Sunday, March 2, 2008

Implant Surgery is Done!

The implant surgery is over!!! It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. For some reason I was REALLY dreading having this implant put in. I don't know why, I mean after all that has happened in my mouth, this was easy!
So for those of you that have an implant in your future, or are just curious, here's how it went for me. I have a great dentist who actually called me to let me know that they were running about 20 minutes behind. I wish all doctors did that! Much better then sitting in the waiting room for an extra 20 minutes. So I get there and they take me into the room. While he is numbing me up, he explains that when he gets in there, he may need to do a little more work then we had discussed previously. When he pulled this tooth, he did a bone graft so that I would have enough bone to place the implant. Well, my body did not like that idea, so it slowly got rid of all of the graft that he did originally (yeah, that was nice. Paid like a grand for that graft and it didn't even work).

While he is waiting for the novocain to set in, he takes off the wire that the ortho placed in that area to keep the teeth from shifting. If I need it back in, the dentist will replace it on Thursday when I have my follow up appointment. So, now that the wire is off and I'm all numb, he starts cutting. It was weird to hear the sound of your gums getting cut and pulled away from the bone. After a few minutes of cutting he tells me that I will need to have another bone graft placed in there and a membrane so that my body won't reject it again. This is to build up the outside part of the bone. If he didn't do this, then the implant won't fit nicely and food will get caught under it and could cause an infection. So this means more cutting, more stitches and having to keep my jaw opened longer (which was NOT fun when you still don't have full range back). Throughout the whole procedure he kept taking pictures so that he can show other patients that may need the same thing done what will happen.

Now comes time for the drilling of the hole to place the implant. He get the drill with the small drill bit on it. Since I still can't open too wide, he couldn't fit it in there, so he had to go to a smaller bit... still wouldn't fit. He had to use one of the smallest bits that he had because I just couldn't open any further. So he makes his first drill into the bone. Then he places a small stud in the hole. And off it is to get an x-ray with that in to make sure he has it in the right spot.

So I get the x-ray and he places it where he can see while he drills the hole larger. A few more larger bits and he is done drilling. It really didn't take long at all. Then he places the implant in and starts to ratchet it in place. It felt weird to have someone ratcheting something in to your bone. It didn't hurt, but just felt weird.
So the implant part of the whole procedure was VERY easy. It was the next part that took forever. Along with the incision that had to be made for the implant, he had to make two additional incisions. These went from where the implant incision was down the front of the jaw to the cheek. He then had to pull the gum away from the bone. Once again, it made a weird "ripping" sound. Kind of weird. Next he took the drill and "roughed" up the bone so that the implant would take better. He mixed some of my bone and blood with the bovine bone and placed that where he roughed up my bone. Next he had to measure and cut a membrane to build up the bone a little more. Then it was time to sew it all up. Originally, there was only supposed to be like 2 or 3 stitches. Yeah, that ended up not being the case. I think I have somewhere around 10 - 14. I lost count as he was putting them in. That was the part that took the longest.

After he had me all stitched up, it was off for another x-ray, just to make sure it was all in the correct place. The whole procedure took about 1.5 hours. He said if it was just the implant, it would have been only 1 hour, but the graft make it longer. I was told to take it easy for the rest of the day, ice it some, and avoid rinsing until Sunday or Monday because of the graft. I sort of listened to his instructions! I did go home after it and rest for a little while. Then it was out to party for the night!!! Luckily I didn't need any of the vicodin that he gave me, so I was still able to have a few drinks! We were out until about 2:30 in the morning. Yeah, that's me taking it easy! The original plan was to go to this country bar and ride the mechanical bull. Because of the weather, there weren't enough people out, so they didn't have the bull running :( I guess that's probably a good thing because that would NOT have been taking it easy!

Here are some pictures. I am actually a little swollen in that area. So I've been trying to take it easy the rest of the weekend and keep some ice on it. It really doesn't hurt except for where my lip rubs up against the incisions for the graft. And my jaw is pretty sore from forcing it open as wide as I could.

If you look at the chin and jaw line area, you can see the left side of the picture is a little swollen.

The stitches that come all the way down to the cheek

The other side of the stitches that come all the way down to the cheek.

Because I had to have the bone graft done, I wasn't able to have the "healing cap" placed on the implant (if you look at Brandy's that the "healing cap"). So the implant got all sewed up in there. This means that I will have to go back in a few months and he will have to cut the gum back open and place the healing cap on it then. It may take a few months longer before I can get the fake tooth put on, but this will make it last longer now that the bone is built back up.