Friday, June 13, 2008

Implant Progress

Monday I had the healing post put on my implant. It was a very quick and simple appointment. He had scheduled it for 40 minutes. It took me only 45 minutes to drive to the dentist, have it done, and get back to work! And it's a good 8 - 10 minute drive each way!

I NEVER have to wait so I was seated as soon as I got there. He had a new nurse with him and his normal nurse, so it was a packed room! He put the q-tip with the local anesthetic so that he could numb me up. He told the new nurse that he always give a shot of stuff "A" first to dull the pain, then he gives the shots of stuff "B" to actually numb you (can't remember the medical terms!). He said the "B" stuff stings, so he likes to give the other stuff first. He gives me the shot of "A" and asks if it hurts at all. I told him that I was still numb over there from the jaw surgery.

Well, that made it MUCH simpler! He goes "Really?!?! Well, let me know if this hurts and I'll give you more novocain." You should have seen the new nurses face! It was priceless! He told her that I would be fine. He never needs to use a lot on me and that I was "tough"! So he exposed the post, cleaned it out, took some pictures, puts the healing cap on, took some more pictures and sends me on my way! He has been taking LOTS of pictures through the whole process. He gives lectures on how to do implants and he said I was a "unique" case to study. I should ask him to give me a deal on it since he is using my pictures!!!

I go back in two weeks for impressions, then three weeks after that I get the final implant!!! The healing post is larger then I thought it would be, but I guess it's getting me used to having a tooth there again!

Here's some pics of the newest metal in my mouth!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pictures of new appliance

You can see that the new appliance makes my lips look funny! Almost worst then with the braces.

Smiling with the new appliance.

Close up of the teeth with the "things" on. You can see that it is clear plasitc, but it's pretty thick! Also, if you look closely, you can see where the metal and springs are embedded.

Kind of looks like a Hawley retainer. I tried to point out where the springs are. When I put it on, it expands to fit my teeth now. But this is what they will look like when we are done.

New Appliance

I got my new appliance yesterday to close up those small gaps in the back. I’ll take a picture of it when I get home, because it’s kind of hard to describe. I thought that I was going to get an Invisalign tray and that would be it. But no, has anything gone the way it was planned/supposed to? Not yet, so why start now!

I get to the ortho and they give me a seat. I see my molds with this thing on it, and it is NOT like my retainers. Granted, it’s still “clear” plastic and removable, but you can still see it. The assistant goes “Hmmm, I’ve never seen one of these before!” GREAT, this is going to be fun. So she puts them in my mouth. Oh yeah, when I was there last we had decided to just fix the top and then deal with the bottom later. Well, there is both a top and a lower appliance. So the ortho comes over and I’m like “Please explain these, because this isn’t what we had discussed.” He never said that they would be Invisalign, but that is basically what he described. So he tells me that he sent my models to the lab to make the new tray. But that it would take several trays to close the gaps. So the lab and my ortho came up with this contraption. He then procedes to tell me that it’s a new appliance, they just came out with it the beginning of the year. He has never used it. Basically, I am his guinea pig! WONDERFUL! I just love being a test subject. He said that it has great reviews from other dentists, and that if it works on me, he will start using it on other patients. I go back in a month to see how it is working. If it is working, then we will keep going this route. If not, then we will try something else.

So let me try to explain this thing to you (the pictures later will REALLY help. I’m not good at describing things). It is a clear thickish plastic that run along the back of the teeth, and then the front. It doesn’t cover the whole tooth. Kind of weird. The way they make it is they take two sets of models. They leave one set alone, as your teeth are now. They then take the other set and actually cut off the teeth that they want to move, and put them where they want them. So they have a set of how your teeth are now, and how they will be when they are done. They then make the appliance to fit your new teeth. The way it differs from the Invisalign trays is that you only have this one appliance. Where they need to move the teeth, they put springs in the appliance. So basically, when I take the appliance off, it is now my teeth WILL be, but when I go to put it on, the springs stretch it to fit my teeth now. It is suppose to be a more steady movement of the teeth instead of a forced positioning with the trays.

When they were “playing” with my models, they decided that the teeth on the left side, that we were going to take care of another way, both had to be moved the same distance. So basically, they can fix both the upper and the lower without messing up my bite!!! And I got to see the models to prove it to me! That means no crowns for me!!!

That’s basically how my appointment went yesterday. The teeth weren’t sore at first, but around 6 last night they started to get sore. This morning they were pretty sore. Once I put the appliance back in, it doesn’t really hurt that bad. But when I try to eat I feel the pressure, and when you first put it on. But after all that we have been through, we should be use to the pain, so it’s no big deal.

I will take some pics tonight to better explain them!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The verdict

Going to the dentist AGAIN yesterday just left me with more decisions and things to think about. After talking to the ortho, my dentist decided to look at the lower teeth again. They decided that the size of the fillings in the lower left are large and that I will eventually need to have crowns put on them. The fillings in those teeth were just replaced less then 7 years ago (that's how long I have had this dentist, and he replaced them, just can't remember when). So they aren't that old. So my dentist said that I could either have it fixed orthodontically or with one or two crowns. I asked him what was best for my teeth in the long run... putting time, money, pain, everything like that aside. He never really did answer that. But he said that I will eventually need to crown those two teeth. He can just crown one of them and make up for the two spaces. I have NO idea if insurance will pay for these crowns since the teeth are fine right now. So they have sent in a pre-authorization. At over $800 a tooth, I want to know how much I will have to pay before I give the go-ahead.

Here are my choices as I see them:

  • Fix the lower spaces with InvisAlign and run the risk of messing up my bite (don't want to do that)
  • Put crowns on one/two teeth (depending on what insurance will pay). I REALLY hate the thought of grinding down teeth that are still healthy to put the crown on. And in 10 - 20 years from now I will need to have these crowns replaced. How much more of my tooth will be left for them to grind down then? But, this will save my teeth from possibly breaking, which would lead to me getting a crown... or worst yet cracking which would lead to having the tooth pulled and the whole stud process again (once is enough!) (But if I didn't have this space I wouldn't even be thinking about what "could" happen. I would just be going on my marry, and if something happened, dealing with it then)
  • Do nothing for now and wait until I get a cavity from the space. I could also get gum infections because of food getting wedged in there and my CONSTANTLY having to floss or something to get it out.

For right now, I have 4 - 6 weeks to wait for the pre-auth to come back. In that time we will move the top teeth and I will be back to my dentist to get more done with the implant. It really just is too much to think about sometimes. Here I thought that once the braces came off and I got the implant I would be done. But I really think that until I put my foot down and say "NO MORE" they will come up with something else that needs to be done. I have to decide how much time, pain, and money I am willing to spend and after that just say "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!".

That's the new news for now. I go on Tuesday to get my top InvisAlign. Yeah, "braces" for a THIRD time. My sister is going to be SOOO jealous. (she has ONE crooked tooth and wanted braces as a kid. The ortho said it was just cosmetic so my parent's did get them for her. She was jealous when I got mine as a kid, even more jealous when I got them as an adult... and now for a third time. She is going to FLIP. Hey, she's an adult now, she could pay for them herself. But after paying for her son's braces, I think she has changed her mind). I'll let you know how Tuesday goes.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dentist appoinment today

I have yet ANOTHER dentist appointment today. I got a call on Thursday from my regular dentist saying that he wanted to see me on Monday. So I have to go there today at 3. The scheduler that called me said "Do you want to know why he wants to see you?". And my answer was "Honestly... no." I'll find out today at three. I'm going to assume it has to do with these spaces and with him talking to the ortho. So I'll keep you updated on what the new plan is going to be. It's just too much to keep straight anymore (no pun intended!!!).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Decision... for now

So I have done a LOT of thinking about what to do with these spaces that the braces left. I have talked to my regular dentist and my ortho to try to come up with the best plans to maintain my current bite as well as maintain the health of my teeth for the future. And right now, we are going to go with moving the top teeth and see how that works out. From talking with both of them, the chances of messing up my current bite is VERY minimal. The risk with doing caps on my teeth is greater then the risk of possibly messing up my bite. And the main reason for this is that the gap on the top that needs to be fixed lines up with where the implant still has to be finished. So basically, they will make the implant to mesh with my “new” bite, and not my bite now. (who would have thought it would be a GOOD thing to have a missing tooth?!?!) As far as fixing the spaces on the top, it won’t mess up my bite at all.

So for now we are going to go with fixing the upper spaces, and see how that works out. Then we will deal with the lower spaces. My ortho and regular dentist were going to talk some more and discuss the pros and cons of each way. Because when I talk to the ortho he leans towards caps, and when I talk to my regular dentist, he leans towards ortho. So I asked them to talk to each other and see what they can come up with. I can see the points in both of their cases, which makes it SOOO hard to make a decision on the lower teeth.

I don’t go back to the ortho for two more weeks, so we’ll see if I change my mind again before then (knowing me, I’ll change my mind again before I even hit “Post”!) Thank you all for your concerns, and please keep sending the advice!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Will it ever end? Please help!

When I was at my regular dentist two weeks ago to get my teeth cleaned, he mentioned the large “contacts” between my back teeth. He had noticed these spaces when I was there getting my implant put in. They concerned him because food gets stuck in there, and he doesn’t want to see me get cavities in there or the gums get irritated because I have to constantly pick food out. He said that the only way that he could fix them would be to have crowns, or veneers put on. And of course that would cost me several thousand dollars. He was so pleased with my results from my orthodontia that he wanted me to go talk to the ortho.

So today I went to the ortho to talk to him about these spaces. Sorry if these seems jumbled, but I’m a little frazzled right now. He first mentioned possibly making the fillings in those teeth cover the gaps. I told him that my regular dentist at first thought that would be an option, but once he looked at them more, he didn’t think that option would work because of the size. So basically, what he came up with was to give me new retainers, like InvisAlign to move those back teeth. Sounds all good and like an easy choice. But of course NOTHING is when it comes to our teeth. My teeth all mesh so nicely now and by moving them, even just a little bit, we run the risk of losing that meshing. I expressed my concern about not wanting to lose all that we have worked for already. He said that if they start to feel “off”, I can stop wearing those retainers and they should move back to where they are now. The operative word being SHOULD. What if they don’t? He suggested that we start with the top and see how that goes, and if it works out well, then move on to the bottom. But he still thinks that getting crowns on the bottom would be the way to go.

I just don’t know what to do. If I do decide to go with the retainers to close the gaps, I run the risk of my teeth not meshing well anymore. The ortho said that if I stopped wearing the retainers they would go back, but is he sure? Then there is a small gap between my number 1 and 2 (between the front tooth and the first one to the left on my uppers) from where the button was. So he said that we could fix that with the retainers as well. But if we do, doesn’t that mean that ALL of my teeth to that side will move? Will this screw up my bite? I have just spent so much money, time, and pain on these teeth that I want them to be perfect. They are so close right now and I am SO afraid that if I do this last step that I will screw it all up. I just don’t know what to do. I am going to call my regular dentist and see what he thinks. I may also call my surgeon and see what he thinks too. This is a new ortho to me because my original one retired and sold his practice. It’s not that I don’t think this ortho is capable, but I just haven’t had enough experience with him to completely trust him. Does that make sense? I am just SO confused and don’t know what to do.