Dental Implant Update

I’m afraid my experience is going to turn others off to getting a dental implant. But if you do the research, an implant is the best long term solution. I also realize this post is boring if you’re not considering getting an implant, so I’m writing for those people only.

Quick recap: I broke one of my two large front teeth when I was nine, and I’ve been wearing a cap ever since. There’s also been steady bone loss ever since, which included the small tooth next to it. Those two teeth were pulled last year, I got a bone graft which didn’t take, and I just had a second graft last month. Now I have to wait six months for it to heal and to see if the second graft took, and if it did I can proceed with the implant.

Please keep in mind that my situation is more involved than most, and that’s for two reasons. One, it involves a large area, so it was a BIG bone graft. Two, it’s the very front, everything they do shows. So for aesthetic reasons they have to be very careful and precise about every step. The first bone graft failed due to the mesh covering the graft. It was made of a new material that didn’t do the job. If you’re doing this, don’t go for the experimental mesh.

My impressions of the dental implant process so far: The tooth pulling was fine, the bone grafts are more of an ordeal. There’s a lot of swelling, and it takes a long time to heal. When you compare it to genuine life trials and tribulations it’s nothing, but I thought I should be honest and not represent it as a piece of cake. Due to the swelling, (and it’s now three weeks later) my face looks a little off and my smile is just plain weird. I think it took three months last time for my face to go back to normal. Not that I look hideous, just a little off. Again: my bone grafts involved a large area. This is not going to be everyone’s experience.

Actually, if you look at my author photo up there on the right, that was taken three months after my first graft. My smile still looked weird, hence the closed mouth smile. But other than that my face was back to normal.

My true Veterans Day Parade-crushes, the men and women in fur.

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.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

2 thoughts on “Dental Implant Update

  1. Ouch ouch ouch ouch. Still, every time I have a toothache I’m grateful to not be a Neanderthal and not have to resort to self-surgery (banging a hole in my face) to relieve the pain.

  2. Yeah, me too. I also think of that HBO mini-series about John Adams, which highlighted the dental issues and problems of his day.

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