On the Final Leg of the Implant Train

Way back in February of this year I began the procedure to have a dental implant.  If you haven’t been following this saga on my blog, I’ll recap for you.  I had a tooth that had become infected up in the roots and it had reached the point where my jaw was swelling from the abscess and my dentist decided there was no other recourse but to pull the tooth.  That left us with the decision of how to replace it.  Because my mouth is so tiny and because I already have had eight teeth pulled over the years (wisdom teeth & those pulled to make room for straightening during braces), we decided getting a dental implant would be the best way to go.

I had no idea that the whole thing would be stretched out over so many months.  The first surgery was to remove the tooth.  Then my jaw had to heal for 3 months.  Then I went in for Surgery #2 which was when they implanted a post into my jaw.  That required another 3 months of healing.

We are FINALLY at the point where my regular dentist is ready to step in and prepare the replacement abutment and crown to go over the post.  Today was my appointment to have him take impressions of my mouth and then he’ll go to work making the custom abutment and the crown which will look like my natural tooth.  The whole contraption will just screw onto the post.  Pretty nifty, eh?

I must say that taking impressions has improved a whole lot since the last time I had it done (when I was getting braces in high school).  Back then, they used a cement-like material in a metal container that you had to bite down into and then eventually you had it pried off of your teeth.  This time around, they were still using metal containers but the material that they put into the container that you bit into was more of a rubbery substance.  It reminded me of those rubber-like masks that the villain peels off his or her face to reveal that he is someone else entirely, not that I’ve ever done that, mind you.

The BEST thing about my appointment today was that the mystery of my dirty brown stains on my teeth was solved.  I was apologizing to my dentist for how dirty my teeth looked.  You can’t see the stains much in this picture but on the tops of my molars and on the backs of my teeth, it looks fairly brown.  I’ve NEVER had stained teeth.  My hygienists over the years have always complemented me on how clean my teeth are.  That’s why I was absolutely mortified several months ago when I happened to peer into the mirror and notice that my teeth looked all stained with a dirty brown stain.

I told my dentist that I had gone up on the Web and looked at pictures of stained teeth and the closest to my own teeth seemed to be those of people who had been chewing tobacco for years.  Yikes!  What in the heck had caused that?

My dentist laughed.  “It wasn’t anything you did,” he assured me.  “Those stains are a side effect of the mouth rinse that the dental surgeon had you use after your surgeries.  It does a very good job of preventing infections but it also kills all of the bacteria in your mouth and causes that type of staining.  Don’t worry.  It will come right off with a good cleaning.”

“Oh, my goodness,!”  I told the dentist, “I’ve been mortified.  I’ve been using whitening toothpaste and special whitening mouthwash ever since I noticed the stains.  They’ve improved somewhat but they’re still there.  I even cut way back on drinking colas and coffee, thinking maybe that was doing it.”

“No, no,” he chuckled.  “It was nothing you were doing.  It was just a side effect of that rinse.”

“Gosh,” I sighed.  “I was dreading coming in here and having you see my teeth in this state because I was afraid you’d think I wasn’t brushing.  And I hated the thought of what my hygienist would say.  I figured she’d demote me from an ‘A’-patient to a ‘F’-flunkee.”

“Don’t you worry about that,” he said.  “Your teeth will be back to their normal sparkling condition at your next cleaning session.  And just so you don’t get all worked up about your next appointment, it isn’t going to involve any shots.  We’ll just be screwing on the new tooth.”

You’ve got to love a dentist that knows you so well that he can head off your fears before they even have a chance to manifest themselves.

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Hot Flashed Funk

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