Dental Implant Surgery – Inserting the Post

Ice, Ice, Baby!

Ice, Ice, Baby!

Yesterday I had the second surgery for my dental implant.  This was the surgery to put the implant post into my jaw.  The post, of course, is what the fake tooth will be screwed onto when I am finally healed enough for that to happen.   First I have to wait another three months for the healing to be complete.

This isn’t my first rodeo, er, implant.  This is my second dental implant in two years.  The whole implant procedure takes six months.  You have the first surgery to remove the offending tooth.  Then you wait three months to heal.  Now it’s time to go in for the second surgery where they insert the post. Then you wait ANOTHER three months to heal and finally you are ready to have the new tooth screwed onto the post and before you can say, “Bob’s your uncle” (and try that with a mouthful of dental implements), you are once again looking normal (one can only hope).

So off I trudged with my designated driver (my long-suffering hubby) yesterday to the dental surgeon’s office.  I clocked in with the receptionist and was sent downstairs to the surgical waiting room (a tiny room with windows that don’t open and yes, I checked).  All too soon, a nurse called me into the inner sanctum.

I was ushered into the surgical room, climbed into the chair and proceeded to sign my life away.  At least, it seemed like that when I had to initial all of those disclaimers.  I no longer actually read about all of the things that could go wrong since I discovered that it’s a surefire way to hyperventilate.  I was already nervous enough.

The nurse covered me in a blanket, slapped a bright sticker on my left arm to remind the surgical team not to stick me there or take my blood pressure on that arm.  I’m minus 20+ lymph nodes in that arm, courtesy of breast cancer years ago so we never mess with that arm.  It’s like the state of Texas.  She stuck some things on my chest and hooked me up to a monitor that showed my pulse, heartbeat, and blood pressure and then she left to tell the doctor that I was ready.

I glanced at the monitor and thought about how someone was going to soon be jamming a metal rod into my jaw.  It was fascinating how quickly my pulse rate rocketed skyward.  Well, THAT was fun.  I tried a few cleansing breaths and found my Zen place and watched my pulse drop.  For the next five minutes, I amused myself with pushing it up and down with just my thoughts until the door opened and my surgeon walked in.

“How are you feeling today,” he asked me.

“Terrified, as usual,” I squeaked.

“Naw, there’s nothing to be afraid of.  You’ve been through this before and you survived,” he remarked.  “Have there been any changes since your last visit?”

Soft foods at the ready!

Soft foods at the ready!

I decided I’d better tell him about the bone splinter that was trying to pop its way out of my gum next to the extraction site.  They’d done a bone graft at my first surgery, after taking out the tooth and apparently, part of the new bone decided to go “visiting.”  I’d called their office when I’d first noticed it but had been assured that this was fairly common and nothing to worry about.

“Hmmm, let me take a look,” he said.  “Oh, yes, I see it.  Well, I can easily take care of that during the surgery.”

“Noooo, I’m good,” I rushed to assure him.  “It doesn’t hurt at all.  Really!”

“I think it would be better if I just made a simple slit in the gum and filed that off for you while I’m in there,” he insisted.  “If I don’t, it could cause problems later on if food you were eating got caught on it.”

“OK,” I gulped.

“Alright then, you know the drill,” he laughed.  “I’ll be back in after the anesthesiologist comes in.”

He left and then the door opened and a lady walked in whom I’d never seen before.

“Hi, I’m going to be your anesthesiologist today,” she said.

“Oh, no…no offense but you’re not my little guy that I always have.  I REALLY like him, not that there’s anything wrong with you, but I find him very calming and I’m so nervous right now that I’d really feel better with him,” I stammered.

Luckily she didn’t take offense.  It turned out that he was just finishing up with a patient next door so he’d soon be available.

Painkiller and Antibiotic on hand.

Painkiller and Antibiotic on hand.

Why I called him a “little guy”, I don’t know.  He’s a tall, lanky kid who looks like he came here straight from an Iowa farm.  He’s also goofy and funny and I really get along well with him, maybe partially because he seems to “get” why I always have him knock me out with general anesthesia before he puts my IV in.

He soon popped in.  “You waited for me.  That’s so sweet,” he said, with a big grin.

“I sure did,” I laughed.  “And look, I’m wearing sneakers so I can transfer over to the wheeled chair when they take me to recovery so you won’t have to carry me.”

He laughed.  “Good, because I’m not sure I could make like Kevin Costner in ‘The Bodyguard’ and carry you.  I don’t know any Whitney Houston songs.”

I snorted.  “Well, I could manage some Whitney songs but I can’t guarantee they’d sound like her.  After all, I was a drama major in college and had roles in musical comedies.  That’s exactly what this would be, too, if you tried to carry me.  A REAL comedy! But hey, thanks for giving me something fun to dream about when you put me under.”

“You’ll need to take some nice even breaths when I put this mask over your face,” he said.  “You remember the drill (what WAS it with these folks…was I going to get my own parking space if, God forbid, I had to ever have a third implant?).   Unfortunately it isn’t going to smell the greatest…sort of like a skunk, which isn’t exactly unpleasant at first, although I was trying to think the other day what exactly they DO smell like.”

“Chives,” I said.  “They smell like chives until you’ve been exposed to the smell for awhile.  No need to apologize for the smell, though.  I just got back from helping my daughter with my new grandson so I’ve recently been around plenty of dirty diapers.”

He chuckled and said, “So just breath nice and easy.  You’ll begin to feel a little light-headed.”

I breathed and my head started to spin and I remembered that this was my favorite part of the whole thing.  It was just like that delicious feeling that you get as you are drifting off to sleep and you are halfway between awake and Dreamland.

Unlike a good snooze, the next thing I knew, I was being gently helped onto a recovery bed and I had a mouthful of gauze wadded in my mouth.

The BAD mouthwash

The BAD mouthwash

I spent the rest of the day swaddled in blankets in our recliner, watching strange TV shows like “Alaska State Trooper” and “Hillbilly Handfishing” while I did the thirty minutes on, thirty minutes off routine with an ice pack and played Candy Crush while half asleep from the pain pills.

Hi, Grandma!

Hi, Grandma!

The best pain medicine, though, was the picture that my daughter texted of little Bucky saying, “Grandma, I miss you.  Hope you feel better soon.”

I made it through the night, I’m feeling no pain, and it’s a mashed potato day today.  Things are looking up.  Let the healing begin!




  • Carolyn Cline

    Crikey! I’m jealous! They fileted my gums to deal with a root canal gone bad bad to the bone and I didn’t even get to go to sleep! I got to watch the whole thing on a computer monitor, though, so I guess that’s some compensation.
    I was terribly disappointed that the surgeon wouldn’t give me “still shots” from the procedure to pass out to the kiddies at Halloween. There is no justice.
    Carolyn AKA Siriradha23 (Ravelry)

    • booklassie

      Oh, my gosh, Carolyn. They would have had to peel me from the ceiling if I’d had to stay awake during those procedures. That’s been the only good thing about these dumb implants is that I get to be knocked out.


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