In an effort to save money, I did something new and different this week – I threw caution (and common sense?) to the wind and ordered a new partial denture online.
For one thing, I’ve had my current one since Columbus discovered America, so it’s pretty worn out. I’ve also lost a lot of weight since I first got it, so it needs about half a tube of Fixodent now just to keep it from flying across the room whenever I cough or sneeze. But the only thing that has prevented me from getting a new one is the price – close to $1,000 according to my dentist…which is about $759 more than my budget can afford.
So I happened to be browsing on Etsy the other night and came across a dentist (?) (dental technician?) named Vanessa on there who was advertising a spring special on custom-made dentures, partials, retainers and flippers, for as low as $200. I was intrigued.
After reading all of her glowing reviews, I decided to splurge the $200 and place an order, come what may.
Within three days, a kit arrived that contained what looked like two bags of putty (one blue and one white), some teeth mounted on color charts, and a couple mouth-shaped plastic trays. I was instructed to watch a video online about how to take my own dental impressions.
The procedure seemed simple enough, but only one thing worried me. It said I had just 45 seconds to knead the two packs of putty together to form a solid, non-streaky, pale-blue color, then slap it into one of the best-fitting mouth trays and shove it into my mouth before the putty began to harden. I assumed the putty was similar to epoxy, where once you mix the two elements together, it swiftly turns into concrete.
I have to admit I was nervous as I set everything out on the kitchen counter. Years of experience have taught me that nothing ever is easy for me, so I had visions of the putty squishing up into my nose, where I would get a perfect impression of my nostrils before yanking out all of my nose hairs.
I set the timer for 45 seconds and frantically began kneading the contents of the two bags of putty together. My stiff, arthritic fingers cried out in protest, but I forced them to do their job. At just about 44 seconds, the putty finally was pale blue and uniform in color with no streaks. I pressed it into the mouth tray, shoved it into my mouth and bit down evenly on the putty, as instructed. Then I was supposed to wait 2.5 minutes and pull it straight out without wiggling it. In my earlier haste, I’d set aside the other timer somewhere, but the stove’s timer was close to me, so I rushed to set it at 2.5 minutes.
After staring at the timer for what seemed like an eternity without seeing the seconds ticking away, I realized I’d set it for 2.5 hours instead of minutes. So I was forced to estimate the time by counting “one-thousand one, one-thousand two” solely in my head (because I couldn’t move my mouth with my teeth embedded in putty).
Finally, I pried the tray from my teeth. The end result resembled a blob of something that had been run over by a stampeding herd of cattle.
I immediately sent an e-mail to Vanessa and told her that my impression attempt had turned out to be an “epic fail.” She responded within minutes, instructing me to send her a close-up photo of it. Embarrassed, I e-mailed one to her.
“You did a great job!” she wrote back. “Now I’ll e-mail you a postage-paid shipping label. Return the impression to me and I’ll make a wax model of the partial denture for you so you can try it on before I make the final one.”
Believe me, no one was more surprised than I was.
So I’m really looking forward to seeing how everything turns out. So far, I’m feeling pretty positive about the experience, and the whole process actually was much easier than I’d anticipated. Also, Vanessa has a great sense of humor, which helps!
When I finally receive the finished product, which will take a couple more weeks, I’ll add to this column and give you all of the details – and my unbiased opinion!
Until then, it’s time to go stock up on more Fixodent!
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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines for most of her adult life. She is the author of “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” “Heed the Predictor,” “The Common-Sense Approach to Dream Interpretation" and “Inside the Blue Cube.” Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.