Finally I have arrived at dental implant time at last.
My gum infection has cleared up completely and my mouth is in a good enough state to begin the implant process.
But I can’t stand dentists. So it was an uncomfortable wait dripping with anxiety until I was called into the consulting room.
Clean is King
Even though my dentist did talk to me at length about the whole procedure, I never really took it all in. I just wanted to get to the other side where I had my teeth restored to something like they were pre-op. So I wasn’t quite prepared for what was to come.
The preliminaries were focused purely on hygiene and infection control. It’s vital that my mouth is kept as clean as possible during and after the dental implant as this is likely to deliver the best results in the longer term. For the first half hour I:
- Took a course of antibiotics
- Took some painkillers
- Thoroughly cleaned my teeth including flossing
- Had my mouth rinsed with Corsodyl
- Put on sterile clinical gowns
- Laid down in the dentists chair in a scrubbed and sterilised operating theatre
As my bone and gum are in decent nick, I didn’t need a scan. The final piece of the prep were several local anaesthetic injections so that I wouldn’t feel a thing.
And then we began.
I had two dentists working in tandem on my implant – a father and son team. Like some darkly comedic double-act, they were hilarious as they discussed, disagreed, bickered and debated my implant.
Firstly, they made several incisions into my gum and peeled back my gums to fully expose the bone. This was swiftly followed by heavy doses of Corsodyl to maintain the high hygiene standard. And then the drilling commenced…
That sound. That demonic, high-pitched whirring scream of noise that made me cringe. But I kept still and resisted the urge to get up and leave. Indeed, I found myself drifting, disconnected from what was happening – almost trance-like, other-worldly – as my dentists worked away. At times, it was like I was someone else, watching detachedly.
They drilled a neat hole into the bone and used some material to act as scaffolding to help build up the bone around the implant screw as it heals. Then they carefully fitted the small titanium screw. Although I’m clearly agitated about the whole thing, my dentist team constantly reassured me that all was well and checked if I was feeling any pain.
Dental Implant Completed
And before I knew it they were finishing up, stitching up my gums and X-raying the implant in place. Apparently, the operation had gone as well as expected and they showed me the X-ray of my implant. It was weird to look at this screw stuck in my bone. But it was perfectly placed in my gum.
Once they were satisfied that I was OK, I could leave with instructions to take painkillers if I needed them and to rest for a few days at home. My upper lip and gums were swollen after 2 hours in the chair under the knife but I have to admit that the whole procedure was nowhere near as harrowing or as painful as I feared.
Now I have to wait until mid-September at the earliest to allow my gum and bone to heal around the implant screw, hopefully without any infection or further problems. Then the next stage should begin: fitting the post to the screw so that we can fix a customised crown.
I did feel more upbeat as I walked home. My mouth wasn’t that painful and I was reasonably positive about my teeth as things had moved on significantly. I felt as though I was on the home straight, dentally-speaking.
Just have to endure a summer of dentures and hiding my smile…