Thursday, August 18, 2005

Clients and their Beloved Dentures

Why have I had the misfortune of seeing clients constantly pop out their dentures as a joke at every single human services job I've had during my career? I remember the first pop-out quite clearly.

An older deaf man, while discussing a matter, suddenly popped out his top denture (the entire top set) and prodded a bottom one out of the blue. I kept a straight face, but my eyes could not disguise my surprise. The man laughed for a long time. I proceeded with the discussion. He popped it out again. I ignored it and pretended I didn't see it. Once again, he popped it out. Finally, I paused and said, "Excuse me, what was that coming out of your mouth? Is everything okay with your teeth?" He laughed for a long time. He took his dentures out of his mouth and asked me if he looked lovely without them in his mouth. I politely asked him to please put them back in. He asked me if I had ever seen dentures before. I said, "Yes. And, I don't want to ever see yours popping out of your mouth ever again." Few months later, while at a social service office in the field, he suddenly popped his denture out while the window worker was talking. I gave him a gentle elbow. He just laughed and laughed. Later, I asked him what was up with him and his dentures. He enjoyed surprising people and seeing their reactions.

*fast forward*

While working at another agency, in the middle of a counseling session, a client popped out her dentures and played with it on her tongue quite adeptly as if playing with tongue piercing. This time, I had seen one too many dentures popping out of clients' mouths to keep a straight face. I immediately laughed and asked her what that was all about. She just wanted to see my reaction. I thanked her for amusing me and asked her to please not do it again because I wanted to focus on our meeting now that I knew what her dentures looked like. (And, they were quite a good set, I must say.)

During an internship in the past, yet another client popped out dentures. By then, I had resigned to just accepting that I will always have at least one client popping out his/her dentures at every single place I work at. I do look at clients' teeth and wonder who have dentures.

I find it quite repulsive and amusing at the same time. I'd rather see someone suddenly take off his/her wig, toupee or artificial limb in an attempt to shock me or test my reaction than see a denture popping out of a mouth. There's something about dentures, salvia, and mouth matters that turn me off.

Folks, please take care of your teeth and see the dentist regularly so you do not ever need dentures later in life. And, if you need one, please have them screwed in. Thank you in advance.