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Hi Pam
I know what you are talking about. I am just 43. I only looked in the mirror once without my dentures in, and that was it. I also don't want my husband to see me like this. But i think that's ok. I have my upper immediate and lower partial dentures since 19 days and I only take them out when I shower or to clean them. I think I totally accepted my dentures as my teeth now. I can say that I am almost proud of them, because my own teeth were in such bad shape and some were missing. My tooth nightmare started after Chemo and they rapidly just rotted from the inside out.
So for 2 years I did not want to smile or talk to people and I felt very embarrassed and OLD.
I waited during this process with anticipation for my new teeth and now I feel pretty and young again. I see it like that's me with my new beautiful smile and not like that's me without teeth.
So, how were your own teeth before you made the decision to get Dentures?
Maybe you are not done mourning the teeth you lost so you can move on and accept your dentures. Have you taken a picture of yourself with the new dentures? Try it and when you look at yourself you will be positively surprised!
I hope you feel better about yourself and see that you are beautiful and very courageous with what you have been through.
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barbara

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For those who would like more immediate replies and a bigger discussion, there is a Facebook group:  Dentures Young/Old Support.  The people in that group are lifesavers.  It's a private group, too, so the immediate world won't know.