Dental Implant Diary – The Bone Graft

Backstory: I’m getting a dental implant on one of my front teeth, and yesterday I had a bone graft. I don’t want to scare anyone who is considering getting an implant, or is about to begin the process. Plenty of people did not experience what I’m currently going through. I also had a bone graft done on a large area.

My first mistake: I walked home after my bone graft. But I needed to unwind, to shake the whole morning off. By the time I got home I was in agony and blood started pouring out of my mouth. (Not exaggerating, pouring.) The dentist told me to wet tea bags and hold them against that area which meant I had a mouth full of tea bags for ten minutes. But it worked.

By this time my face had swollen to inhuman proportions. I wasn’t supposed to take the pain killers on an empty stomach (three Advil plus one Vicodin) but my mouth was a wreck. How was I supposed to eat? I managed to work in some yogurt in by gently placing it in the side.

THEN, THEN, THEN, Con Ed turned off the gas in my building because apparently the landlord never fixed all the leaks the last time the building filled with gas. Christ. Can you believe this timing?? So I had to go out and grocery shop all swollen, in pain, because the food I bought in preparation for the next few days requires an oven. I held a dish cloth in front of my face and everyone stared at me.

I woke up more swollen than ever, even though I’d iced my face until I fell asleep. Oh. The pain killers have just started kicking in. I’m feeling dizzy. Back to the couch for now.

I took this minutes before I got home. If you can see my reflection, that white thing in my hand is a bag of painkillers.

Pretty Shoes at Bleecker and 10th Street

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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8 thoughts on “Dental Implant Diary – The Bone Graft

  1. My suggestion (I had jaw surgery which required my mouth being wired shut for a month) would be Boost and milkshakes. You can wait on the other stuff after you’re finished with all the dental work. Oh, and a multivitamin.

  2. Thank you. There’s still pain, but I’m much better.

    Karen, I can’t imagine. Were you depressed? I would have been depressed. You had to endure worse than what I am enduring.

  3. Stacy, it took two full years to get my jaw back in place. That meant braces for a second time, plus the jaw surgery. It was the pits, but I wasn’t depressed during the whole business because it meant that I could finally eat without extreme pain. When you have your jaw dislocated on both sides, it is a long, slow process to get it back in place.

    At least you don’t have to endure two whole years with the dentist, orthodontist and oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

  4. CHRIST. What I am going through is a thousand pieces of cake compared to that. You poor thing. I’m glad it’s over. When did you go through that?

  5. Stacy, the car wreck was in 1992. I was stopped at a red light when an older man hit me from behind. He was going 50 mph and couldn’t stop in time. Actually he had a stroke three months earlier and was told by his doctor not to drive (so much for that . . .).

    So, this all took place from ’92 to ’94. I now have six lovely screws in my jaw (three on each side)and plastic implants on the lower jaw to lengthen it. I’ll never suffer from TMJ since the lower mandible is now permanently attached to the upper. The only drawback to this is that I have no feeling in the lower left side of my face as that nerve was permanently destroyed. You get used to it after all that time.

    I wasn’t able to sue the guy as he died about 15 months into my treatment. My insurance had to cover everything.

  6. Oh christ. I mean, I’m glad it wasn’t worse but still. What a horrible ordeal. I want to be mad at the guy, but maybe his decision making was impaired by the strokes?

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