As this post goes live, I’m under IV sedation. I’m having oral surgery (again) to implant a #6 (again).
Warning: PG-13 talk of oral surgery ahead.
About 6 or 7 years ago, my baby canine, which had never fallen out, started to deteriorate. After it was extracted, I had oral surgery in 2006 to try to orthodontically move the living adult tooth to its proper place. That was judged a failure in 2007, so I had oral surgery to remove the tooth from my palate. Then I had implant surgery in 2009, but my jawbone deteriorated around the implant and it became loose by 2012. This spring I had oral surgery to remove the implant and perform a bone graft to rebuild my jawbone. Now I’m having oral surgery again to do the implant a second time. It will take several months before that process is complete.
It’s unusual for a dental implant to fail, but I apparently exert high lateral pressure on my canines, according to the doc, and that contributed to bone resorption. The doc is installing an even longer implant screw than last time (I’ll have to ask how long it is, but it doesn’t set off metal detectors) with a different overall configuration and hardware. I think he’s sick of my panic attacks because he’s putting me under IV sedation this time – a $300 extra at no cost, like the rest of the work.
It was really weird to feel the hardware screwed into my skull the last time, but I don’t really need a repeat of the sensation. Most of these oral surgeries are fast and simple, but the implant is the worst one in terms of recovery. Extractions of any kind are easy – freaky, but easy and not that painful. The implant will require opiate painkillers for about a week, since they’re drilling a couple inches into my jawbone, screwing in a socket, and reshaping my much-abused gums around steel.
Although the mouth is the fastest part of the human body to heal, it takes several days before the incisions in the gums stop being the oral equivalent of scabby – raw, seeping, and tender. The incisions are still not fully healed on the inside when the sutures start withering away after about 5 days, each piece of catgut released to a sigh of sweet relief from the irritation of knots. The bone will ache, noticeably, for 2 or 3 weeks, and for several months when the barometric pressure changes suddenly. I won’t eat normally on that side of my mouth for at least a month. It will be several months before the hardware is fully installed and I have a crown.
The panic attacks are no surprise: every single procedure makes my mouth hurt. It is what it is.
Of course, this means I’m checked out for the day. I can have a Lord of the Rings marathon if I want to, and I pretty much have to completely ignore work, the very thought of which makes my heart rate increase with anxiety (a week beforehand.) The work I can’t belabor! The email that will pile up! However, I won’t much care about any of that after they get done messing with my mouth and give me some painkillers. And my mouth will hurt too much to eat normal food, so maybe I’ll be able to talk Mr. Chickadee into taking me out for bubble tea. Even oral surgery has its silver linings.
Update: Surgery went just fine and now I have an achy mouth and some hydrocodone to make it less achy, though the worst is yet to come. But the best part of all – no sutures! They managed to do the implant without overly disturbing my gums. That alone will make healing go a ton better.
Also, the implant is 13mm long, the longest they get, about half an inch.