Over three months have passed since I had my dental implant procedure and, for once, nothing bad has happened. No infection. No puss. I didn’t knock it or cut it open.
Nope, it seems to have healed up well, according to my long-suffering dentist.
Dental Implant Phase 2
So, finally, we are entering the dental home straight. As I’ve healed as well as can be expected, I can move onto the next stage of my dental implant: adding a small metal post known as an implant abutment.
Hot on hygiene as ever, my dentist and his assistant clean my mouth thoroughly using Corsodyl, paying particular attention to my upper row of teeth. It’s crucial that my gums, lips and teeth should be kept spotlessly clean as any infection now will cause all manner of problems. And I’ve had more than my fair share of them this year.
After a quick injection of local anaesthetic that makes me almost retch as some of it slowly trickles down to the back of my throat, he makes a small ‘H’-shaped incision in to my gum, around my protruding implant. Then he removes the thin, plastic implant cover to reveal the all-important screw.
Fitting My Implant Abutment
And the final leg of this visit to the dentist? He takes a couple of photos of my mouth and then he gently but firmly screws in the implant abutment straight on to the implant itself.
Another couple of photos with my abutment in place and I’m all done. I have to rinse twice a day for the next week with Corsodyl to keep my mouth meticulously clean, but NOT at the same time as I clean my teeth. Apparently, mouthwash and toothpaste don’t mix – it’s that damned fluoride. There should be at least a 40 minute gap between brushing my teeth and rinsing with Corsodyl. In the meantime, I am to keep wearing my adjusted temporary denture.
Other than that, I have to wait another five weeks or so before I am booked back in to see my dentist, who must be sick of the sight of mashed-up excuse for a mouth (but not my credit card I bet). Next time we should be taking moulds of my upper teeth…
Primed for yet another lengthy wait, I head home a little sore and swollen but, once again, nowhere near as bad as I had feared. As I run my tongue gingerly over the gap where my front tooth once lived, I can feel the abutment jutting out from my gum. It is a bizarre sensation – borderline unnatural. I can feel the smooth, hard metal and the way it seems to seamlessly protrude from my gumline.
I have to admit, it’s great that there’s is some real progress with my health, however ponderous it might be. I have started to wonder if I’ll ever feel comfortable smiling again. And, as always, the doubts, the questions, swarm inside my mind like locusts on the rampage. Will I be forever plagued with an overpowering compulsion to hide my teeth, my smile? Will laughing remain a double-edged sword? Will the implant look just as odd and as magnetic for people to gawk at as my gappy teeth do now? Or will it prove to my liberator, where I can smile with confidence like I used to all those pre-cancer months ago?
Well, I will know in a few weeks time for sure…