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
By: Jean Johnson for Dental1
The panoramic x-ray that flattens my jaw out like a Mercator projection and makes me look like ET is on the light board behind my prosthodontist. All the intricacies of my mouth are there, and the hazy shades of gray silhouette his jet black hair. It’s combed straight back off his forehead and some superb product keeps every strand in place.
|Staying Calm During a Procedure|
Things to try:
Dress in loose, comfortable clothing
Breathe normally if not more slowly and deeply than usual
Close your eyes and allow your mind to wander
Ask your dentist if you can listen to your own music
Your dentist may have other suggestions to help you relax, don’t be afraid to ask
He slips the plastic mold into place again and uses something to mark his spots. We’re doing three implants, so I visualize an off-white sculpt of jawbone with three black dots spaced just so. Then he goes back to examining the x-ray and fiddling with the mold some before he’s finally satisfied with the placement of hole number one. That’s when the drilling begins.
He starts with the standard dental drill, a piece of machinery that once you’ve had an implant seems quite delicate, dainty even with its fine calibration. Him on his side in his blue mask, her in her pink mask on her side, her ash blonde eyebrows expressive. She sweeps her suction wand back and forth while he works, and I can feel the hard plastic tip against the surface of the bone.
He gets his pilot hole drilled and goes back to the drawing board like any good architect. Double checks his point with the mold, scans the x-ray again, and then starts with the program. The implant drill is directly behind my head and connected to electricity and water with two lines, one heavy and black and the other a slender length of aqua tubing. The router as I call it. The real deal.
I’m not sure when he shifted exactly, but I do remember that as things progressed he sort of took over. Moved around behind me and worked from there. That’s when the football hold on the head got going and also when his assistant had do her best to keep the suction going from the bit of space left to her.
The implant drill may be larger than a regular dental drill, but the sound it makes has a rather endearing quality. A soft chugging that contrasts with the high whine of the usual dental drill. It sounded like a miniature train engine that burns water instead of coal making its way up a long, steep hill.
My guy – which by this time I don’t mind being entirely possessive about the arrangement – drills very slowly. And every few seconds he stops and cranes his head around to one side and the other. He even stands up occasionally and looms in over my head and checks the site. The cuffs on his surgical gown are white cotton knit and look comfortable. That’s good. Any detail to put him at ease while he’s working his magic.
Continued in Part Four