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What It's Like to Have All Your Teeth Extracted in Your 30s

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I wanted to share some of my thoughts and humor as I adjust to life with full dentures.

I’m at almost four weeks post extraction now, and it’s been an interesting journey!

I wanted to have all of my teeth extracted, and I’ve shared two articles about why with The Mighty. I’ve been in a dental nightmare for over a year, losing teeth every month and getting horrible infections, due to my health issues and medications like prednisone. My teeth rapidly started deteriorating about a year and a half ago.

So. What is it like to get all of your teeth extracted when you’re in your 30s? Well. Wow. So much to say, it’s hard to know where to start.

selfie of a woman with her mouth closed

But I’ll start here… if I could go back, I would demand being fully sedated for the procedure and would not recommend anyone do it while awake, even with nitrous isn’t good enough. I thought I was a veteran, a champion of tooth extractions, having already lost 12 teeth in the last year. I was wrong. I had complications. It took over three hours. It was traumatic. I can’t lie. It was traumatic and far more painful than I anticipated. I have issues metabolizing dental freezing too quickly, so I felt most of the procedure. I had nitrous but it didn’t seem to do much this time.

In saying that, I still don’t regret having them all extracted. I have another infection in my mouth right now and it is responding to antibiotics much better, and much quicker, than when I had teeth. In the past, I had a blood infection/sepsis from my teeth. So, this is huge for me, that my body is now able to fight these oral infections better and quicker.

photos of a woman without teeth

Some of the things I’ve faced will be unique, because I had a surgery date, but wound up needing them removed five weeks early. So I was not able to get what they call “immediate dentures.” They usually like to do immediate dentures. They work like a bandaid. I was warned I might have to wait up to six months to wear my dentures, since I didn’t get immediate ones. But, since I only had my bottom and top front teeth left to be extracted (12 in total), I was able to start wearing my dentures only 10 days after my extraction. That is very quick, but it’s because I didn’t have any back teeth to heal. Front teeth heal faster.

However, I’ve had complications. Tons of bone fragments and an infection, so I’m only to wear the dentures as needed and only if they aren’t hurting me. Mine fit great and I love how they look. I’m incredibly happy with them.

I’ve also faced some preconceived judgments from some in the medical community. Assuming I am an illegal drug user because I’ve lost my teeth at my age. That has not been enjoyable, but they all realize once they meet me that they were wrong. I still really dislike the disdain. What if I were an illegal drug user? I would still deserve respect. But… I’ll leave that thought to end here.

Now. Here’s the fun stuff! My random thoughts!

Will I ever get used to brushing my teeth while holding them in my hand??!! It feels so weird!!! Looks so strange!

Hehe. I’m in public with no teeth. My mouth is naked. Ahhhhh I’m in public with no teeth! I hope no one notices! (It’s gone well. With my infection and the 10 days without dentures, I’ve needed to go out without teeth and it all worked out just fine.)

Mmmmm watermelon and ice cream and icy slushy drinks, my gums are asking you to marry them. Please. Commit to me! You feel divine!

Darn you salad! Why are you impossible to eat?!

Clickety clack! Oooops!!! There goes my bottom teeth!!!

Wow. Chicken is much easier to eat without teeth than I expected! And chocolate is hard to eat without teeth. Oh wait… It melts. Phew! We’re all good! I can still eat chocolate, everyone. No need to panic!

I sound like Elmer Fudd. That’s so cool!

I think my teeth are lonely in their container of water. Do they miss my mouth? They’ve been alone for days! My poor teeth. (Nothing like giving human feelings to dentures!)

Hey. This could be beneficial! I look 20 years older without my teeth and 10 years younger with them! I can try for some senior discounts! And loiter around some 20-year-olds and pretend I’m with them!

So… it’s been a funny, painful, sad and interesting journey so far.

woman smiling with dentures

The pain was extreme, but I’m recovering. The emotional impact hits me at times, really hard. I made the decision to have my teeth removed; however, my teeth made it so it was the only rational decision. So, I do have moments of grief, especially when I have pain, or see how I look without them, or have difficulty eating. It’s not been easy. But it has been completely worth it!

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Originally published: October 13, 2017
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