Come along on the real life dental implant journey of Jean Johnson. Get an inside look at the process, recovery and the beginning of life with a new smile.(Editor’s note: Any treatment undertaken to combat a dental problem has varied results for different individuals. The experiences portrayed here are those of Jean Johnson and would be different from the experiences of other dental implant patients. A conversation with your dental professional is the best way to determine the appropriate course of treatment for you.)Part One
| Part Two
| Part Three
| Part Four
| Part Five
Even though my prosthodontist used numbing with epinephrine in the gum tissue to help control the bleeding, his assistant still has to suction a lot and I can feel the wand as it gently bumps across the surface of the bone.
|Unhappy with the service provided by your dentist?|
According to the American Dental Association, there are steps you can take. First try discussing the matter with your dentist. If this does not help you can contact your state or local dental association.
Dental societies have an established dispute resolution system and can help resolve disagreements about dental treatment.
“You have good vascularity to the area,” he says. “That will help the healing.”
At one point I felt the drill hit a soft patch of bone. It felt like Styrofoam almost so when I got a chance I asked him about it.
“It’s normal. Bone has different densities just like layers of rock. That’s why I do all this measuring,” he tells me, and half chuckles. “To keep from going where no man wants to go.” He means the lower alveolar, a nerve that connects the jaw and cheek area to all manner of good things that folks don’t want disturbed.
My former husband had dental implants a few years back. We’re two peas in pod if there ever were ones, but the stars weren’t quite aligned for us. So instead of marriage, we opted for friendship that while has had its tests, has lasted a lifetime. Anyway, the main thing he said was that at one point near the end it felt like they were going right through his skull.
Still he observed, “By then you’re beyond caring.” He really is a gentle man, but he never did think it necessary to protect me from the grit of hard reality.
I didn’t have the same experience, though. The router drill just chugged along, and my guy checked and checked and measured against his film and checked again. Finally he put a pin in the hole for an x-ray and she clip clopped over and laid the heavy protector over my torso. I grabbed a quick look, surprised that she worked in heels. But there they are, open-toed shoes as stylish as the office showing from beneath her pink surgical gown.
Then the two of them disappear and the buzz radiation makes sounded off. Within minutes he has a fresh image of his handiwork.
“Perfect,” he says. “Beautiful. See how it’s parallel to the roots of the adjacent teeth? That’s what we want.”
Before he can place the implant, he has to thread the hole he’s bored in the bone. “Hold really still for this part,” he says. I freeze and even try to keep my breathing quiet, and it doesn’t take long. “Okay, good. Now we can place the implant.”
My mouth is super dry from the epinephrine and my lips hurt from stretching them so wide open, but I give what’s probably a lopsided smile. He gets a small plastic vial out and breaks into the sterile contents. There it is. The implant. Rather unimpressive. Just a screw without a head.
But I know it’s titanium and has some fixture on the upper end that my crowns will eventually sit on. So I open wide again, and with the assurance of someone expert in handling the technology, he aligns the threads of the bone and the titanium, and sets the implant.
Continued in Part Five